How to Fix Printer Leaving Roller Marks on Paper

Why is my printer leaving roller marks? You’ve finished hours of work on your project and now need to print it out. But alas, when you do, the paper tray produces paper with roller streaks or marks, leading to wasted time and resources.

Don’t throw in the towel on your printer just yet because you should know that some simple fixes could solve your problem without you spending any money. At the heart of it, this issue could be just that your rollers are dirty hence why they leave unwanted printer roller marks on paper.

Alternatively, it may also be a problem with the type of paper you’re using. So how do I stop the roller marks when printing? Try any of these solutions right away and wave farewell to your troubles.

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Method 1: Clean your printer’s rollers (Procedure for HP inkjet printers)

The rollers are essentially small rubber wheels inside your printer. They grip printing paper, picking it up from the paper tray and pushing it through the machine. With continual use, ink can smear onto the rollers- or they can accumulate dust- thus contaminating your paper.

Fortunately, if a dirty roller is to blame, the solution is as simple as cleaning out your rollers.

Here’s the lowdown on how to clean for example an HP printer rollers as far as an Inkjet model is concerned. (I also recommend the fix for laser printers after this):

how to clean inkjet printer rollers
  • Prepare a bowl of water and a lint-free cloth. Fresh clean water will suffice but I especially recommend filtered or distilled water
  • Take off the paper tray by sliding it towards you and lift the print so that its bottom faces your view
  • Locate the rollers toward the bottom of the exposed panel (see image for reference)
  • Slightly dip the cloth in the water. It shouldn’t completely soak the water but should be just damp
  • Wipe the roller surface with the cloth one by one, gently turning each roller as you clean to scrub the whole surface
  • Put back the paper try and reassemble the printer to complete the process

Be sure to not use alcohol or alcoholic solvents as these could potentially damage the rollers. Only use fresh water.

Method 2: Clean your printer’s rollers (Procedure for Laser printers)

If you’re dealing with a laser printer leaving marks on paper, the procedure of cleaning printer rollers will be slightly different. That’s because of varying roller positions. That said, here’s how to fix this issue for laser prints:

how to clean laser printer rollers
  • Locate the rollers, which should be inside the access panel or adjacent to the paper tray
  • Remove the toner cartridge after opening the access panel to better expose the rollers, which should be at the bottom of this area
  • Gently test to see if you can turn the rollers using a finger. If not, remove the roller by unsnapping the white side clips (see the image above for reference)
  • Using a slightly damp cloth, gently wipe off dirt, dust, or ink from the roller surface
  • Reinsert the roller after it has dried, and ensure it snaps back firm in place within the clips

If the printer rollers were not detachable, the cleaning process from method 1 still applies. That is simply wipe the roller surface as you turn it until you clean the full circle.

Method 3: Increase printer drying time

Another potential reason you’re facing as far as an Epson printer leaving roller marks on paper is concerned could be that you’re not using the right type of paper, namely EPSON- distrusted paper. You can solve this issue by increasing the drying period to accommodate the longer drying duration of these other types of papers.

how to fix printer roller

Here’s the procedure:

  • Press the “i” button on the printer then press the setting icon (spanner/gear wheel icon)
  • Go into “Setup” and then “Print retrieval”
  • At this point, click on the “Select drying” time
  • Choose “Extended” to increase the ink drying period

If you regularly clean your printer rollers and all these solutions so far haven’t worked it could be that your printer rollers are worn out or damaged. I wouldn’t advise replacing them via professional servicing. But first, check out our final recommendation on how to fix roller marks on printers.

Method 4: Clean rollers via settings (For printers that self-clean)

In this guide, we’ve talked about manually locating the printer rollers within the machine to clean them with a cleaning pad or special paper. However, some printers such as the HP Officejet 6950 have the ability to clean the rollers without you having to resort to any manual interventions or part disassembly.

Try to execute this procedure if your printer model applies. From your printer’s touch or control panel, do the following:

  • Load a plain white paper into your printer. The paper should be clean and blank
  • Scroll to “Setup” from the menu (You can see this as a gear icon in the image below)
  • Select “Tools” and within this submenu click on the tab “Clean Page Smears”
  • Confirm your action by clicking “OK” as in the image in Step 4
  • Give the printer time to clean, which could take a few minutes. You’ll know the process is complete when the printer ejects the paper
how to clean rollers on hp printer

When you complete this process, what the printer actually does is clean the rollers using the paper you’ve provided in step one. If the process is successful, you’ll notice stains toward either side of the ejected paper.

Conclusion – Before you do anything, wait

Before you take apart your HP printer to start wiping down on the printer rollers, sometimes the simple age-old solution of turning on and off your printer could be all that you need. Simply switch it off and unplug it from your power outlet, then give it half an hour to rest. This approach should remedy temporary print issues. If the problem persists, you can now move on to implementing our other strategies which are sure to help you solve the problem of a HP printer leaving roller marks on paper.

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