How to unclog sublimation printer | Explained

Sublimation printing has taken the market by storm, spanning a range of products from shirts to tumblers, mugs, and Aluminum. It has emerged as a lucrative business with growing demand. However, prolonged periods of printer inactivity can result in clogging issues. If you encounter this problem, don’t fret, as it has a simple and fast resolution.

This article will guide you how to unclog sublimation printer. To begin, let’s understand the cause of printer blockages.

How to Know If Your Printer Is Clogged?

Sublimation printers can encounter problems that may hinder their proper functioning. To confirm that the sublimation ink is flowing correctly through the print head and pipelines, print a test on regular paper using the given instructions.

However, if the sublimation ink doesn’t appear accurately on the paper’s surface, it implies that there’s an issue with the printhead. Moreover, the printout is likely to fade, with the color gradually disappearing.

If the issue is with the printhead, follow the steps below to resolve it.

Ways of Sublimation Printer Unclogging 

Experts have devised a range of methods to unclog sublimation printers. Read on to explore three of the most effective ones.

  1. Hot water running
  2. Prime ink method
  3. Printing purge sheet

It’s important to keep in mind that some sublimation printers, like those from Epson and the latest Sawgrass models, such as the SG 500 and SG 1000, come packed with automatic cleaning systems for their nozzle and printhead.

You can easily install a cleaning system or set up a cleaning schedule to prevent any clogging issues and ensure your sublimation prints‘ top-notch quality.

Method 1: Hot Water Running

Let’s get your printer in tip-top shape! Firstly, head to the maintenance menu and select the ‘cartridge replacement’ option. Since the printer is a bit of an electrical playground, carefully pop open the front. Before continuing, do unplug the machine we don’t want any nasty surprises!

Next, slide out the printhead until you see the wastage pad. This is where the buildup of ink can cause unwanted clogs and patchy printing.

Now, take a syringe filled with hot water and gently pour droplets on the wastage pad. You’ll soon see the stubborn ink dissolve away and flush out with the water.

Use a lint-free cloth to wipe any excess water and let the printer dry. Once it’s good to go, slide the printhead back into place. After giving it a good cleaning, kickstart a dummy print to test the ink nozzle for any irregularities. You’re all set.

Method 2: Prime Ink Method

Here’s how to clear your printer nozzle like a pro:

First, switch to maintenance mode and unplug the printer. Open the lid and remove the printhead cover. Place a clean paper towel underneath and slide the printhead over it smoothly (no wrinkles allowed!).

Next up, fill that syringe with air and pass it through the nozzle. Avoid using toothpicks, no matter how tempting it might be they can wreak havoc on the nozzle. Stick with the safer air-filled syringe method. If the air flows freely, your nozzle is good to go.

However, if you encounter resistance, take it easy. Don’t apply too much pressure or you might break the printhead. Once the nozzle is clear, slide the printhead back into place and remove the paper towel.

unclog sublimation printer

Method 3: Printing Purge Sheet

The third method is a quick and easy fix to keep your prints looking sharp. Our last method takes only a few seconds and couldn’t be simpler. Just print the purge sheet with premium presentation matte settings, perform a quick nozzle check, and you’re done. This method is perfect for banishing pesky fades and lines that suddenly appear. Plus, arranging a package of purging sheets from the ink manufacturers is a breeze and will ensure your prints stay top-notch. 

Easy Tips to Have A Smooth Sublimation Printer

If you want a smoothly working sublimation printer, follow the steps below.

“Say Goodbye to Clogged Nozzles. Keep Your Sublimation Printer Running Smoothly.”

Clean Nozzle-Heads Regularly

Don’t let clogged nozzle heads slow down your sublimation printing business. No matter what type of printer you have, regular maintenance is key to avoiding expensive repairs. But fear not, keeping your printer in top condition is easy with these tips.

While ink keeps flowing smoothly during busy periods, a lull in printing can cause ink to dry and clog your nozzle head. For printers like the Ricoh SG 3110DN, manual cleaning of the nozzle, printhead, and rollers is a must. But with the Sawgrass VJ 628, the nozzle head is automatically checked and cleaned more efficiently,

Don’t let clogs ruin your day, stay on top of your printer maintenance and keep your business thriving.

