I have an Epson Stylus Photo printer that I obtained in exchange for a consulting job that I completed years ago for a professional photographer. The printer is a Stylus Photo 2200 that was manufactured and sold at a time when LPT ports were installed as standard equipment on Windows PCs and Mac OS 9 was still being run on Apple desktop computers. Despite its age, this Epson printer is usable under the latest version of Mac OS X. Virtually problem-free during my period of ownership, I recently started to notice repeatable smudges and patterns of black ink on all my printouts that I couldn’t fix by changing cartridges and cleaning the print heads using the Printer Utility tool in System Preferences. Searching online for a solution, I ordered a pack of Inkjet Cleaning Sheets (S041150) from the Epson Store, but later found out when I opened the package that they were incompatible with the Stylus Photo series of printers. A follow-up search led me to order a couple of bottles of the Magic Bullet Printhead Cleaning Kit from Marrutt USA, whose parent firm is located in the UK.
Magic Bullet ships with a mishmash of instructional videos on a single DVD as well as a plastic syringe for dispensing the special cleaner. The cleaning solution is stored in a small plastic bottle and is formulated to soften and break down dried ink particles that may be blocking the printhead. Unlike many other products on the market, Magic Bullet does not contain alcohol, which the firm believes can cause damage to a printer. To absorb the ink particles released by Magic Bullet, customers are advised to insert a folded-up piece of J Cloth underneath the cartridge tray, although paper towels can be used as substitutes.
In my repeated attempts to achieve a perfect test print, I used up over a half bottle of Magic Bullet and a couple of J Cloths. While the black smudges had disappeared after repeated applications, I noticed wet spots on my printouts, even after allowing the Magic Bullet residue to evaporate overnight. I sought a way to correct the remaining problem without adversing affecting the SEVEN ink cartridges that sit in the tray of the Stylus Photo 2200.
While a portable fan may also work, I used a handheld hair dryer at the lowest heat setting that I moved back-and-forth above the platen area. To reduce the risk of drying out the ink cartridges, I limited my use of the hair dryer to no more than a minute at a time.
Finally, I took the plunge to run another test print which produced great results with no smudges or wet paper marks.