Basic Thermal Printer Maintenance

With proper repair and maintenance, your thermal printer is capable of lasting much longer than it would without care. Depending on conditions, your printer may last 50-100% longer, and with less downtime, too. An average printhead will print about 2.4 million inches- over 35 miles- of paper, but how do you make sure you get that much or more from your unit? For most problems, you'll need a skilled technician with years of experience to ensure you don't damage the fragile parts inside. However, there's some maintenance that you're capable of performing, too.

Basic Thermal Printer Upkeep

First, some common sense guidelines on keeping your thermal printer safe and in good working order.


  • Don't let the printer drop or fall.
  • Don't shake the printer or position it on unsteady or vibrating surfaces.
  • Don't operate or store the printer in moist or overly humid areas.
  • Don't try to use paper that's incorrectly sized.
  • Keep the printer free of dust, and don't operate it in a heavy particulate environment.
  • Keep the printer a safe distance away from heavily magnetized objects.
  • Don't use unapproved cleaning liquids or solutions on important thermal printer parts.


These may seem self-evident, but going through that list will ensure that you avoid many obvious mistakes.

Cleaning a Thermal Printer Printhead

Cleaning the printhead of a thermal printer is easy and effective, and will greatly help your printer stay healthy. However, the printhead is a delicate mechanism, so it's important that you be careful when you do so. Remove any jewelry and make sure you're working in a clean, secluded area so you're not disturbed or crowded. One of the best cleaning solutions to use is Isopropyl Alcohol- it will evaporate quickly and leave almost no residue. The cloth you use should also not leave residue; you can buy special thermal printer cleaning swabs, or use more general no-residue pads. In a pinch, most coffee filters also leave no fiber behind.

Rub the printhead and rollers with your swab as gently as possible to remove any dirt or grime. You can also use a compressed-air duster to remove other debris. But remember to be careful and gentle, as a scratched or damaged printhead is nearly impossible to repair and will also severely degrade a printer's quality. Make sure all parts are dry before putting them back inside the printer.

Thermal Printer Maintenance Service

While it's definitely possible for you to perform maintenance on your thermal printer yourself, it's not recommended that you try to fix any problems that are too complex, as doing so may violate the warranty and make your problems even worse. Luckily, BCI employs some of the best thermal printer maintenance technicians and engineers around. For help with your printer service, don't wait around- contact us today at (847) 615-2933!

BCI is trained and authorized to provide thermal printer repair services for Zebra Technologies, SATO, Intermec, Printronix, and Datamax-O'neil brands.
BCI providers thermal printer repair services nationally with a local focus on the major Chicago and Milwaukee areas. Our local service area also includes Cook County IL, Lake County IL, Will County IL, Dupage County IL, and many others.

We can provide both on-site or depot repair services. We are your thermal printer repair partner for Chicago/Milwaukee. With a satellite office in Richmond Virgina we can provide services for the Mid-Atlantic Region. We also can provide service near most major cities across the US.

Zebra Technologies, Printronix, SATO, Intermec, Datamax O'Neil, and more

Corporate Office: 1635 Northwind Blvd. Libertyville IL 60048 | Phone (847) 615-2933 | Fax (847) 615-2973
Mid-Atlantic Region | Richmond VA Office | Phone (804) 205-1266

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