On average, how much ink is wasted on cleaning the nozzles to keep them clear?


Starting with firmware 1.35, Canon claims reduced ink used for maintenance in the iPFX100 printers (which have the PF-03 printheads with teflon-like coating). Support for this claim comes from two posters to the Wiki:

  • Data in this thread in which one poster found an average of 0.35 ml per day for cleaning appear to support that claim.
  • A second poster, who had barely used his iPF6100 over a period of 16 months (but had turned it on a few times to do a very small amount of printing) used somewhat more, 0.81 ml per day. This was probably almost all with firmware before 1.35 (not sure), and was accounted for by long periods of having the printer off, then turned on again leading to a total of 6 strong cleanings compared to 2 from the first poster.

Conclusion: Leaving the printer OFF may be worse than leaving it on with firmware 1.35, as those strong cleanings eat up A LOT of ink (at least they did with firmware prior to 1.35).


We don't know for sure, but have data reported for the iPF5000 from two different low volume printing environments:

  • Tom Huxley reported approximately 2.9 ml ink per day used for cleaning when he left his iPF5000 in standby mode for 45 days. He got his data by carefully weighing the ink cartridges on an analytical balance before and after the 45 day period. His final report with firmware 1.25 is shown in the PDF file below:

  • John Hollenberg used a different method and came up with an average of approximately 2.4 ml per day ink used for cleaning over 307 days. He entered Service Mode and got the data from the Ink Counter about the total amount of ink that had been used by the printer. He then looked at the Purge Counter and found out how many cleanings of different types had been done. Estimates were made for the Initial Fill and Aging Cleanings (one time each). Finally, the estimated amount of ink used for printing (based on known number of square feet printed and estimated ml/square foot) was subtracted:

Total ink used - 1419.8 ml

Ink used for initial fill - estimated 40% of starter cartridges - 0.4 * 12 * 90 = 432 ml

Ink used for aging (after new head put in) - estimated 25 ml

Ink used for printing - 200 square feet * estimated 1.13 ml per square foot = 226 ml

Ink used for cleaning - 1419.8 - 432 - 226 - 25 = 736.8 ml

Number of days in service - 307

ml ink used for cleaning per day - 2.4

Cost of ink - 58 cents per ml

Cost per day - $1.39

Cost per month - $41.70

Here is a sample Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet with some estimated numbers plugged in to try to fit the known data. The amounts for various cleaning cycles are estimates/guesses. However, the overall conclusion is expected to be accurate, because the approximate amount of ink used for initial fill is known based on the amount of ink remaining shown on the GARO Status Monitor after the initial fill:

See also this thread.

Note: These low volume printing environments may not accurately show how much ink will be used for cleaning. If printer is used more frequently (say every other day) the absolute amount used for cleaning might be significantly lower.