Part 3 - Edible Images & Edible Printers - Troubleshooting

This chapter of edible printing tips covers troubleshooting your edible printer, frosting sheets and more

Printer/Print Quality Problems

There are horizontal lines or streaks across my image.

Horizontal lines or streaks across an image is called banding. Banding can signal that the nozzles in the print head have become clogged, the print head needs cleaning, the print head needs to be aligned or that your media/paper setting is incorrect.

Remove your print head and blot the bottom with a lint free cloth and warm, distilled water.

If this does not resolve the problem, perform a Nozzle Check Pattern test. If lines are

broken or missing, a print head cleaning is needed. See How do I clean my print head? If the Nozzle Check Pattern test results are normal but your images still show banding, check that your media/paper setting is correct. If that is not the cause of the problem, perform a print head alignment.

Certain colors are not printing or are not printing correctly.

Examine your image closely to identify which colors are either printing incorrectly or missing. Check to see that the affected color ink cartridge isn’t empty, tainted, air-locked or inserted improperly.

You will know that a cartridge is air-locked if it isn’t empty and tapping it gently on a paper towel doesn’t release any ink. Air-lock can occur when the vent hole located on top of the cartridge is blocked or clogged. This is sometimes the result of refilling your cartridge or if the cartridge wasn’t stored in an upright position. The air-lock can often be released by simply turning the cartridge upside down but you may have to pierce the vent hole to release the air lock. The vent hole is located in the middle of the cartridge top, over the sponge.

Perform a Nozzle Check Pattern Test. If lines are broken or missing, a print head cleaning is needed.

If your ink cartridges are not empty, tainted, air-locked or inserted improperly and the Nozzle Check Pattern Test is without broken or missing lines, edit your image to compensate for the difference in color. Sometimes colors don’t print as they appear on the computer screen. For example, if red is printing too orange, try reducing the amount of yellow in the red areas of your image or changing the shade of red until the printed image is acceptable. Print small test images on regular paper.

My image is printing off the frosting sheet.

When editing and printing your image, be sure to take into consideration the size and shape of your frosting sheet. When sizing your image, do not exceed the size of your frosting sheet. Center the image if needed. Always perform a print preview. Print practice pages on regular paper using draft quality.

If your image is still printing slightly off the frosting sheet, performing a print head alignment may solve the problem.

My printer tries to print but no ink is coming out.

Check that your ink cartridges are not empty and that they are inserted properly. If they are, the problem is most likely a clogged print head. A print head cleaning is needed. See

How do I clean my print head?

Experiencing poor print quality in general.

Reasons for poor print quality include clogged nozzles/print head, empty ink cartridges, low image resolution, improper media/paper setting and/or improper print quality setting. To improve print quality:

Check to be sure your ink tanks aren’t out of ink.

Perform a Nozzle Check Pattern test to check for clogged nozzles indicated by broken or missing lines. Perform a print head cleaning if needed.

Check media/paper setting and print quality setting. You can find the proper settings for your printer here.

Poor print quality can also be the result of printing low resolution images. If you’ve enlarged an image, this can result in low resolution. Print images with a higher resolution.

I’m experiencing a problem with my printer not mentioned above.

Interactive troubleshooting for your printer can be found at

Printer and Cartridge Maintenance

How do I store edible ink cartridges?

How do I refill my edible ink cartridges?

How many times can I refill my edible ink cartridges?

How can I keep my print head from clogging?

How do I clean my print head?

How often should I clean my print head?

Repeated cleaning and deep cleaning did not unclog my print head.

How do I store edible ink cartridges?

When you receive your edible ink cartridges, they will be capped. Save these caps.

Edible ink cartridges should be stored capped, upright in a zip-loc bag. Do not refrigerate edible ink cartridges.

Optional: You may also want to place a piece of scotch tape over the vent hole located at the top of the cartridge. Inserting a damp paper towel into the zip-loc bag along with the cartridges will also help to maintain the humidity. Be sure to remove the tape before the next use.

How do I refill my edible ink cartridges?

To refill your edible ink cartridges, you will need to purchase an edible ink refill kit. This kit will come with complete, easy-to-follow instructions.

How many times can I refill my edible ink cartridges?

A maximum of four times unless print head clogs or poor print quality become a problem. If print head clogs or poor print quality become a problem, it may be time to purchase new cartridges.

