If you have recently gotten a thermal printer, you’ll need to know that thermal printers require a variety of maintenance, especially if it is a label printer. While many brands are certainly high in quality, printers require many moving parts. To keep repair costs low, you need to prioritize printer maintenance.

Tip #1: Use the Cleaning Cards

Most printers come with cleaning cards that are meant to remove buildup and also oil the gears. For a thermal label printer, it also helps ensure that the feeding alignment is straight and free of debris. Over time, paper (and sticker) particles can clump together and affect effectiveness of the printer. If continually ignored, it will eventually jam up and need professional repair.

Tip #2: Clean Frequently!

If your company goes through multiple rolls of labels a day, prepare to be shocked… You should be cleaning your printer every time you put in a new roll of labels. With labels, you are exposing your printer to paper, plastic, wax, and adhesive particulates. In short, these particulates will make a mess if not cleaned out frequently!

Tip #3: Use Alcohol Wipes to Clean After Jams

If there is a printer jam, that means there is going to be a decent amount of paper dust and adhesive stuck in places that there normally should be. Wipe as much down as you can with an wipe and use a cleaning card afterwards. If this is not done after a jam, you are asking for a lot of trouble in the future with the adhesive sticking to the gears and the other parts.

You could get stuck with an expensive printer repair bill or needing to replace the entire system altogether.

Tip #4: Always Use Manufacturer-Brand Supplies

Sure, it may be cheaper to buy ribbon and labels from a company you’ve never heard of before, but, the money you save on the supplies will end up costing you more in repairs or part replacement. Improperly-sized labels or ribbon, even by a single tenth of a centimeter and end up being detrimental to the equipment.

Typically, manufacturers have frequent sales on equipment and supplies, so be sure to buy in bulk so that you can save money and not have to worry about buying off brand!

Tip #5: Read the Owner’s Manual!

The manufacturer provides it for a reason. There are likely tips about how to maintain your specific printer correctly. It may suggest going on a maintenance plan provided by the company or offer helpful tips on how to maintain it yourself. You will also find valuable information about your warranty, as well as what will void your warranty (such as getting repairs done through a non-approved technician).


You should make your thermal printer maintenance a priority if you want it to work for your long term. If you need support for Zebra label printers specifically, there is plenty of information available directly on the website. When trying to take care of your Zebra-brand label printer, but sure you:

  • Clean with cleaning cards, frequently (any time you change the roll)
  • Clean thoroughly after jams
  • Never buy off-brand supplies
  • Read the manual!

If you follow these steps, you are likely to see a long, inexpensive life for your thermal printer.