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HP Color LaserJet 4500 and 4550 Series Printers - Toner Dusting, Toner Leaks, and Preventive Cleaning

Document number: bpl08083


Toner dusting occurs on the HP Color LaserJet 4500 and 4550 series printer. Under normal conditions, toner dusting will not cause print defects. The print cartridges will leak small amounts of toner during normal use as they rotate in the carousel. However, piles of toner indicate a leaking cartridge. HP recommends that users clean toner dust from the toner flap area and check the toner collection tray on a regular basis. This will prevent toner dusting or leaking from causing serious print quality and maintenance issues.

Checking and cleaning the toner collection tray

To check and clean the toner collection tray, perform the following steps:

  1. Open the back door of the printer.

  2. Remove the fuser.

  3. Remove the toner collection tray. The toner collection tray is a small black tray that sits directly behind the fuser. Figure 1 points to the black tab that must be pulled down to remove the tray.

  4. Look for piles of toner in the tray and below the tray in the feeder assembly.

    CAUTION: HP recommends using a closed container to store excess toner. Toner is very light and heat sensitive.

Figure 1: Looking at the waste toner collection tray after removing the fuser

1 - Black tab on the collection tray


Toner leaks

A toner leak occurs when the printer dumps a large amount of toner from the cartridge in a short amount of time. This issue is different than toner dusting and is usually due to a broken seal in the print cartridge. A distinct pile of toner in the toner collection tray indicates a toner leak.

HP recommends that customers check the toner collection tray on a regular basis. If users notice toner leaking early, it will not turn into a serious problem. If customer ignores the toner dumping and allow it to accumulate over time, the toner will eventually appear in the printing path and cause overt print quality issues. Moreover, cleaning and regular maintenance will lead to early detection of damaged cartridges.


Cleaning the printer and accessories

To maintain high print quality and performance, thoroughly clean the printer and the paper handling accessories:

  • Whenever the print cartridge is changed (run a few pages through afterwards).

  • After printing approximately 6,000 pages for cyan, magenta, and yellow (CMY) and 9,000 pages for black.

  • Whenever print quality problems occur.

Clean the printer with the cleaning cloth that is provided with the printer or with a lint-free cloth. Observe the warning and caution below.

WARNING: Before beginning these steps, turn off the printer and unplug all power cords to avoid shock hazard. Use caution when cleaning around the fusing assembly area - it may be hot.
CAUTION: To avoid permanent damage to the print cartridge, do not use ammonia-based cleaners on or around the printer. Do not touch the transfer roller. Skin oils on the roller can reduce print quality. If toner gets on clothing, wipe it off with a dry cloth and wash in cold water. Hot water sets toner into fabric.
Cleaning Method
Outside covers
Use a water-dampened cloth. Do not use solvents or ammonia-based cleaners.
Inside - general
With a dry, lint-free cloth, wipe any dust, spilled toner, and paper particles from the paper path area, the registration roller, and the print cartridge cavity.
Paper pickup, feed, and separation rollers
Use a water-dampened, lint-free cloth.
Separation pad
Use a dry, lint-free cloth
Registration roller
Use a dry, lint-free cloth.
Transfer roller
Use a dry, lint-free cloth. Do not touch the roller with fingers.
Use a water-dampened, lint-free cloth.
CAUTION: Do not use a regular vacuum cleaner to vacuum any spilled toner. Toner particles used in this product may be too fine for effective vacuuming and could result in damage to conventional vacuums. When cleaning spilled toner, use only a vacuum cleaner that is equipped with a micro-fine particle filter.


Contact HP?

If the issue is unresolved, click here to contact HP support ( and provide the following information:

  • Document number (bpl08083) used for troubleshooting and a brief problem description to assist HP support in resolving the issue.

  • Is the toner leaking in one color or multiple colors?

  • Is the toner leaking from a genuine HP print cartridge or from a non-HP cartridge? Click here for more information on non-HP cartridges.

  • Is toner leaking on the front or back side of the print jobs? (Leaking on the back side of the print jobs could indicate that the toner collection tray needs to be emptied).


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