The problem with these printers is Epson ink is so thick if you use OEM ink. However, this problem is more prevalent on pigment ink printers (Ex: DuraBrite) then it is on dye ink printers (Ex: Claria series). To make matters worse, the head is VERY DIFFICULT to remove without damaging the actual printer on a lot of them. However, the problem can be solved by injecting cleaner into the head. Cleaning these printers is a messy procedure, so wear gloves if you don't like getting ink stains on your skin.
Since most Epson printheads are nearly impossible to remove, it's better to unlock the printhead and inject solution to fix the problem. However, if you can remove it without damage you can do a much better job cleaning the printhead. While liquid injection isn't as good, it isn't as deadly to the printhead. When it comes to cleaner you have two choices:
- Premade cleaner (check sites like eBay for Epson printhead cleaner)
- Homemade cleaner
If you buy cleaner on eBay (or a similar site), simply follow the instructions on the bottle for the portions you are supposed to put in the printhead to clear the clog. If you go the homemade cleaner route, you kind of need to figure out how many injections are needed to unclog the printer. I'd recommend no more then 2 4mL injections at one given time. You need to get enough in there to break the clog down, BUT also not use too much.
If you care about the printer, you're better off getting premade cleaner. If you don't care if you damage the printer, the homemade option is worth trying. The formula I'd recommend for this is 1 part alcohol to 2 parts water. This should dilute the alcohol to a safe level while retaining the ability to clear the clog.
Since you are diluting the alcohol 1:2, you need strong alcohol. Because of this, I would recommend using high concentration isopropyl alcohol. For a percentage, I'd recommend at least 90%. Hot water alone doesn't work very well in Epson printers.
If you decide to go the homemade cleaner route, this is the procedure I recommend:
- Put 4-5 napkins in the print track. If you do not do this, the ink will go into your waste ink pads and cause the printers to trigger the waste ink warning earlier then it should.
- Loosen the printhead. On printers with a white tab next to the service station, release the tab in the unlocked position. If your printer does not have this, put the printer in the cartridge change mode.
- Put the ink cartridges aside. You do not need to put them in a bag, but it is recommended if you can do so.
- Find some plastic tubing that fits over the Epson nozzles. You want tubing that fits snugly, but also isn't loose.
- Slowly inject solution into the printer. Do this no more then 5 times total, but no more then 1-2 injections at one given time.
- After cleaning the printhead, inject distilled water through the printhead to purge the alcohol mix. If you do not do this the printhead might get damaged and your prints will look like crap.
- Use a lint free cloth to dry the printhead nozzles. The ink cartridges should not be inserted when water is on the tips where the ink cartridges sit.
- Verify the results with a nozzle check. Do this once a week to prevent future clogging (do this more often in humid climates).
While your Epson is one of the few models where the printhead is actually designed to be removed, I would still advise against it UNLESS injections do not help. This process is difficult and easy for a beginner to get wrong and destroy the printer. The procedure typically involves removing 2-4 screws and disconnecting two flat flex cables. Once the head is removed, soak it in the solution.