Covering The Do’s And The Don’ts of Self Maintenance

So many people want to protect their investment, but they go about it the wrong way. I want to cover a few things I’ve noted over my 20 plus years that are reoccurring themes.
DO NOT use Rubbing alcohol, normal solvents or all the other crazy concoctions people come up with. All those myths that rubber cleaner for your car’s tires is good for copier paper feed tires, is wrong! Not true! And yes, this does include not using just water. Water itself will dry out the rubber.
First, understand there are different types of rubber, and different types of rubber compounds. Secondly, some of today’s paper feed tires cannot be cleaned with chemicals at all. To do so would destroy the roller’s ability to last a very long time.
Let’s put this in the simplest terms, the more expensive the feed tire, the less you want to try and clean it! I know, sounds like a crazy rule, but the more expensive rubber tires are made of very delicate and perfectly balanced rubber compounds. Using ANY kind of cleaning solvent on it will cause it to become contaminated.
Here’s the “secret sauce” though for your basic paper feed tires – A combination mix of “Fedron and Ethyl Alcohol. – There’s many companies out there like RubberKleen, Martin Yale and others who make good cleaning products that are approved for your paper feed tires.  But, even the cleaner in the wrong hands can be a problem. Remember, only a light amount sprayed LIGHTLY onto the rag, NOT the roller and then rubbing gently to the sides making sure not to allow puddles of chemicals to soak into the rubber tire, is the proper cleaning method. Also, make sure your rags are non-lint cloths.
I personally LOVE the DuPont Sontara aerospace grade wipes! I wouldn’t use anything else! But, there are many other companies that make great disposable non-lint towels that can be used. Companies like: Horizon’s Total Wipes – Medium duty wiper, TekWipe by Allied Hygiene, KimTech’s KimWipes, Certek Lint Free Wipes, etc..
Honestly I have no idea how this MYTH ever got started but it is BAD, BAD, BAD!!! I know, the instructions on the replacement toner cartridge says “shake well”, but that’s only on certain cartridges, and that’s “definitely” before you remove the shipping tape and other pieces from around the cartridge before install. Once the cartridge is installed, NEVER take it out and shake it.

If we’re talking about a printer toner cartridge, that’s even worse. Let’s take a look inside of a normal printer’s toner cartridge that has a drum unit in there as well. It has a open reservoir where the toner is shifted through a trough with spade like blades. When you shake the cartridge, the toner leaves the hopper (trough) like area and goes right into the drum unit compartment. This destroys the drum and can cause the machine to have to work so hard to make a print that it can burn out the power board, main board of damage the motor that turns the drum in the cartridge.

The myth says, if its running low and a warning light comes on, SHAKE IT!! Not True! You can take the cartridge out and “GENTLY” tap the sides being sure to hold the toner cartridge completely horizontal, and that will shake loose any toner that might be stuck to the sides. However, turning the cartridge over or extending it beyond about a 35 degree tilt will potentially cause toner to spill into the drum area of the cartridge. 

So, you’ve done EVERYTHING exactly like you’re supposed to but the machine still has toner spilled everywhere. How do I clean it up?
First, let’s remember one thing, copier laser toner is “POWDER” plastic, so there is no need for you to add a liquid to clean it up. Adding a liquid makes a very serious mess! Instead, get a vacuum cleaner first. Preferably one with a super good filter as toner particles are very small. But, whatever you do, don’t attempt to use a broom or canned air for large formed spills. You send massive amounts of free floating toner particles into the air. These will carry for long distances and cause serious damage when they come to rest on valuable items and equipment. CONTAIN THE MESS! This is rule number one! If you have to sweep it up, do so with very slow and even sweeping strokes until you get the majority of it up. Then use dry paper towels or a vacuum to gather up the rest o fit. Any really tiny amounts left on tiled floors can be cleaned with a liquid cleaner and rag. However, if its a stain in the carpet, get a vacuum cleaner, like a shop vac with a brush tip on it and clean using circular brush motions.
If you need to clean the copier, there’s very special rags we use in the copier industry that are specifically designed to pick up toner. When you fully open these clothes and then stretch them, they create a kind of “static” charge that attracts the toner to the cloth. You DO NOT wet these cloths ever!! Instead, totally dry you wipe up the toner. You will be amazed at how these rags can look almost black and yet they will keep picking up more and more toner. I try and get my clients to always have at least one bag of these in their possession.
Chicopee Toner Cleaning Cloths. They’re worth their weight in gold! Probably explains why they come in yellow… 😉