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GeekGal, Computer Support Specialist
Category: Printers
Satisfied Customers: 823
Experience:  MIS degree and 15+ years experience with both Mac and Windows hardware & software
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EPSON wf 3640 printing blank pages - I cleaned the print

Customer Question

EPSON wf 3640 printing blank pages - I cleaned the print head, did a nozzle check and made sure the yellow tape was removed from the cartridges
JA: Can you guesstimate how old your Epson is? And just to clarify, what's the exact model?
Customer: 1 year old, workforce wf 3640
JA: What kind of computer are you printing from (Mac or PC)? What Operating System (OS) are you running?
Customer: Pc, windows 8
JA: How long has this been an issue? What happened right before this popped up?
Customer: Couple weeks, I replaced the ink cartridges - had no problems printing before
JA: Anything else you want the printer expert to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Printers
Expert:  GeekGal replied 1 month ago.

Hi there! My name is***** am a computer professional with over 15 years of experience with both Mac and Windows computers, phones, tablets, and printers. It would be my pleasure to assist you with this. This is a common problem with ink jet printer that are not used frequently. The ink that is left in the nozzles can dry up and clog the nozzles. If you have done 3 cleaning cycles with no improvement, I suggest that you switch off the machine, wait 24 hours, and then perform Deep Cleaning again. If it still doesn't print all colors correctly, you can try the following methods to try and unclog the printheads.

Methods to manually clean Epson printheads:

We suggest you perform the suggested methods of manually cleaning the Epson printheads in the order they are listed below. They are listed in order from the easiest to the more difficult. If the first method does not completely solve the problem, then go on to the next.

Distilled water or printhead cleaner in sponges

When the Epson printhead is in its resting or 'off' position, the printheads are above a single or two sponges. By saturating these sponges often excess ink on the printheads will mix with the water and get sucked into the sponge when the printer is turned on.

Move printhead assembly to center of printer:

Start with the printer turned off. Open top of printer so you can see the printhead/cartridge assembly. On older models of Epson printers you can simply move this assembly to the left, towards the center of the printer. Newer models have a locking lever which prevents the printhead assembly from moving from the resting position. If you look closely, you should see a small, plastic (usually black or white) lever which comes up whenever the printer stops printing. The lever to which we are referring is just left of the printhead assembly. This lever can be moved forward and down easily with your finger. If you can't see the lever, then print a page with the top open. Watch for a lever that goes down when it starts printing and then goes up after it has stopped.

With the printer off and the lever moved down as far as it will go, gently push the printhead/cartridge assembly to the right. It will only move a fraction of an inch, but you should hear a click. This is a second lock being released. The printhead assembly should now easily move to the left towards the center of the printer.

Saturate sponge(s):

With the printhead moved, you can now see the sponges which were under the printheads. Take a syringe or eyedropper and saturate the sponge(s). Fill the sponge holder as much as you can. Use distilled water or InkMagic printhead cleaner. Regular water will work, but it is the last choice. Move the printhead assembly back over the sponges ... as far to the right as it will go. Let printer sit for at least 15 minutes before turning it 'on'. You may want to leave it overnight.

Be certain the printhead assembly is as far to the right as it will go before turning the printer 'on'. Print 6 or 8 pages of dense print or graphics if it is the color which is causing the problems. If you still have clogged nozzles, then move on to the next suggestion.

Distilled water or printhead cleaner in ink port

Remove ink cartridge(s) from printer. On newer models you may have to hold one of the buttons down for several seconds for the printheads to move to the center. Refer to your printer manual.

With the cartridge(s) removed you will now be able to see the small cone shaped ink tubes (ink ports) which take the ink from the cartridge to the printhead. Black has one cone and the color has three. Using a syringe with blunt needle, put a few drops of InkMagic printhead cleaner or distilled water in the cone. We recommend putting water or printhead cleaner only in the cone which sends ink to the printhead causing the problems. e.g. if it is the yellow which has nozzles missing, then put water only in the yellow inkport. If you're not sure which color is which, then look at the holes in the bottom of the color cartridge. Yellow is usually the color on the far right with magenta (red) in the middle and cyan (blue) on the left.

