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2016-01-04T14:56:17+00:00

How to the Reset Purge Counter on a Brother Printer (With a Touchscreen)

How to the Reset Purge Counter on a Brother Printer (With a Touchscreen)

In this guide I am going to show you how to clear the ‘Machine Error 46: Unable to Clean’ error message on the majority of Brother inkjet printers that have a touchscreen. If your printer does not come with a touchpanel then please check out our other guides for printers that come with a numerical keypad and those that come without as the methods of clearing the message are different.

Before we start I would like to make you aware of the cause of this message and clarify why you are receiving it.

Why am I getting this error?

In order for your Brother to printer to offer you the best possible print quality it needs to perform regular print cleans to keep the many nozzles that make up the printhead fresh. In addition to the cleans you may have performed manually your printer will also perform small ones when the printer is turned on or even left idle for a while. When performing a clean ink is pushed through the printhead to flush out dried ink and stop the nozzles from clogging and as it is not going onto paper this ink has to go somewhere…

This place is the waste ink box or ink absorber which resides in the bottom of your printer and is essentially a large layer of sponge that is designed to soak up ink. As such this container has a finite life and will eventually become full. To estimate how full the waste ink tank is your printer keeps a track of how many pages have been printed and how many cleans have been performed. Once the printer believes the tank to be full the ‘Error 46: Unable to Clean’ error message will appear and prevent you for doing any further printing and potentially flooding your printer with waste ink.

A Brother service centre can get the purge counter reset on your behalf and replace the waste ink tank, but sadly this can be an expensive endeavour that potentially outweighs the value of the printer. Fortunately purge counters tend to overestimate how much ink is in the absorber and you can normally continue to use the printer without interruption for some time without issue.

As such we typically recommend simply resetting the counter and using the printer until you start to notice waste ink in/escaping from your printer.

Will this work on my printer?

The steps below are applicable to a variety of Brother inkjet printers with a tochscreen and have been confirmed on the printers below:

Brother DCP-J525W, DCP-J725DW, MFC-795CW, DCP-J925DW, MFC-990CW, DCP-6690CW, MFC-J5910DW, MFC-J825W and MFC-J6910DW.

If you have a printer with a touchscreen that is not listed above or find that this method works for your printer please let us know.

Video Guide

Counter Reset Instructions

Before you start running through the steps below please note that the names used to describe some of these buttons may vary from machine to machine. For example:

  • START may be down as MENU or SET on your printer or be a green button
  • STOP may be referred to as EXIT or a red button

These steps are written assuming that your printer is on, ready to print and any cards currently plugged into your media card centre have been removed (if applicable).

  1. First of all remove the power cable from the printer and hold down START.
  2. Now re-insert the power cable with START still held down. Keep START held until “Please Wait” appears and then release.
  3. Your screen should now read MAINTENANCE.
  4. Type in 80 using the keypad on screen or the printers own numerical pad (if it has one).
  5. Using the on screen controls find the screen that has up and down buttons.
  6. Use the up and down buttons to change the menu at the top of screen (where MAINTENANCE was) until it reads PURGE followed by a series of numbers.
  7. Enter 2, 7, 8 and 3 using the buttons on screen or the numerical pad.
  8. You should now see the numbers next to PURGE set to all zeros.
  9. Press STOP to return to normal operation.

Your purge counter is now reset and you should notice the error message is gone, allowing you to print once more. If the error message remains it would appear something has gone wrong with the reset procedure. In which case I would recommend going through these steps again taking great care to follow them exactly. If it persists please let us know.

I hope you have found this guide useful. If however you have anything to add or any further questions please don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments.


About the author

I have been involved in the printer industry since I was 18 and have been an employee of Refresh Cartridges since early 2009. I am a dedicated family man, gamer, music fan and friend to all. I write the majority of the content here on Igloo and am responsible for its upkeep.

Refresh Cartridges

88 comments

  1. Mike

    Thank You – Thank You – Thank you!! I have been refilling and have had the ink purge reservoir problem on another brother. This reset sequence is a lifesaver.

    Why is the OEM Brother ink so much better??

    Thanks again!!!

  2. Felipe S. Aritalla Jr.

    Sir can you help me.. i have a brother mfc-j6910dw printer.. it says ink absorber full.. i follow your instructions posted here but it wont get into maintenance mode.. is there another way to do it?? i cant print.. its the only printer that can print in A3 size paper i my shop.. pls..help.. many thanks..

    1. RefreshCarts

      How odd, this method should be just fine for your printer. I cannot make any guarantees, but it may be worth trying the guide for Brother printers with a numerical pad linked below:
      https://refreshcartridges.co.uk/igloo/how-to-t

      Please let me know how you get on.

