January 25

How To Remove a Printer Paper Jam


If you are working with a printer at home or in your office, an occasional paper jam is unavoidable. It can be frustrating, yes, but it is also something you almost can’t do without. 

Of course, there are ways to reduce the occurrence of a paper jam, but then paper jams still happen. Let’s quickly run through why you may be having a paper jam issue. 

Why do I keep experiencing paper jams? 

Many factors come into play when you are working with your printer. There’s the printer itself, and there’s the paper. Between the two of them, a million things can go wrong, leading to a paper jam. Here are some of the most common causes of paper jams:

  • Inserting the paper the wrong way: Not adjusting the length on the paper tray properly can lead to a paper jam. Putting the paper in the wrong place can also lead to paper getting stuck. 
  • Sheets of paper getting stuck together: Multiple sheets of paper can get stuck together when you are arranging them in the input tray. The combined thickness of the sheets is too much for the printer to handle, so a paper jam occurs. 
  • Damaged printer rollers: Printer rollers were specially designed to roll paper into the printer from the input tray. If these rollers are damaged, they might not be able to roll-in paper effectively, thereby leading to a paper jam. 
  • Folded or rough paper: Your printer wasn’t created for rumpled or rough paper. If the paper is rough or folded, it will take more space, and won’t be able to move smoothly in the printer. 
  • Overloaded paper tray: Paper trays usually come with a marked line to show the maximum number of sheets that can go-in. Usually, the paper capacity of an average printer is 125 pages. If the paper capability is exceeded, the rollers will have trouble picking paper, and the paper will get stuck in the printer. 
  • Low-quality cartridges: When printer cartridges are of low quality, they often leave stray toner and ink. This not only leads to paper jam, but it also reduces the quality of output as well. 
  • Dirty Printer: When some part of the printer (eg. rollers) picks up and accumulates ink and dust, it becomes hard for the paper to move smoothly from the input to output point. 
  • Poor quality paper: Paper that is of low quality often has inconsistent thickness and caliper. This increases the frequency of paper jams. 
  • Wrong paper size and weight: Each printer has its paper specification. Using a paper of the wrong weight, size, and caliper can lead to frequent paper jams. 

How do I fix the paper jam in my printer? 

If you are working with a modern printer, you are very lucky, because your printer probably comes with a fancy little screen that tells you where the paper jam could have happened. 

Whether you have a modern printer or not, you can still get the paper jam fixed. 

Different brands of printers have different specific instructions, but you should be able to get the paper jam fixed by doing the following:

  • Turn off the printer, and disconnect cords:

To avoid risk from moving parts or even electric shock, ensure you turn-off your printer, remove its plug from the socket, and disconnect all cords attached to it. No matter the brand of printer, this is a very important step that must not be missed, as it is for your safety. 

  • Open both the entry and the exit of the paper path:

Right from when you place your paper on the input tray, there is a path the paper follows. If you are experiencing a paper jam, chances are that your paper is stuck somewhere in the path. To fix your paper jam, open all the doors leading to the paper path, so. You can easily see what went wrong when the paper was trying to travel from one end to another. 

  • Trace where the paper got stuck:

Now that the doors to the paper path are open, it doesn’t require any superpowers to find where the paper is. All you have to do is follow the path of the paper right from the input tray. 

  • Remove the stuck paper:

Now that you know where your paper got stuck, it’s time to remove it and get rid of your paper jam. Paper can get stuck at different points in your printer. In the next section, we’ll examine the three common places paper can get stuck and how to remove the paper there. 

Three common places paper can get stuck and how to remove paper there

  1. Main cover:

Sometimes, paper can get stuck beneath the main cover. To remove the paper from the main cover, you have to:

  • Carefully open the main cover.
  • Check the placement of the stuck paper. Can it be removed without tearing the paper? 
  • If it can be removed without a tear, hold the stuck paper firmly, and pull it out of the cover slowly. 
  • If tearing is inevitable, hold both ends of the paper tightly, and pull out at once. This is to ensure that even if paper tears, both pieces of the paper will be in your hands. 
  • Check if there are tiny pieces of paper left. If there are pieces, remove them carefully until no paper remains. 
  1. Toner/Ink cartridge:
  • Open the door. 
  • See if you need to move the cartridge to remove the paper. If you don’t need to move the cartridge, carefully remove the paper.
  • If the paper won’t come off, move the cartridge, then slowly remove the paper. 
  1. Input/ Output tray:

This is probably the easiest place to remove the stuck paper from. Pull out the input or output tray, then remove the stuck paper. 

Remember to fix all the components you’ve removed. Then, plug in your printer, reconnect all chords and your printer should be good to go.

Bottom Line

Paper jams often occur, so it is pertinent for you to be able to effectively fix it yourself, as you can’t call a professional every time paper gets stuck. 

If after the following steps the printer still doesn’t work, or the paper jam continues, call a professional.


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