Put the cartridge(s) back into the cartridge holder. Do nothing. Usually after a few minutes the printer will automatically return the printhead assembly to its resting position. If any water or printhead cleaner dripped into the printer, wipe it dry with a paper towel.

Print 6 or 8 pages of dense print or graphics if it is a color which is causing the problems. If you still have clogged nozzles, then move on to the next suggestion.

Clean printhead with paper towels

Fold paper towel and dampen:

Be certain the printer is turned 'off'. Tear a single sheet of paper towel in half. Fold the sheet in half several times until it is about 1/2 inch by whatever length the sheet started at. In other words, you want to fold it so it is long and skinny, not square. Open the cover of the Epson printer. Along the path which the printhead assembly travels when printing, you will see a rubber roller which moves the paper. (this is like the paper roller in a typewriter). Put the paper towel on top of this rubber roller and use tape on each end to secure it. Put a few drops of InkMagic printhead cleaner or distilled water near the middle of the paper towel.

Move printhead assembly over the paper towel and let it rest on top of the damp portion of the paper towel

We suggest letting the printhead sit over the paper towel for at least 15 minutes. This will soften the ink on the printhead. Move printhead assembly back to its resting position. You will probably notice that the paper towel now has one long black blob of ink on it. (There is so much excess ink on the printheads that all the colors are mixing to make black.) If you cannot clearly see individual colors, then dampen another spot on the paper towel and move the printhead back over the newly dampened spot on the paper towel. Continue repeating this until you see all the individual colors. You may have to use several pieces of folded paper towels.

Before turning the printer 'on', be certain to move the printhead back to its resting position and remove the paper towel from inside the printer. Now that all excess ink has been removed from the printheads, your clogged nozzles should be cleared. It may take several pages of dense print to get the ink flowing properly.

Expert:  GeekGal replied 1 month ago.

Please give this a try and let me know how it works for you. If this solves the problem, would you mind taking a moment to rate my service? You can give your rating by selecting the stars located on the top right of the question page. I'd really appreciate it! Without a positive rating I am not credited for my answer. If this doesn't solve the problem be sure to let me know so we can continue troubleshooting.

Here's a link to the user manual for your printer. I thought it might be handy to have.

Also here are a few tips to help prevent the problem from recurring once you have it cleaned and working again:


The printhead cleaning cycles on models of Epson printers has consistently gotten longer with each new model introduced to the market. These longer cleaning cycles suck out more ink in an attempt to clear the clog. Unfortunately, after two or three cleaning cycles, excess amounts of ink is being smeared over the printhead and can actually block more or all of the nozzles. The more you clean, the more ink, the more smearing.

If after two cleanings the nozzles aren't cleared, then print at least 10 full pages. If the nozzles don't clear themselves within these 10 pages, then further cleanings will not solve your problem. You will have to manually clean the printheads. See several methods below.


The Epson printers do a "mini-cleaning cycle" when the printer is first turned on. This is to get the ink flowing through the printhead after it has been unused for a while. If you never turn the printer off, then these mini-cleaning cycles to not take place.


You should print several, full color pages AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK! This will help keep the ink from drying out on the printhead or in the nozzles. Seldom used inkjet printers (all brands) cause more problems than those which are used on a daily basis. If it takes you 4, 6 or more months to use a set of cartridges, then an Epson printer is certainly not the printer for you. Seriously consider a different brand or a laser printer if you only print black.


The printheads in Epson printers are a very precision made component. Many companies want you to believe that "one ink does all printers". This is simply not possible. While this type of refill kit may work with many printers, Epson owners simply should not take the risk. As models are introduced the ink changes. This is the reason printer manufacturers are continually introducing new inkjet cartridges when they introduce new printers. Higher resolutions and faster printing speeds require ink with very specific characteristics. You may have been able to get away with "one refill kit does all" back 5 years ago, that certainly isn't the case today!

The few $$$ you save by buying cheap refill kits and compatible cartridges WILL come back and haunt you.

You can also try using a printhead cleaning kit from time to time. These are available online from several sources, including Amazon and eBay. Because the links change frequently, rather than provide links, I will simply suggest that you do a google search for "printhead cleaning kit Epson wf 3640".

Expert:  GeekGal replied 1 month ago.