Why is my Epson sublimation printer printing lines?

Epson sublimation printers are known for their high-quality printing capabilities, but sometimes, they may encounter a problem where they print lines instead of smooth, solid colors. This can be frustrating, especially when you’re trying to print high-quality images for your business or personal use. 

Reasons Why Epson sublimation printer printing lines

There are several reasons why your Epson sublimation printer may be printing lines, and we’ll discuss them below.

Clogged print head:

The most common reason why your Epson sublimation printer is printing lines is due to a clogged print head. Over time, dust, debris, and ink residues can accumulate on the print head, causing it to become clogged. This can cause inconsistent ink flow, leading to visible lines in your prints.

Solution: To fix this issue, you need to clean the print head. Most Epson sublimation printers have a cleaning function that you can access through the printer driver software. Run the cleaning function a few times to clear any clogs on the print head.

Low-quality sublimation ink:

Another reason why your Epson sublimation printer may be printing lines is due to low-quality sublimation ink. Sublimation ink is specially formulated to work with sublimation paper and requires a specific viscosity to ensure smooth ink flow. Using low-quality sublimation ink can lead to inconsistent ink flow and cause lines in your prints.

Solution: Make sure you’re using high-quality sublimation ink that is specifically designed for your printer model. Avoid using generic sublimation ink or ink from unknown sources, as they may cause more harm than good.

Inconsistent heating:

Sublimation printing requires a combination of heat and pressure to transfer the ink from the paper onto the substrate. Inconsistent heating can cause the ink to be transferred unevenly, leading to lines in your prints.

Solution: Check your heat press settings to make sure the temperature and pressure are consistent. You may also need to adjust the pressure or time settings to get the best results.

Dirty printer rollers:

Dirty printer rollers can cause inconsistent paper feeding, leading to lines in your prints. Over time, dust, debris, and ink residues can accumulate on the printer rollers, causing them to become dirty.

Tips for Epson sublimation printer printing lines

Incorrect printer settings or driver settings: Incorrect printer settings, such as print head alignment or print quality settings, may result in lines in the print. Driver software settings can also affect print quality.

Outdated printer firmware or driver software: Using outdated firmware or driver software can cause printing issues, including lines in the print.

Malfunctioning printer hardware components: Any malfunctioning hardware components, such as the print head, can cause issues with ink flow and lead to lines in the print.

Using the wrong type of sublimation paper: Not all sublimation paper is created equal. Using the wrong type of sublimation paper can cause inconsistent ink transfer and result in lines in the print.

Overlapping ink layers due to incorrect printing speed or resolution: Printing too slowly or at too high of a resolution may cause the ink to overlap, causing lines in the print.

It’s essential to diagnose the specific cause of the lines in your print before attempting to fix the issue. Consult your printer’s manual, reach out to customer support, or consider seeking help from a professional technician.

Solutions for cleaning sublimation printer printhead

Sublimation printing is one of the most popular methods of producing high-quality images on a variety of materials. However, to ensure that you consistently produce top-notch prints, you need to keep your sublimation printer in immaculate condition. One of the key maintenance activities you must carry out regularly is cleaning the printhead. Following are the tips on how to clean a sublimation printer printhead to avoid clogs, streaks, and other print quality issues.

Gather the necessary materials: 

Before you can start cleaning your printhead, you need to have the right tools. You’ll need a cleaning kit, which you can purchase from your printer manufacturer, and isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol is the recommended solvent for printhead cleaning as it dissolves ink residue, grease, and dust, and evaporates quickly without leaving any residue behind.

Turn off the printer: 

Always ensure that the printer is turned off before beginning any maintenance work. This precaution will help protect the printhead from damage and protect the user from injury.

Remove the printhead from the printer: 

If you’re unsure how to remove the printhead, consult your printer’s user manual. Typically, the printhead is located on the top of the printer. Once you’ve removed it, place it on a soft, clean surface to avoid damaging it.

Use the cleaning kit: 

Usually, the cleaning kit consists of a syringe and a bottle of cleaning solution. Follow the instructions that come with the kit to fill the syringe with the solution. Then, insert the syringe to the printhead’s nozzle plate and slowly dispense the cleaning solution. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as it could damage the printhead. Allow the solution to sit for 10-15 minutes, then flush the printhead with distilled water until the water runs clear.

Reassemble the printer:

After you’ve cleaned the printhead, reassemble the printer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Turn on the printer and perform a nozzle check to ensure that the printhead is clean and functioning correctly.


By following these simple steps, you can keep your sublimation printer running smoothly and producing high-quality prints for a long time. Remember to regularly clean your printhead to avoid any print quality issues that could negatively affect your business. If you still experience print quality problems after cleaning your printhead, it may be time to replace the printhead or contact a professional for help. 


Q. Why are My Epson Sublimation Printer Printing Lines?

Nearly every Epson sublimation printer experiences this issue. When clogged, the printer starts producing unwanted lines, and there could be several reasons for this pesky problem.

  • Usage of low-quality paper. 
  • The sublimation ink is about to end

Q. What Causes Printers to Clog?

If you let a sublimation printer collect dust and cobwebs, its ink will dry up, and the printhead will become a breeding ground for debris. This pesky buildup can cause serious blockages in the nozzle, making it nearly impossible to get the job done accurately.

Q. How Long Does It Take to Unclog Sublimation Printers?

Sublimation printer clogging takes to fix can range from 15 mins to an hour. But here’s the catch – it depends on the cause. Is the ink dried up from disuse? Or is good old dust to blame for infrequent cleaning? Knowing the root of the issue can help you get back to printing in no time.

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