      1. elijah

        it doesn't work with Brother DCP-J725DW… able to follow all instruction even the purge counter turned to 00000 upon rebooting it still indicate error46

        1. RefreshCarts

          Odd. In my experience error 46 relates specifically to the purge counter being full. If you are sure the counter was definitely reset I can only image something else is stopping your printer from cleaning. I would recommend getting in touch with Brother.

  3. Felipe S. Aritalla Jr.

    Got it working.. by chance i press menu in the touchscreen then * 2864.. many thnx.. its fine now.. now my probs in the printhead.. gotta buy a new one..

  4. julius

    it doesnt work on my brother dcp-6690cw..i tried your first step to go the maintenance mode but nothing happen..what should i do?

    1. RefreshCarts

      Very odd. As far as I am aware this should work for all brother printers with a touchscreen. If you are sure the process was followed exactly then I would advise the following method:

      -Hold down Menu/Set and the Black Start key before pressing the UP arrow four times.

      This is the only other Brother method of getting a printer without a fax into maintenance mode, so I am confident it will work for you. Please do let me know how you get on.

      1. melissa

        Hi, I too have the brother dcp-6690cw…I have tried all the steps with no luck and then found this additional info, only problem the printer does not have a menu/set button, the is a menu option on the touchpad but this does nothing either and I am still stuck…

  5. Penny

    Can you help, I have changed the cartridge on the dcp-j525W and it is still asking to change cartridge. What can I do to rectify this problem.

    1. RefreshCarts

      The Brother DCP-J525W looks for the physical presence of a cartridge and also towards a small transparent tab at the back of the cartridge. I would recommend removing the cartridge from the printer and checking there are no bubbles/debris in this small window (if you are using an original cartridge you will need to compress the beck section) and then reinstalling it slowly. If your printer still doesn't recognise it then try another cartridge.

  6. jennifer Smith

    Hi, Can you please help further. We have a Brother MFC 440CN, have followed everything in the book and your advice, but it will not let us remove the 'Unable to clean' and go into maintenance, therefore cannot get further than that. We have been trying all morning, so is there any other advice, please. it is a numerical printer. It is a printer used just at home.

    Many thanks.

  7. Marsha

    Hello again,

    I reread the instructions and actually checked out another website and realized I was not typing in the * before the numbers. After several attempts, I finally got it (I also noted I was on the wrong instruction page since I have a key pad) but the instructions are basically the same. Cleared the counter and am back inbusiness. Many thanks.

    1. RefreshCarts

      Thank Marsha. Delighted to hear you are up and running.

  8. Danishfay Liew

    my printer was working after reset but now again got problem on the black in was not in the quality. please assist how to A Adjust on the align.
    printer model mfc-j6250w Brother

    1. RefreshCarts

      Resetting the pruge counter will not do anything to help with print quality issues sadly. if the black ink is absent from your prints I would advise running any available cleaning cycles from your printer/printer software2-3 times. This will hopefully pull the black ink through for you.

  9. gemma lotok

    the problem that i've encounter with my dcp-j725dw brother printer was the color print is poor because they appear that the colored pictures is not clear even i press already the cleaning in color still the result is poor..please help me advice me what to do it almost 9 months since i purchase this unit….thanks and more power

  10. tom

    hi i have dcp-j725dw i got problem in cartridge can't detect cyan i brought new one but still can't detect can you help me? sir

  11. Kazi Zaid

    Just wanted to know is there any way to deep clean brother MFC-j625 please help soon

  12. Julian

    Great worked! I have MFC-6890CDW and held down 'Copy' button when restaring to get to maint' menu.

    1. Lisa

      Thanks for the tip! I have a MFC-J6910DW and couldn't get it to go to the maintenance screen using the "Start" button, but it worked using the "Copy" button. Also, when I pressed "Stop" at the end, it went back to the error screen; however, I unplugged / plugged the printer back in and it works perfectly now. Thank you!

  13. nyasha

    please help me on this one. my printer reads “clean unable 46, see troubleshooting and routine maintenance chapter in User’s guide”.. what do i do. its a brother MFC-260C

  14. Marty

    I just reset the counter on MFC-J835DW the method worked on first try!!! Thanks for your work and for sharing it.
    You may also update the list of printers.

  15. Faith

    Hi my printer DCP-330C keeps reading " unable to print error 46" What do I do Pleaaaaase! Faith.

  16. Oxo

    This guide / post work for my Brother MFC-J6910DW. To enter maintenance mode just press “menu” in the touchscreen then press * 2864 on the numeric pad and follow above instructions.

