My printer leaves black marks: Fix it with these 3 solutions

by Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things... read more
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my printer leaves black marks
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It is not entirely uncommon for laser printers to leave black marks on their printed output. Those black marks can be black lines along the left or right side of a document or black smudges on a page. Black lines and smudges can ruin printed output.

Black lines and smudges on printed output can be due to dirty printers. The accumulation of dirt, dust, or toner on a printer’s rollers or transfer belt can leave tracks on the page when the paper moves through the printer. Dirt on the rollers can also smudge toner on the printed output. Thus, cleaning laser printers, and their rollers especially, is one potential resolution for fixing black marks on pages.

A leaking toner cartridge can also be another big factor behind black roller marks left on the paper. That will leak toner onto the printer and paper, which leaves black marks on the printed output.

What causes black lines on paper when printing?

1. Clean the Laser Printer

  1. Try cleaning a laser printer that leaves black marks on printed output. To do so, turn the printer off at the wall first.
  2. Remove the toner cartridge as outlined within the printer’s manual.
  3. Wipe toner off the cartridge with a toner cloth.
  4. Then gently wipe inside the printer with a square toner cloth to wipe away excess toner and other dirt from its internal surfaces. Alternatively, users with toner vacuums can utilize those vacuums to clean inside their printers.toner vacuum my printer leaves black marks
  5. Wipe the printer’s rollers and transfer belt (if it has one) with a lint-free cloth.
  6. Users can also clean more intricate components, such as cables, with isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab.
  7. Thereafter, insert the toner cartridge back into the printer.
  8. Plug the printer back in, and then try printing again.

We’ve written extensively on printer inconsistencies. Check out these guides for more information.

2. Replace the Toner Cartridge

Some users might need to replace leaking toner cartridges when black marks show up on their printed pages. To check if the cartridge is leaking, remove it from the printer. Then place the cartridge on blank A4 paper. Shake or tap the cartridge a little to see if it emits toner onto the paper. If so, get a new toner cartridge and insert that into the printer.

toner my printer leaves black marks

3. Open the Printer Troubleshooter

  1. Windows 10 Printer troubleshooter might also shed some light on why a printer’s leaving black marks, and might even provide some resolutions. To open that troubleshooter, press the Windows key + S hotkey, which will open the search box.
  2. Input ‘troubleshooter’ as the search keyword, and then click Troubleshoot settings.The Troubleshoot tab my printer leaves black marks
  3. Click Printer in Settings.
  4. Press the Run this troubleshooter button to open the troubleshooter shown directly below.The Printer troubleshooter my printer leaves black marks
  5. Then select a printer to fix, and click the Next button. Go through the troubleshooting steps included within the troubleshooter.


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