How To Clean Up Toner Spill From Your Laser Printer

Justin Chung9/11/19


You're having a rough day. 

You're alarm didn't go off. You were late to your appointment. The deadline for those documents you've been pounding away at since last week is just around the corner. And you haven't even had your morning coffee.

Now, you have another situation in your hands. Your printer isn't working. You open it up and pull out the cartridge. Ah, we've found the culprit: there's a massive leakage from the cartridge. It couldn't have happened at the worst possible time.

At least that's what you think. Luckily, I have listed out some simple, easy steps on how to clean up a messy toner spill.


First, be mindful of the following:

When opening a new cartridge check to see if the cartridge has any loose parts or any minor leaking. If so, replace immediately.

 When installing the toner cartridge, make sure you position it securely and correctly. Always press firmly to check if its in place. You can also take it back out and reinstall it just to confirm that the cartridge has been placed inside correctly. Read you printer manual to cartridge installation instructions. Improper installation or failure to secure cartridge can result in the toner spilling inside the printer.

Remember to use a single, smooth action when removing your toner cartridge. Do not rustle or tilt the cartridge to either side as there still may be loose toner particles attached to the belt or drum. Any unnecessary tilting or aggressive removal may cause toner powder to leak out.


Now, without further ado, these are the following steps on how to clean a toner spill:


1. Turn Off Printer and Disconnect the Cord.

Always take precautionary measures and ensure that all power is off and electrical units are disconnected. This will help prevent damages to your printer and even protect you from potential injuries.

2. Put On Disposable Gloves and a Face Mask

Toner powder is composed of very fine plastic particles and can cause irritation in your throat when you breathe it in. If toner gets on your skin, simply use cold water and soap to remove. Don’t use hot water as heat can fuse toner to your skin, clothes, shoes, etc.

3. Clean Surrounding Areas of Your Printer

Scoop up however much toner powder you can at the spill site. Pour it in a plastic bag and seal it. Use cold water to wet towel or cloth and wipe surrounding surfaces such as the floor or desk. Toner can be removed from carpets by moistening a cloth with dry cleaning solvent and dabbing lightly.

4. Clean Your Printer's Interior and Exterior Compartment

Clean toner powder spillage and residue on your printer with a dry cloth like microfiber cloth or towel to collect loose toner particles. Try not to rub the cloth too hard and smear the toner powder excessively. Avoid using liquid spray solutions or wet cloth directly on the printer itself as it may damage the printer hardware.

If you happen to have a toner vacuum, you can use it during this step to suction the loose powder by directing the hose at the spillage sites. Please note that not any vacuums can be used. Toner vacuums are equipped with a specially designed HEPA-filter system, hose, and collection unit to tackle this type of job. If any other vacuum is used, the fine powder can seep through and circulate back into the air and its surroundings.

5. Use Your Duster Spray

If you are able to do so, take your printer outside where you have an open space. Grab your duster and point the spray tube towards the affected spillage sites. The tube is a thin, straw-like nozzle that can help you reach the tougher angles and less visible compartments of your printer.

You can also use this time outside to remove toner powder from your clothing. Use a dry cloth and dust yourself off and air them out.

6. Plug Your Printer Back in and Install a Non-Leaking Cartridge

Once the above steps are complete, your printer and its surrounding areas should be in a neat and tidy condition. Plug your printer back in and install a non-leaking toner cartridge.

Do not install the cartridge if it is leaking in any way. A leaking toner cartridge may be a sign that it's defective or nearing the end of its life.

7. Get Ready to Print.

Turn the printer back on and get ready to print!

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