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The toner on my printout is not fixed or toner marks appear on my printed page


  • EPSON colour and monolaser printers
  • Smudge marks on the page
  • Toner not fixing or adhering correctly to the page and brushing off


If the toner on your printouts smudges or brushes off, or toner marks appear on the printed page, then the issue may be related to your fuser unit, printer settings, media or consumables. This article explains how to identify and resolve these issues with EPSON colour laser and monolaser printers. Images depict colour prints.

  1. Examples of print quality problems indicating a fusing issue (click on an image for an enlarged version).

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    Figure 1 Figure 2

    The print may be mottled and show roller marks, as in Figure 1, or it may not be fixed on the page, and be easily brushed off or smudged (Figure 2). The image may be missing in some areas of the page and appearing in other areas instead. There may be also be toner marks on the paper:

    The distance (in the paper feeding direction) between the marks on the page, or the area where toner is missing and the area where it appears, is known as the pitch. If the pitch corresponds to the entry or entries in the table below for your printer, the issue is related to the fuser unit:

    Printer model(s) Pitch
    AcuLaser C1100, AcuLaser C2800N, AcuLaser C3800N, AcuLaser C4200DN, AcuLaser C9300, AcuLaser CX11N, AcuLaser CX21N, AcuLaser CX28N 83mm or 95mm
    AcuLaser CX16, AcuLaser C1600 75mm or 94mm
    AcuLaser CX17 67mm
    AcuLaser CX29, AcuLaser C2900 63mm or 67mm
    AcuLaser C1000, AcuLaser C2000 35mm or 204mm
    AcuLaser C1700, AcuLaser C1750W 67mm
    AcuLaser C900, AcuLaser C1900 113mm or 115mm
    AcuLaser 2600N, AcuLaser C2600N 108mm or 111mm
    AcuLaser C3000, AcuLaser C4000, AcuLaser C4100 82mm
    AcuLaser C8500, AcuLaser C8600 135mm or 140mm
    AcuLaser C3900N, AcuLaser C9100 84mm
    AcuLaser C9200N 117mm or 126mm
    AcuLaser M1200 75mm or 95mm
    AcuLaser M2000D, AcuLaser M2300, AcuLaser M2400, AcuLaser MX20 73mm or 79mm
    AcuLaser M4000N, AcuLaser M8000N, EPL-N2550, EPL-N3000 79mm or 95mm
    EPL-N2700, EPL-N2750 94mm
    EPL-N7000 88mm or 94mm
    EPL-N2050, EPL-N2050+ 61mm or 62mm
    EPL-5700, EPL-5700L, EPL-5800, EPL-5800L, EPL-5900, EPL-5900L, EPL-6100, EPL-6100L 63mm or 68mm
    EPL-6200, EPL-6200L 75mm or 95mm
    WorkForce AL-MX200, AL-M200, AcuLaser M1400, AcuLaser MX14 68mm
    WorkForce AL-C500DN 98mm

  2. Check that you are using suitable media, with the correct settings.

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    a. Supported paper types

    1. All paper, including labels, must be suitable for a laser printer or plain paper copier. All sheets of paper must also be properly separated, non-perforated and free of tears and staples or other foreign objects. Carbon, thermal or pressure-sensitive paper is NOT suitable.

    2. Inkjet paper, especially photographic or glossy media, is not formulated to withstand the heat of a hot fuser unit and can jam or even melt inside the printer.

    3. Recycled paper should only be used under normal temperature and humidity conditions. Poor quality paper may reduce print quality, or cause paper jams and other problems.

    4. Letterheaded paper: the paper and ink used in letterheads must be compatible with laser printer. Ensure that you load the paper in an appropriate paper tray and use the correct print setting (see 'Using the Right Settings').

    5. Epson laser paper is recommended to maximise the reliability and print performance of your printer. We manufacture general purpose, coated and transparent laser media.

    6. Paper must be within specification. Using media outside specification may cause print quality issues and/or damage to your printer.

      • You can find the full specifications for your printer on the Epson website.

    7. Envelopes

      • Envelopes must not have plastic windows as these are liable to melt inside the printer. They should also not contain glue or adhesive tape.