Regular cleaning is key to maintaining bright and vibrant colors in your sublimation prints. Clogging in the nozzle and printhead can cause missing lines and streaks, leaving your final product looking less than stellar. So don’t forget to show your printer some love.

Post-head cleaning operation

To confirm the issue is resolved, don’t forget to check for the printed pattern after you perform the head cleaning. If you’re still having problems, don’t worry just repeat the same head-cleaning procedure to remove any remaining clogged ink from the nozzle heads.

Prevent Wastage of Ink in Sublimation Printing Machine

Performing maintenance on a sublimation printer can be a major pain as it wastes loads of sublimation ink. However, printers like the Virtuoso SG400 have a built-in solution to this issue – storage tanks for collecting the excess ink during cleaning.

But hey, don’t worry if your printer doesn’t have this feature. You can create your own custom storage tank to prevent wasting valuable resources. Taking this essential step ensures that your sublimation ink lasts longer.

Influence of Temperature on Sublimation Print

If you don’t store your sublimation ink and paper at the right temperature and humidity, it could affect your final sublimation print quality. To avoid this, make sure to keep the ink at 15 to 25 degrees Celsius and a humidity level of 35%.

Excessive humidity will also damage your transfer paper and sublimation blanks. Invest in an air exhaust machine or indoor moisture controller to keep your workshop at the perfect temperature and humidity for printing success.

Keep Your Workshop Clean

Maintaining a spick and span sublimation printing workshop is a top priority, folks. Dust and debris – no matter how small can seriously affect the quality of your print jobs. We’re talking blurry, dull images.If a sublimation paper falls on the floor, avoid it like the plague. Dust lurks everywhere. But don’t worry, you can easily prevent your paper-falling woes with a clear plastic cover on the floor.

Be Cautious With refillable ink cartridges

To keep your sublimation printing game strong, watch out for two common foes when using a refillable ink cartridge. Refilling can be tricky, but with a little caution and effort, you’ll be able to create beautiful prints in no time.


It’s important to keep an eye on those pesky tissue paper fibers and dust particles, as they can wreak havoc on your sublimation ink cartridge. If left unattended, these culprits can cause pesky blockages in your ink lines and nozzle, leading to subpar prints. Don’t let them get in the way of your masterpieces.

Air Bubbles

When refilling sublimation ink, there’s a pesky second issue to contend with air bubbles making their way inside. To prevent these bubbling nuisances, give the ink bottle a solid shake and wait a bit for it to settle before refilling. Trust us your prints will thank you.


Sublimation printing might bring issues when running a full-time printing business. Unfortunately, this means minor hiccups, like missing lines, messy results, and color fades, will occur. You may most likely face the clogging issue in the sublimation printer.


Q: Do sublimation printers clog?

A: For all sublimation printers and models, print head clogging is a widespread problem. Clean print heads are crucial to maintain high print quality and extend the life of your printer. By letting ink flow through the nozzle heads, regular cleaning is easily accomplished and ensures that your printer performs at its best.

Q: How do I fix my printer when its clogged?

A: If you’re worried about a clogged printer printhead, here’s what to do: Run the automatic cleaning cycle on your printer. Do it a few times if necessary, until you’ve cleared the blockage. That automated cleaning cycle is designed to force ink through the print heads, giving you consistently great prints every time.

Q: What liquid cleans printheads?

A: For optimal results, we suggest applying isopropyl alcohol using a lint-free cloth or swab — as it evaporates promptly without leaving any annoying residue. In case of clogged print nozzles, you may need to follow a more involved cleaning procedure.

Q: What is the cause of clogged printer?

A: Printhead clogs are primarily caused by infrequent usage in our experience. Leaving your printer idle for extended periods, sometimes weeks to months, between jobs can cause the ink to dry up and channels to clog. Therefore, it’s advisable to avoid idle print heads by ensuring regular usage to maintain optimal printer performance.

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