Ink Cartridge Refill Help Center

HP 364, 364XL, 564, 564XL, 920, 920XL Ink Cartridge – Printhead Flush

If, after activating the ‘Clean Printhead’ routine two (2) times in a row, along with manufacturer’s suggested printer cleaning procedures, blank pages are observed or output print quality is extremely poor (for example, you observe several missing colors in the Print Quality Diagnostic Report where otherwise all colors should normally be present with no visible streaking), then the printhead may have partially dried out and a warm/hot water flush of the printhead may be necessary to help recover the ink system.

NOTE 1: While warm (hot) tap water is most readily available in the home, use of distilled water is suggested as it is technically safer for the printhead as it does not contain calcium or contaminants which could clog ink nozzles and/or impact the printhead’s long term performance.


Removable PRINTHEAD – Flushing Steps: 

  1. Remove all ink cartridges from the printer.
  2. Remove the printhead – in most cases you will need to pull up on the lever at right side of carriage assembly to unlock the printhead.  Lift printhead straight up to remove.
  3. Over a sink, run warm tap water directly into the 4 (or 5) ink ports for approximately 2 minutes – this will effectively saturate the foam ports and blow ink out/thru the nozzle plate bottom.
  4. Using a lint-free towel, remove water from rear/bottom electrical contacts. Ensure printhead electrical contacts and exposed surfaces are fully dry.
  5. Install the printhead into the printer. You may observe a “Replace Printhead message” so you will need to cycle printer power by turning printer off and then on to clear the error.
  6. Install ink cartridges and retest printer. You should observe a New PRINTHEAD alert message followed by an approx. 4-minute preparation countdown prompt.
  7. If permissible, activate the ‘Clean Printhead’. This can be done from the printer’s control panel or software printer driver (for example, by selecting ‘Tools’ – ‘Clean Printhead’, or similar).
  8. If you have reached this point of the troubleshooting and all the previous troubleshooting steps did not work, then the printhead could be electrically damaged or at end of life* and may need to be replaced. To check the electrical state of the HP 364, 564 or 920 printhead, perform the PRINTHEAD Health Diagnostics Test procedure ( refer to Diagnostic’s pdf file at link below, refer to your printer model for specific testing instructions: )


Printhead Life 

The replaceable (or non-customer replaceable) PRINTHEAD will eventually fail over time with usage and age. Check User Manual to determine if your printer’s Printhead can be easily removed and replaced.

Possible Printhead Failure? 



NOTE 2: This procedure primarily applies to HP 364, HP 564 and HP 920 ink-series printer models* and should be considered “a last ditch effort” just prior to printhead replacement and assumes that there is an adequate amount of ink available for the ink system recovery. For example, at least 30% of ink is available within each ink cartridge. The flushing procedure is only applicable to HP printers that feature a removable printhead assembly and should only be attempted after all other recovery suggestions, from HP, have been exhausted. This includes printhead and carriage electrical contact cleaning and activation of the ‘Clean Printhead’ function, perhaps 2 or 3 times, with no visible improvement in print quality output.

*HP Photosmart C5300, C5324, C5370, C5373, C5380, C5383, C5388, C5390, C5393, C6300, C6324, C6340, C6350, C6375, C6380, C6383, C6388, B8550, D5400, D5445, D5460, D5463, D5468, D7560, B8550, B8553, B8558, 7510, 7515

Photosmart Premium, C309c, C309a, C309n, C310a, C310b, C310c, C410a, 3520, 3521, 3522, 4620, 5520, 5522, 5524, 5525, 6520, 7520, 7525, C510, eStation, Photosmart Plus B209a, B210a, B210b, B210c, B210d, B210e

HP Officejet 6000, 6500, 6500A, 7000, 7500A


NOTE 3: The flushing procedure above DOES NOT apply to printers that have fixed, non-removable printhead, including the following printer models: HP Deskjet 3070a, HP Deskjet 3520 e-All-in-One, HP Officejet 4600 series, HP Photosmart 5510, HP Photosmart 5514, HP Photosmart 5520, HP Photosmart 6510, HP Photosmart 6520, etc.

