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My Printer Won’t Print Black (What To Do?)

While you are printing, you may encounter several problems, and one of the common complaints we hear is  “my printer won’t print black what to do?”.

It can be challenging, especially if you are in the middle of printing some important documents.

In that case, you should learn about all possible solutions to cover up the situation.

Printer’s inability to print in black can be linked to several printer or ink problems.

In this article, we will specifically try to understand why the printer is not printing black and will cover the issue from all possible angles.

My Printer Won’t Print Black, What to Do?

The issue can be an outcome of several reasons, and you must look into all aspects to rightly pinpoint the issue.

Before we move towards the solutions, let’s look at some of the possible reasons why your printer is not printing black.

1. Cartridges Run out of Black Ink?

One of the common reason can be your printer running out of black ink.

It can be as simple as that.

black ink low level

Ink can run out sooner than you expect. Especially the black one.

Most of the document printing is done with the black ink, and if your printing needs require more document and less colorful prints, you might have just run out of black ink.

Related: How To Get The Most Ink Possible Out Of A Cartridge

2. Whether it is Just Black or You Can’t Print in any Color?

It won’t hurt to run a test page of other colors to see if it is only the black ink that is not printing or other colors are also not printing.

If your printer fails to print in other colors too, that means the problem lies in printer components and not with the ink.

The problem with the printer can generally be solved by a quick cleaning. However, sometimes your printer have another major issue that may require technical assistance from experts.

3. Printer Needs Cleaning

Dry ink can clog your printer’s system. It can restrict the flow of ink in print head and nozzles, and you will have to face a lot of issues in printing.

Cleaning the insides of the printer as well as the cartridge head from time to time is very important.

Just be very gentle when you perform the cleaning since the printheads are quite delicate.

4. Printer not Recognizing New Cartridges

You need to replace the ink cartridges from time to time. And printing head too gets overused and needs to be replaced at time. As mentioned earlier, print heads are delicate pieces. if they get overused beyond their duty cycle limit, they can wear and tear.

Sometimes even if you have replaced a compatible ink cartridge or printing head, your printer fails to recognize it and may not work.

5. You Have Ignored the Low Ink Messages

Ignoring the low ink messages is good as long as you are sure you got plenty of ink in cartridges.

Your printer may have run out of not black but other ink, if you ignore the low ink message and keep trying to print with empty cartridges it might affect your printing head too, and constant heat and pressure may cause it to melt.

Let us now learn about some quick fixes on “My Printer Won’t Print Black” issue.

Some Quick Fixes

Let’s see how we can solve these minor issues to at least give you a little ink for emergency printing needs.

1. Restart

One of the first things that you should do with almost every IT equipment if it starts to malfunction is to restart it.

In this case, you should turn off your printer, disconnect all cables, then the printer on and then reconnect the cables.

Try to print after the printer is ready and waiting.

2. Check the Ink Levels

First, you need to make sure you got plenty of black ink. Your printer might have run out of black ink and won’t print unless you refill the black ink cartridge.

To check the ink levels in your cartridges go into the setting button next to set up the icon. Find the tools and then select the “Estimated Ink level”.

It will show you the ink level of all colors. You can have an idea how much ink is left. If your printer shows low black ink, you can simply replace the cartridge and try again. If ink level does not show low, you need to look into other solutions.

3. Clean the Printing Head and Nozzles
clean priting heads

For a steady flow of ink, your printer needs a regular cleaning session. Ink can dry on your print heads or in the nozzles that attach the cartridges to the printer. Dry ink in the tiny nozzles may restrict the flow of ink.

Some printer comes with an “automatic cleaning the printing head” option. If not, you can clean it yourself physically.

You can use a pin to clean up the vent. To prevent the nozzles from future clog, you can run a test print from time to time.

Printing at least once a week will save your printer from getting clogged.

4. Change the Advance Setting

Some printer has two types of ink, pigment-base and dye-based ink.

The pigment-based ink works best with matte page, and dye-based ink works on glossy paper.

In setting change the paper type to glossy, and it might trick the printer into printing with black on normal paper even if pigment-based ink has run out.

glossy settings


5. Reset the Ink Cartridge
How to Get More Ink Out of Printer Cartridge

Ink cartridges have a small reset button that can sometimes do the trick. This is a good way in order to trick the ink cartridge to be used beyond its duty cycle limit.

Just make sure you don’t over use the ink cartridge since it can damage it over time.

Note: Buy Only Genuine Print Head or Cartridges

Buying low-quality remanufactured ink cartridges can run you into a lot of trouble while printing.

You may save some pennies but will have to pay with your precious time wasted and will also reduce the lifespan of your printer.

To save yourself from future trouble it is always recommended to buy printer parts or ink only from the original manufacturers.

If you are buying recycled ink cartridges buy only from trusted brands that ensure the quality by testing their products.

Even compatible ink cartridges can cause a problem when your printer fails to recognize the new part and may not function properly.

Related: Original Vs Compatible Vs Remanufactured Ink Cartridges


Printers can get problematic, especially if you print a lot and have an old printer.

Here we looked at a very common problem “My printer won’t print black”. While there are many causes to this problem, the most common ones include empty ink tank, clogged nozzles or damaged ink cartridge.

Cleaning printer heads and nozzles is important for the life and quality of your printer.

You can try the simple fixes we have mentioned here yourself. If nothing works and you are certain that you have ink still left in your cartridge then it is best advised to contact the customer service of your printer’s manufacturers and have their two cents on the issue.