Cleaning solution: the ultimate test

Paul Verizzo

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@pharmasist posted this :

Many forum members have enjoyed my formula to condition the sponge of Canon cartridges.

The formula is as follows:

-3 ml propylene glycol (or 2 % glycerol)
-20 ml isopropylalcohol
-distilled water up to 100 ml

The cleaning solution to free up clogged printheads is by adding 20-25 drops of concentrated ammonia to each 100 ml of cleaning solution.

Today I suffered from a tenacious clog in my Epson Pro 3800 in the magenta and cyan channel, caused probably by long term of non-usage and the very low humidity in my room because of the high heating since it is now freezing in Belgium. Even after 3 cleaning cycles the clog did not go away. In the past one cleaning cycle is enough to clean minor clogs. So today I folded a piece of towel paper into a nice thick and even strip and drenched it with my cleaning solution and put it under my printhead and let it soak for about 1 hour. After that I executed one cleaning cycle and...all the clogs are gone. Whow it works fantastic and the formula is
As I've said, no rocket science here, and no disrespect on Pharmacist's suggestion.

My chemistry knowledge is not perfect, but I've spent a lot of time and fun with photo chemistry, making my own developers and fixers for the wet darkroom. I can't see why propylene glycol is necessary for head cleaning, it's not much of a solvent. Especially at the level suggested. Alcohol is much more active, and ammonia, with or without surfactant, is inherently alkaline which tends to break up organic molecules.

And propylene glycol isn't readily available - although "non toxic" automotive anti-freezes and RV water system anti-freezes are available, why bother?
 

pharmacist

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The reason of introducing the 3% propylene glycol was to prevent drying out of the sponge material in Canon cartridges (a so called-humectant), when water is completely evaporated and works like a lubricant inside Canon cartridges to improve ink absorption and also in print heads without diluting the ink too much. Maybe not rocket science, but the idea behind it, was more than an educated guess when I created this formula.

It was originally formulated as a reconditioning formula for Canon sponge based cartridges: isopropanol to lower surface tension and at 20% works as a preservative as well and after drying the tiny amount of propylene glycol is left behind in the microscopically small cavities in the sponge material, which lubricates the internals, making ink to be absorbed much quicker, better and evenly in the sponge material.

Does it helps for print head: maybe not at all, but when the solution dries, the propylene glycol stays behind, softening the sporadically left ink globs still not fully dissolved. Propylene glycol is a good solvent too.
 

jfcarbel

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Is this solution still recommended and safe for newer Epson print heads?

Also considering that it might be difficult to obtain some of these ingredients are there household solutions that can be used in the mixture, perhaps Windows with Ammonia combined with some distilled water and iso?

I used Piezo Flush solution and it worked real well, but the stuff is expensive and since I don't print often enough would like a homemade solution to do the soaked paper towel under printhead to clean it maybe every other month. What was nice about the Piezo Flush is I could run it in a cart and it shows up on paper so I can determine effect of its unclogging.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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Ammonia may decomposit ink dye molecules, but Ammonia may react as well with metal parts in the ink channel like the nozzle plate, it may not do much harm on short usage but soaking a printhead with it for an extended period of time may be risky. I remember that an ink supplier - I cannot find it anymore - was offering such an ammonia based cleaner - for cartridges, the interior plastic parts of a printer stained with ink fog, or other parts with a plastic surface like a kitchen table , and that cleaner had a warning that it should not be used on printheads directly.
 

PeterBJ

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Ammonia becomes very aggressive in higher concentrations, especially if hot, so I think the amount of ammonia in pharmacist's recipe in post #1 should not be exceeded.
 

ThrillaMozilla

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The reason of introducing the 3% propylene glycol was to prevent drying out of the sponge material in Canon cartridges (a so called-humectant), when water is completely evaporated and works like a lubricant inside Canon cartridges to improve ink absorption and also in print heads without diluting the ink too much. Maybe not rocket science, but the idea behind it, was more than an educated guess when I created this formula.
I forget, but isn't this also used in the OEM inks? The MSDS often reveals much.
 

W. Fisher

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Where do you buy propylene glycol (glycerol) and isopropylalcohol? Pharmacy? I could use a liter of each.

However, I wonder about ammonia though as it supposedly can etch copper and sundry non-ferrous metals that the heads may be made out of since they look sort of 'bronzy' under them. From the Engineer's Handbook: "Copper is resistant to corrosion in most atmospheres including marine and industrial environments. It is corroded by oxidizing acids, halogens, sulphides and ammonia based solutions." Link: http://www.engineershandbook.com/Materials/copper.htm

I have had good luck with an ultrasonic cleaner in the past as ink explodes in it. They may use them on final cleaning when making them too so it might not harm them unless the head is too far gone.

Tia.

Will.
 

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There is a thread where I posted that special freq ultrasonics may help, but in general they only damage printheads. Especially Canon and HP thermal ones.
 

astecno

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Dear friends, thinking about long term storage and refilling carts in an Epson Pro printer, is it necessary to fill the carts with a more concentrate ammonia solution? Or the basic formula for external cleaning is just enough?

Just a sidenote: I'm not really planning to turn-off the printer for an indefinite period. I just want to fill the MK cart with the cleaning solution in order to avoid clogging the printhead, until I'm prepared for matte printing.
 

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