How to use the Head Cleaning utility in macOS

To clean the print head in the event of poor print quality, use the head cleaning utility in the Epson Printer Utility.

Notes Icon Note:

This process will require you to load several sheets of A4 plain paper into the printer, and will consume some ink from the cartridges. The amount used depends on the number of head cleans required.

  • Clean the print head only if print quality declines; for example, if the printout is blurry or the colours are incorrect or missing.
  • Use the Nozzle Check utility first to confirm that the print head needs to be cleaned.
  • When ink is low you may not be able to clean the print head. When the ink is expended you cannot clean the print head. Replace the expended ink cartridge first.

To clean the print head using the Epson Printer Utility follow the instructions below:

Click here to expand instructions


  1. Click the Apple menu and select System Preferences.

  2. Click Printers & Scanners.

  3. The name of your Epson printer should be present in the printer list. Click on the name of the printer.


    If an Epson printer is not present, the printer is not installed. Install the driver for your version of macOS according to the method recommended in the below article:


  4. Click on Options & Supplies

  5. A new window will open, click on the Utility tab.

  6. Click on Printer Utility.

  7. Confirm that plain A4 paper is loaded in the sheet feeder / paper cassette of the printer.
  8. In the EPSON Printer Utility, click on Nozzle Check.

  9. Follow the on-screen instructions to print a nozzle check. This will confirm if the print head needs to be cleaned.

  10. When the check has printed, compare the printout with the on-screen message as shown below:

  11. If there are breaks in the pattern or a missing colour, this indicates that the issue is related to the print head. Click Clean to start the cleaning process.

  12. This will launch the cleaning utility. You may be asked to clean:
    • All Colors
    • All except Black
    • Black only
    Select the options you require and click Start and wait for the printer to finish the first cleaning cycle.
  13. The cleaning cycle will begin.

    Caution Icon Caution:

    Never turn off the printer while the Power light is flashing. Doing so may damage the printer.

  14. Click the Finish button to close the cleaning utility or click Print Nozzle Check Pattern to print another nozzle check this will confirm the effectiveness of the head clean.

  15. If the nozzle check prints correctly (showing no breaks in the pattern), but the text is still broken you may need to run the Print Head Alignment utility.

    If gaps are still present, perform another head clean (without printing a nozzle check between the cleans). Once the second clean is complete, power off the printer.

    Wait one minute before powering it back on, then print a nozzle check. Compare the printout with the example screen below.

    Notes Icon Note:
    We recommend only a maximum of six head cleans.



If gaps are still present in the nozzle check pattern, power off the printer and leave it for at least six hours (overnight is fine). After this period has passed, print another nozzle check.

  • If the nozzle check pattern does not show improvement, then it is recommended that you install a new set of genuine Epson ink cartridges.
  • If only certain colours are affected, you could replace the associated cartridge.
  • Replace any damaged or old cartridges - we recommend replacing cartridges that have been open for over 6 months (from the date the cartridge was first removed from its plastic vacuum packaging).
  • If this fails to resolve the issue, please contact us to find out about the service and sales options we can offer you directly.