      • Standard supported envelope sizes are IB5, C6, MON, C10, DL and C5. All envelopes must be loaded in the MP Tray. See your user guide for printing instructions.

      • Envelopes may wrinkle as they pass through the printer. This is dependent on the quality of the paper, the printing environment and other factors. We recommend making a trial print run prior to embarking on a large print job.

    8. Labels

      Labels must be loaded in the MP Tray only and may need to be fed one sheet at a time, or loaded manually.

      • To prevent the label adhesive coming into contact with printer parts always use labels that completely cover the backing sheet, so that there are no gaps between the individual labels.

      • Press a sheet of normal paper on top of each sheet of labels. If the paper sticks, do not use those labels in the printer as they will be liable to peel off inside it.

      • It is important to use a Label or Thick setting to further reduce the risk of labels peeling off inside the printer (see 'Using the Right Settings').

      • Labels may wrinkle as they pass through the printer. This is dependent on the quality of the paper, the printing environment and other factors.

        We recommend making a trial print run prior to embarking on a large print job.

    b. Using the right settings

    Using unsuitable paper settings may cause jams in your printer and, over time, damage it due to excess wear on the paper mechanisms. This is a common cause of paper feed issues.

    1. Establish the correct paper type and paper tray for the paper you are using, according to the information in your printer's user manual. The following table is a guide only:

      Paper Type Weight Range Load Paper In
      Plain paper 64 to 80 g/m2 Any paper tray
      Semi-thick 81 to 105 g/m2 Any paper tray if Epson media, otherwise MP Tray
      Thick 106 to 163 g/m2 MP Tray Only
      Extra thick 164 to 210 g/m2 MP Tray Only
      Coated 105 to 210 g/m2 MP Tray Only

      The weight should be noted on your paper's packaging. If unsure, check with your supplier.

    2. Before sending the print job, set the paper type correctly in your application settings.

    c. Loading paper

    • Paper may need to be loaded with the printable side facing up or facing down, depending on the paper tray you are using. Please refer to the user guide for your printer.

    • Always load paper short-edge first, regardless of the orientation you are using (portrait or landscape).

    • Fan the paper before you load it to ensure that the sheets are separated.

      • Fresh reams of paper may not be separated properly, and some types of paper are susceptible to static electricity. If sheets of paper stick together then the printer may feed through too many pages at once, which is likely to damage the printer.

    • Ensure that the paper tray paper guide is set to the correct size, and is holding the paper in place without pinching or bunching it:

      Figure 5. Adjusting the MP Tray paper guide (AcuLaser C1100 pictured).

    • Do not overfill the paper tray(s).

    d. Environment and paper storage

    • Ensure that the printer is on a flat and level surface, and leave enough space for the paper to exit fully from the printer.

    • Do not store paper in a humid or damp environment.

      Using paper that has become moist, wavy or is curling is likely to cause print quality and paper feed issues, or damage the printer. Use fresh paper instead.

  3. Using non-genuine toner cartridges may cause print quality issues.

    • We recommend using genuine Epson toner cartridge. Using non-genuine consumable products may affect the operation of your printer. In particular, experience shows that non-genuine toner is often sticky, and can cause paper feed and print quality issues.

    • Epson are not liable for any damages or problems arising from the use of consumable products not manufactured or approved by Epson.

  4. Check the fuser unit for any foreign objects or other obstructions. See your user guide for assistance with this step.

    When the printer has been in use, the fuser unit and surrounding areas may be very hot. Wait 20 minutes or more for the fuser unit to cool down, and take care not to touch the fuser rollers themselves. Further safety and troubleshooting information can be found in your user guide, available from the Epson website.

  5. Run blank pages through the printer.

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    1. Print a set of 10 blank pages on 80gm2 paper. This may remove any excess toner that could be in the fuser unit.

    2. Compare the first sheet to the last to see if there is any improvement, and look at the back of the pages. Marks on the back of the paper indicate toner in the fuser unit.

    3. If the issue improves, print another one or two sets of blank pages.

  6. If the issue remains, contact Epson for further advice.

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