Cleaning your copier is probably the last thing on your professional “to-do list” this week, but it’s something that should definitely be on your radar.
Copiers and printers are machines - machines full of little crevices, rollers, and gears that despise dust. Once that dust gets inside, it can start to cause major service problems
Dust can also cause image quality issues when you copy and scan. Dirty and smudged glass can lead to copies or scans with speckles or streaks. At the least, that can make documents difficult to read. For scanning operations, it can even lead to poor results for document recognition and indexing.
If let go too long, dirt is almost impossible to remove without taking everything apart. Here are six simple steps to put into your office sprucing routine so that you can help keep your copier up and running:
#1 - First and foremost, turn OFF the power!
This might seem unnecessary, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to anything electrical that you might be poking around in.
#2 - Wipe the machine down with a damp cloth (top to bottom)
A light dusting of the entire machine is the first place to start when cleaning your copier. Always wipe from the top down so that any dust you are wiping falls below to be cleaned as you move down.
A damp cloth is recommended as you wouldn’t want to spray any type of cleaner on your copier and risk getting it inside anything electrical. If you want to sanitize buttons, a quick swipe with an alcohol or sanitizing wipe is okay, just be sure it’s not sopping wet. (Friendly reminder: electronics don't like liquid and there's not enough rice to dry out the office copier.)
#3 - Clean the glass plate
Cleaning the glass of your copier is especially important because dirt, dust, or even ink from a page can build up and greatly affect the quality of your copies and scans. If you are experiencing lines on copies and scans, but not when you print, you know the culprit is somewhere on the glass or lid
A soft cloth with a little water or a small amount of glass cleaner sprayed directly on the cloth (not on the glass) is the best thing to use. Using a soft cloth will prevent even minor scratches which can also affect the quality of your scans.
More than just the glass, it’s also advised to inspect, and gently wipe the upper lid of your copier, or the belt of the automatic document feeder, to remove any additional marks or dust that may have built up on it.
#4 - Vacuum out the toner receptacle
Despite their design, some toner bottles do leak small amounts of toner when being inserted and removed in the toner receptacle. It’s important to clean these spills before they start working their way through your machine.
Before you replace you toner, be sure to always inspect the toner receptacle and do a quick pass with a vacuum. There are lots of small, consumer grade toner vacuums on the market, or a mini shop vac will also do the trick. These vacuums also come with some handy attachments for getting into tough to reach places.
#5 - Vacuum out the paper drawers and bypass tray
Like your toner receptacle needs vacuuming, so do your paper trays. Dust and foreign objects can easily fall into the trays when you are loading paper. The bypass tray is also another place that is very easy for dust to build up in as it is often left open and exposed. After the majority of the dust has been cleared with a vacuum, compressed air can also be used to clean any hard to reach places.
Always give your paper trays a regular inspection. They might be drawers, but they are NOT for storing anything other than paper. If you see a paper clip in a paper tray, take it out!
Some trays even come completely out. Just be super careful when removing, as most trays are made of a combination of plastic, metal, and even gears and can easy be damaged if not handled with care.
A good rule of thumb when removing a tray is to handle it gently. If it won’t slide back in easily, chances are something is not aligned properly and it could break if forced. Last, when a paper tray is not in use, such as your copier’s bypass tray, keep it closed.
#6 - Clean the area where your paper is stored too!
Last but not least, wipe off your paper storage shelves too and stay on top of keeping it clean. If you have reams of paper collecting dust, consider moving your paper to a different (maybe even enclosed) area.
Dust on the outside of your paper is likely to fall right into your paper tray when you load it. Also, don’t forget to store paper in a cool, dry place and stack it flat to prevent wrinkling. If you can’t use an entire ream that you open, store opened packages in a dedicated container so they are protected. Imperfect paper in a copier tray is the perfect recipe for a paper jam.
While you may not think it’s that important, cleaning your copier on a regular basis is a simple way to help keep your copier running at its best. Do your part and your copier will thank you with fewer service issues.