For printer models which do not have a removable printhead please refer to suggested ‘soaking’ procedure below:


Non-Removable Printheads – Soak Procedure:

  1. Remove suspect ink cartridge(s).
  2. Take a damp towel and repeatedly blot/saturate the respective color ink port with water (distilled water is recommended). Ink should be visible (fully saturated) on towel.
  3. Place a water-dampened paper towel under the PRINTHEAD assembly.
  4. You’ll see a round mesh ink port where ink flows into the PRINTHEAD.
  5. Thoroughly dampen the ink port with 0.5 to 1 teaspoon of distilled water (use an eye-dropper, small spoon, or similar – pour or drip water directly into the ink port).
  6. Remove towel from below PRINTHEAD.
  7. Reinstall ink cartridge(s).
  8. Activate the ‘Clean Printhead’ routine once or twice (2X) to see if the respective color(s) has recovered.


Compatible HP 564 Ink-Series Printer Models — Print Quality Recovery Procedures (select your printer model):

HP DeskJet 3070A eAiO B611aHP DeskJet 3520 eAiOHP DeskJet 3521 eAiOHP DeskJet 3522 eAiOHP Officejet 4620 eAiOHP Officejet 4622 eAiOHP PhotoSmart 5510 eAiOHP PhotoSmart 5511 eAiOHP PhotoSmart 5512 eAiOHP PhotoSmart 5514 eAiOHP PhotoSmart 5515 eAiOHP PhotoSmart 5520 eAiOHP PhotoSmart 5522 eAiOHP PhotoSmart 5524 eAiOHP PhotoSmart 6510 eAiOHP PhotoSmart 5525 eAiOHP PhotoSmart 6512 eAiOHP PhotoSmart 6515 eAiOHP PhotoSmart 6520 eAiOHP PhotoSmart 6525 eAiOHP PhotoSmart 7510 eAiOHP PhotoSmart 7515 eAiOHP PhotoSmart 7520 eAiOHP PhotoSmart 7525 eAiOHP PhotoSmart All-in-One B010HP PhotoSmart All-in-One B109HP PhotoSmart All-in-One B110HP PhotoSmart eStation aAiO C510HP PhotoSmart Plus B210 eAiOHP PhotoSmart Plus B210a eAiOHP PhotoSmart Plus B210b eAiOHP PhotoSmart Plus B210c eAiOHP PhotoSmart Plus B210d eAiOHP PhotoSmart Plus B210e e-All-in-One, HP PhotoSmart Premium All-in-One – C309c, HP PhotoSmart Premium All-in-One – C309g, HP PhotoSmart Premium All-in-One – C310a, HP PhotoSmart Premium e-All-in-One – C310b, HP PhotoSmart Premium e-All-in-One – C310c, HP PhotoSmart Premium Fax All-in-One – C309a, HP PhotoSmart Premium Fax All-in-One – C410a, HP PhotoSmart Premium Touchsmart Web All-in-One – C309n

HP PhotoSmart C5300, HP PhotoSmart C5324, HP PhotoSmart C5370, HP PhotoSmart C5373, HP PhotoSmart C5380, HP PhotoSmart C5383, HP PhotoSmart C5388, HP PhotoSmart C5390, HP PhotoSmart C5393, HP PhotoSmart C6300, HP PhotoSmart C6324, HP Photosmart C6340, HP PhotoSmart C6350, HP PhotoSmart C6375, HP PhotoSmart C6380, HP PhotoSmart C6383, HP PhotoSmart C6388,

HP PhotoSmart B8550, HP PhotoSmart C6380, HP PhotoSmart D5400, HP PhotoSmart D5430, HP PhotoSmart D5445, HP PhotoSmart D5460, HP PhotoSmart D5463, HP PhotoSmart D5468, HP PhotoSmart D7500, HP PhotoSmart D7560, HP Photosmart Pro B8550, HP PhotoSmart Pro B8553, HP PhotoSmart Pro B8558

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