    Many thanks for your effort and for sharing your awesome skills to us.

  17. edward devera

    brother j725 unable to init error,, help pls.. tnx

    1. RefreshCarts

      "Unable to Init" generally indicates a mechanical error within your printer and this guide will not resolve the issue. I would recommend getting in touch with Brother or a printer technician in this instance.

  18. Rose

    Sir please help me… My printer MFC – J220. I haveset the purge count to zero but it is still keeps reading "unable to Init 4F" what should I do, please help sir. Many thanks. Rose

  19. FRANKLIN

    BROTHER DCP-6690CW UNABLE T
    O PRINT 50

  20. DEBRA

    MANY THANKS !!!!

  21. Diana Avila

    I have a brother mfc j4510dw with touchscreen, without numerical pad, Error message : "ink absorber near full". Help me, please!!!

  22. herman friesen

    I have an MFC-990CW. It keeps giving me error 5. I have followed the instructions but it never goes into maintenance mode. Error 5 = can't clean cartriges

  23. saqib

    hello i have brother mfc-j4710dw i buy just two days ago from online shop and printer is in dutch language i want to change language to english please help me me any body if possible thank you

  24. saqib

    hello my printer is brother mfc-j4710dw i want to change language from dutch to english if some one can help me thanks in advance

  25. peter

    my printer is a DCP6690cw.
    if i try to go to the maint-mode your description doesnt work. i tried it with the green start button and put in the power cable again. but it does not work.
    the other way with the menu button and the monostart also doesnt work, because in the second i push the monostart button the printer starts to copyying.
    please can you help me???
    with my other printer (mfc-j6510dw) there was no problem to go into the maintmode with this way.

  26. alona

    thanks for your video

  27. Macrotech

    my printer is a DCP6690cw. it has a error code is "unable to clean error code is 46"
    if i try to go to the maint-mode your description doesnt work. i tried it with the green start button and put in the power cable again. but it does not work.
    the other way with the menu button and the monostart also doesnt work, because in the second i push the monostart button the printer starts to copyying.
    please can you help me??? please

    1. Guest

      hello, do you have got any answer, because i have the same problem. if you know now how you make it please can you send me some tip.

      1. rabieh

        i have the same printer … use the button copy press and hold on it then plug in your printer .. then use mono and colour buttons as up and down arows …

  28. WarrenHuck

    I have a Brother MFC-795CW and the message is "unable to Init. 4F"
    I tried to do your reset but it would not let me into the maintenance menu.

    1. roger

      i have no access either in the same printer model but the standard 46 message

  29. Julie

    I have a brother dcp J525W
    the colour ink level was low then empty, the printer asked me to change the ink, which I did, I put brand new ink for the 3 colour from the original brand and it still says that the ink is empty and it doesn't want to print any more.
    What can I do.

    I tried to purge as well, everything went well except when I press the stop button, it goes back to maintenance and stay stuck on it.
    I have to unplug and plug back the printer to go to the general menu.
    The number of the purge is 0 but the error with the ink is still there.

    I cannot clean the printer, I cannot do anything with it.

    I hope that somebody can help me ???
    Thanks

    Thanks a lot

  30. Rodrigo

    Hi, i have a brother 870dw with no buttons (only on-off)
    anyone know how to do the printer reset purge with this model?

  31. shane

    how do l reset a purge counter on a brother MFC 255CW printer

  32. MVieira

    hi
    Anyone know how to reset the MFC J6520DW printer
    Thank you

    1. Derek

      1) Settings
      2)All Settings
      3) Scroll Down until 'Initial Setup" is seen.
      4) Scroll down until you see "Reset"
      5) Tap Machine Reset button

  33. coolcats

    Hello…
    can i ask a question?
    how to make POWER CLEANING in BROTHER DCP-6690CW?
    Thanks a lot

  34. COOLCATS

    BROTHER DCP-6690CW HOW TO MAKE A POWER CLEANING OR POWER INK CHARGING??

  35. Richard

    Hi.
    I am struggling to get a MFC-J6920DW into service mode. The methods shown here do not work on this machine. i was hoping you may know how to get this particular machine to service mode. No one else seems to have any idea.
    The machine has a touch screen buttons but no up or down arrows. There is no menu button as such either. The only actual button on the machine is the power button. The number pad is a pressure pad but is only obviously active in Fax or Copy mode. The only time a Start button is available is also in Fax or Copy Mode with an OK button in Scan mode.