How can I keep my print head from clogging?

Print head nozzles can be thinner than a human hair and it doesn’t take much to clog them. Print head clogs have two major causes:

Edible ink has dried in the print head clogging the nozzles. You have started refilling your edible ink cartridges.

During periods of disuse, edible ink left in your print head can dry clogging the nozzles.

To prevent this, you can either:

Keep the ink flowing by periodically printing at least one image a week -or-

Remove and store your edible ink cartridges. Insert your cleaning cartridges and print an image on regular paper making sure that all of the ink has been flushed from the print head. Or perform a deep clean with cleaning cartridges installed. Leave your cleaning cartridges in until the next time you plan to use your printer.

If you suspect that refilling your edible ink cartridges is causing the clogs, purchase new cartridges.

How do I clean my print head?

In your printer’s maintenance menu will be two cleaning functions: clean and deep clean. Cleaning functions can be performed with either edible ink or cleaning cartridges installed. Deep clean uses a lot of ink. You may want to install cleaning cartridges before performing a deep clean.

To clean your print head, select clean. If you were experiencing print quality problems, follow this with a Nozzle Check Pattern test to see if the problem has been resolved. Repeat up to three times waiting at least a minute before repeating each cleaning cycle. If your Nozzle Check Pattern test is still not normal, perform a deep cleaning. Repeat if needed allowing at least one minute between deep cleaning cycles.

How often should I clean my print head?

At least once a month with cleaning cartridges installed.

Repeated cleaning and deep cleaning did not unclog my print head.

If repeated cleaning and deep cleaning does not result in a normal Nozzle Check Pattern test, you may need to replace your print head.

Before replacing the print head:

Try purchasing a steam jet cleaner or print head cleaning kit made specifically for removing edible ink clogs.

Sometimes running your print head under a heavy stream of very warm water can help to remove stubborn clogs. Dry the print head with a soft lint-free cloth or paper towels before placing it back into the printer.

You can also try to reverse purge the print head. Reverse purging reverses the flow of

fluid through the print head helping to remove the particles of dried ink.

To reverse purge your print head:

Remove your print head from the printer.

Remove all of the cartridges from the print head.

Fold 3-6 lint-free paper towels in half or in quarters.

Place the paper towels into a soaking dish. The soaking dish will need to be large enough

to place your print head down onto.

Fill the soaking dish with enough plastic safe cleaner to heavily soak the paper towels.

Airbrush cleaning fluid works great for this.

Place the print head on top of the soaked paper towels or cloth and press down gently. Let

the print head set for 10 minutes. Then gently rock the print head back and forth or blot it

on the paper towels forcing the cleaning solution up through the print head.

Repeat, replacing the cleaning solution and towels as needed until the solution seeping up

through the filter/nozzles is free of ink.

Using lint-free paper towels, dry the print head or allow it to air dry before putting it back

into the printer.

You can also reverse purge your print head using a specialized or modified syringe (no

needle) to draw the cleaning solution up through the print head. If using this method, you

will not need the paper towels under the print head.

For stubborn clogs, it may be necessary to soak the bottom of your print head for 30

minutes or more and then repeat this procedure.

Additional Chapters:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Comments (16)


I have a Canon MP560 and cannot get my yellow edible ink to print. I have read this forum and many others and still no yellow prints. I even bought new edible ink. "Frustrated" any ideas?


Canon MP560 and other Canon printers that take the "tank" style inkjet cartridges have one thing in common: They have printheads inside the printer (not on the cartridge).

The main reason (99% of the time) why a cartridge will not print (colors don't flow through the cartridge), is if the printhead for that cartridge is blocked/clogged.

Why would a printhead get clogged? The most common reason would be due to non-use. Remember that edible inks are water + sugar based, leaving a printer idle means water could evaporate, leaving behind sugar that can crystalize and clog the printhead(s). What can you do?

1) Keep the printer working (print a few pages a week) 2) If you need to keep the printer idle, at least turn it OFF and ON every few days so it can keep cycling the cartridges and keep ink flowing. 3) If your printheads get clogged, run a printhead cleaning cycle, or install "print head cleaning" cartridges and print a few pages to get the printheads to clean out.


And of course, if you are going to use printhead cleaning cartridges, make sure that the "cleaning" solution is food grade! (available from some edible ink vendors)