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.
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).
- First of all remove the power cable from the printer and hold down START.
- Now re-insert the power cable with START still held down. Keep START held until “Please Wait” appears and then release.
- Your screen should now read MAINTENANCE.
- Type in 80 using the keypad on screen or the printers own numerical pad (if it has one).
- Using the on screen controls find the screen that has up and down buttons.
- 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.
- Enter 2, 7, 8 and 3 using the buttons on screen or the numerical pad.
- You should now see the numbers next to PURGE set to all zeros.
- 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.