    1. Gary

      I realize this post is years old, but in case someone like me wants to know how to do this on a MFC-J6920DW, here it is: Power on. With unit in normal mode, swipe left on screen to move to page 2, so that the Home button lights up. Press and hold the Home button for several seconds until the machine info screen (Serial number. Rom version, Print page…) appears. Press and hold the empty item line below the Print page line. This is now in Maintenance Mode.

      1. valere

        that worked, thanks

  36. violet

    hello fow do you reset the purge counter on a mfc-j4510dw only has power button. it is a touch screen

    1. Herman

      I just found this for your printer 😉

      1.- Swipe the main screen fron right to left and you'll see a "house icon" that shows
      2.- Press the icon a few seconds until a new menu appears
      3.- In the new menu press the last (at the very bottom) blank row until another menu appears
      4.- Type *2864 in the numeric keypad at your right side, you'll hear a beep. Here shows "maintenance" or "error #46"
      5.- Type 80 in the numeric keypad
      6.-Push the arrow to the right ( » ) until you see appear "copy" over "ink" butttons
      7.- Push the arrow up (over copy button) until "purge" appears at the top
      8.-Type 2783 in the keypad at your right side (tou'll hear a beep)
      9.- "Maintenance" shows at the top
      10.- Type 99 in the keypad and the printer will restart.

      That's it

      here's a you tube video spanish spoken
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FClSUZN0fY0

      1. Violet

        Thank you
        it worked. its did not reset it completely but I am able to print again. I say ink absorber Near full.

  37. Diego

    Hi all, I have a MFC-J4510 printer and the message is "ink absorber full". How could I do to reset this counter? any idea?

    Thank you!

  38. Richard

    Back again.
    New Problem.
    MFC-J4510DW
    Ink Absorber almost full message.
    I put the machine into service mode. Cleared the Purge Counter. Exit service mode and message still comes up.
    Tried a factory reset also to no avail.
    Any suggestions to clear the message?

    1. Kevinm

      Hi Richard,

      I have the same machine. Please could you tell me / give me instructions on how toc get the machine into service mode and then to clear the purge counter.

      Many thanks

      Kevin

  39. vinod

    MFC-J220
    Vow it Worked Thanks !!

  40. Francisco J.

    Hello. I do not speak English and I am translating with Google. I write to ask how to change the language of my Brother MFC-J6910DW. I bought it and it comes with the German language (country: 0003) and on the regular menu, there isn´t the option to change the language. I managed to enter the maintenance menu with your video. I await your response. Thank you very much.

  41. ameer

    hello dear
    my printer have a problem . on screen have a massege wrote ( unable to clean 50 ) what can i do? please

  42. Alex Teo

    my printer Brother MFC-J870DW does not comes with start, stop, menu, exit and set buttons. It comes with a on/off push button only, the rest are on led screen. Please advise, thank you

  43. Howardf

    How can I get my MFC J6910DW printer to accept a new black cartridge – I am using good quality compatibles, and it has not malfunctioned before when installing a new one, but now refuses to recognise the black one.

  44. sharon

    Hello,
    I have "Unable to clean 46" displayed on my printer, and have tried the power cord remove etc… but with my Brother MFC790CW (touchscreen) this method does not work (I find no maintenance screen) I only have menu, stop, start (mono, colour). Can anyone suggest anything before I throw my old favourite in the bin?

    1. Roger

      See my reply to Amit Arora .

  45. Mark

    Hello, I have MFC-J6720DW and the instruction above does not work from start. Machine does not go into maintenance mode.
    I appreciate if you could help me and drop me line on marravon@online.no

    Thanks, Mark

  46. Charlee Richards

    Violet, thank you SO much. Worked like a charm. I love this site. It has helped me on mega problems.

    Charlee

    Richards

    1. Brad

      The MAINTENANCE screen never came up after unplugging and plugging in while holding the start button….Any thoughts?

  47. Brad

    Sorry, the printer is a Brother MFC- J6910DW

  48. Michael Kent

    Do you have a fix forJ412odw. Your advice will be appreciaed

  49. fadi

    I get a unable to clean f4 message , I opened the printer cleaned all heads and ink storage and the wate tank is half full but still get the message I tried to reset the purge it did not work went to main page , its brother mfc-990 before I had the message unable to print f4 but know I get unable to clean f4 …thanks even I installed new cartridge .

  50. firminio savioli

    Good morning, my name is Firminio and I have a MFC-J6910DW. Unfortunately, the signs are not compatible with this model. The printer does not recognize the black, even with the original cartridge. The display shows: Unable to detect .. slowly reinstall BK black ..

  51. gorda

    Bravisimo et merci thank so much for your help !!!!!!

  52. Amit Arora

    I have reset the page count by setting purge to Zero but the printer mfc-j 4410dw, stll says ink absorber full. Please help

    1. Filip

      same here 🙁

    2. Red

      Same problem. On the mfc-j4410DW, the sequence to get into maintenance mode is entirely different than what is spelled out here, but the general idea is the same. I found a YouTube video that demonstrated the steps.

      I was able to reset the counts, but I still have the warning message displayed, and I don't know if eventually if will prevent me from printing or cleaning.

      1. With the printer on, hold down the HOME key (it will not be lighted, but it WILL eventually respond). Hold it down until the LCD screen switches to a black and white text page with an empty area at the bottom.

      2. Hold your finger on that empty area at the bottom (on the LCD) until it goes all white. Then the LCD will show a numerica keypad.

      3. Use the left scroll button on the LCD keypad (not the big main numeric keypad at the right of the control panel)
      to get to a page that has SCAN COPY PCC LNK

      4. Enter *2864 It will chime

      5. Enter 80

      6. Now use the up arrow on that LCD to get to "Purge"

      7. Enter 2783 (no "*" this time)

      8. Repeat the above and get to "Sen_Purge", then 2783

      9. Now hit 99 on the main button panel over to the right.

      The printer will restart.
      The counts will be 0000 (if you go back into maintenance mode and check them).

      But the warning message is still displayed
      -==

    3. Roger

      On a Brother MFC-795CW with touch screen the following worked. Menu then *, 2, 8, 6 and 4. Once Maintenance starts then 8, and 0. Then Scan repeatedly until Purge count appears (and subsequently Flush, and Error 01_46) then 2, 7, 8, and 3 to reset each. Final to exit do Stop/Exit (returning to Maintenance) then 9, 9. Done.

      I would like to know how to change the Absorber?

  53. David Tatum-Hume

    Has anyone purged an MFC-5840 please

  54. Viorel

    Hello! I have a printer Brother MFC-J6920 and I had a ERROR 46 and on screen is displayed INK ABSORBER FULL . I tried to reset PURGE count, and this became 0000 , but the error is still displayed. Could someone help? Thank you.

  55. Tom Downey

    Dear Sirs,

    I have a Brother MFC-295C with touchscreen

    The error message is Init Unable 4F, which I assume is the ink absorber box/ counter reset issue.

    The manual lists a reset as follows, but I'm sure if this is the reset in question:

    How to reset the machineaPress Menu, 0, 7.bPress a or b to choose the reset youwant.Press OK.cPress 1 to reset the machine or press 2to exit from the reset function.

    Whatever, pressing Menu then 0 then 7 simply brings up a fax number.

    I've tried your Counter Reset Procedure without success.

    Could you please advise?

    Tom D

    1. RefreshCarts

      Sadly the "Unable to Init 4F" message is sadly a very different issue than the one covered here. "Unable to Init" generally indicates a mechanical error within your printer and this guide will not resolve the issue. I would recommend getting in touch with Brother or a printer technician in this instance.

  56. Jhea

    hi, the ink absorber full message still appears on my mfc j285dw. How could I reset this?

  57. Tom

    Any way to purge a MFC-J4620DW

  58. Dianne M

    I have successfully purged the counters using your Maintenance tips, however, the ;problem still remains.

    The screen says no Cartridge (black) even though there is a cartridge installed with ink. I recently bought and installed one of the Brother large black cartridges and it was working fine. My printer recently became disconnected from my laptop and after reinstalling the printer wirelessly I seem to have this problem. The printer is not working at all.

  59. Brent Wahlstrom

    How about Brother MFC-J875DW printer? How do I get into maintenance mode? My first error was “enable to clean 50” or “unable to print 50”.

  60. PANCLUS

    Am Panclus Ogori, Kenyan aged 23, am so interested to know to do maintenance and services for Brother printers since where i am there are Brother printers i also have three of them and they are nice to me, friendly indeed. have urged so many people to buy them buy when it reached a time they require some service or an error, it becomes hard for us to do away with them.

    just requesting if you may teach me how to the service to grow up with the generation of Brother Printers.

    Hope my strong passion and humble request you may take it with me.

    Thanks in advance and awaiting to here from you.

  61. roland

    hi i have a mfc-j625dw purge is alredy at zero but still i receive error46 or ink asorber full pls help thank you very much

  62. roland

    hi im roland i have a mfc-j625dw i the purge is already at zero but still i receive error46

    how do i do this clear this message…

    thank you hope your response and help …

  63. BobW

    My MFC-J825W does not get to “Maintenance” stage

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