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Error "unable to clean" on Brother MFC

 
MAJ 13/11/15
Here is the procedure to solve error message "unable to clean" on Brother inkjet printers:

Solution:
  • Machine off
  • Switch on the machine while holding down the “menu”button until all the leds are flashing on/off. Now you are in “maintenance” mode.
  • Press 80
  • Press the “mono start” button several times until you see “purge: xxxx”
  • Press “2783” in order to reset the purge counter. You will see: “purge:0000”
  • Press the "stop" button.
  • Press “99” to exit the maintenance mode.

See also: Error 46 on Brother printers

If you want to replace the absorber box:

Comments

extra said…
Yes! Many Thanks
Pierre-Yves said…
Wow ! It totally worked ! Thanks
Mircea Ţuglea said…
Works exactly how you said! Thanks!
elminz said…
My mfc-410cn came up with this message and made a sort of grinding noise while trying to clean. I followed the instructions above and it worked immediately after. Thanks for the help!
JP said…
Worked for me too! You're a lifesaver. Thanks soooo much. Any suggestions as to how to keep this monster from cleaning all the time?
meeep said…
is this for all MFC brother printers or just some? i have the MFC-425CN printer and it doesnt seem to be working, any suggestions?
LEH said…
Hi meeep,

Reset for MFC-425CN here:
http://fix-your-printer.blogspot.com/2011/12/brother-mfc-425cn-printer.html
Asad Ilyas said…
i tried many things for Brother MFC795CW but the error went from "unable to clean 46" to "unable to initialize 46"

help would be greatly appreciated on this one
roibar said…
amazing
was very helpfull!!!
roibar said…
amazing it was very helpfull
Vasu said…
Many Thanks! It works.
Barbara said…
Awesome!! worked perfectly!
Gary Davis said…
This fix was awsome, so simple, and so effective.. I thought I was going to have to buy another printer, this one (MFC620) has been so reliable, and the error "Unable to Clean" instruction in the manual does not mention the cause of the problem, it tells you to clean out clips or bits of paper in the machine... Many thanks it now works perfectly. Gary
淞×Water Pine said…
Thank you so much! It works perfectly! Thanks!! :D
Unknown said…
i tried this solution 2 times for Brother MFC5890CN but nothing happens..the "UNABLE TO CLEAN 5A" is still there..

any other suggestion please.....hope you can help me...thanks a lot
Gail said…
Thank you for posting this extremely helpful tip - it worked great for me! I thought I'd have to pay to have the printer serviced or get a new one, and I just replaced all the printer cartridges (around $60). It's funny how many people left comments during the wee hours of the morning...I was getting ready to call Brother support later today before I googled the error message and got this. I'm back in business, thanks to you! I really appreciate it!
jurassic said…
yeah worked perrrrfectly
thankyou from saving me buying a new printer
nera89 said…
Awsome! I feel like a magician. Thanks so much!
aadaca said…
portsec Worked a treat, thanks so much. (Otherwise my MFC640 would have been heading binward!)
Jamal Theodore said…
Worked for me for the MFC-420CN when getting the "Unable to clean" error message.
This comment has been removed by the author.
james said…
Thank yo for the info! unlocked my printer so i could get it going again!
Anonymous said…
you certainly know your stuff worked a treat THANKS
SPARKY said…
Great job many THANKS
Anonymous said…
Worked! Much better than buying a new printer. Thanks so much!
Anonymous said…
Excellent, fixed my Brother 210
Anonymous said…
thanks - fixed my mfc-410cn exactly as stated
differentspin said…
Worked great on my Brother DCP-340CW. Since this model doesn't have a numeric keypad, I used the up and down arrows to compose the digits that were mentioned in the instructions.
Anonymous said…
It worked on my DCP-115C !
Anonymous said…
worked on our MFC-420CN. Glad I googled 'Unable to Clean' after Brother's troubleshooter said, "you need to take it to a shop for fixing"
and gave me a phone # of one.
Anonymous said…
Thanks so much! That worked great!
Anonymous said…
Amazing. Worked perfectly. MFC420CN.
Anonymous said…
Thanks!!! Worked for me too!! Really appreciate it :)
Anonymous said…
great!
Anonymous said…
OMG!!!It actually worked!Thank you so much!!!!:D
Anonymous said…
Thank you! It worked!
Anonymous said…
Still working, much thanks!
Anonymous said…
Great solution worked for my MFC 640 CW. Thanks for sharing. It saved me $100
Anonymous said…
OK...that was really bizarre, and it really worked. I'm impressed & thank you.
Anonymous said…
you legend, everyone in the family is gonna be stoked that I (their teenage daughter) fixed the printer haha cheers! :D
Anonymous said…
You saved my printer! Many Thanks!!
Anonymous said…
Worked perfectly...thank you so much!
Lovlee Libra said…
OMG! Perfection!...I tried a few other methods that I saw online to no avail. I sure am glad I found this site!!! Many thanks!
Anonymous said…
Did not work on my 390CW :(
Colin Ritchie said…
Owners manual was no help at all but this worked first go...thanks heaps.
Amit Patel said…
Yes! Bro Thank you . its work .i really thank full to get the tips from you .
GWhiskey said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
Thank you for the simplistic notes on how to exit the Error as stated.
You made it so easy.
JULIA said…
Brilliant, fixed THANK YOU!!!
Anonymous said…
YES it worked, we moved and had stored our printer for 4 months, it was giving the can't clean error. This worked 1st go, thanks so much.
Anonymous said…
hi this didnt fix the problem for me im still getting the clean76 error can you help me try something else
Jann Lassalle said…
Hi

What is your printer model for error 76 ?
Anonymous said…
Works on the 2nd attempt with my mfc425cn. On the 1st one I couldn't enter maintenance mode. For the 2nd , instead of the soft power key I used ... the plug. Excellent, thanks a lot.
Cara LeBlanc said…
Tried this four times and didn't work.
Anonymous said…
Worked perfectly! Thanks!
Anonymous said…
Looked like it was working, but then the same error message came up again. UGH!
Anonymous said…
Thank you, it worked. Saved some bucks!
romina ramos said…
Did not worked on my MFC J220, any suggestion please...
i need to fix this ASAP for my childrens homework to be print.
Thanks in advance...
Anonymous said…
It did work with my printer, many thanks
Anonymous said…
a million thanks to you.... it works.....god bless.
SAGAR said…
No bro...
Didnt Work for MFC-J415W

Still showing the Error - Unable to Clean5A
Open the back cover... Remove the jammed paper..

I am getting this error on screen
Jann Lassalle said…
Hi Sagar,

Unable to clean 5A means "abnormal stop of pump in the maintenance unit".

Remove foreign materials and, if necessary, replace the PF encoder disc and clean the flushing guide.

If the problem persist, a part is defective (PF encoder, ink refill assy, paper feed motor, maintenance unit, etc...)
Cathy Beaver said…
I was ready to throw the printer out in the trash. after following your instructions, I can once again print. is there an idea why this happens? your instructions were simple and effective. although I did get an error that a driver device wasn't installed properly while I was doing your instructions? thanks 100 %
Nancy Mulvey said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy Mulvey said…
Did NOT work for my MFC 420 CN. Couldn't even turn the printer off.
Unknown said…
Didn't work on our MFC J220 :( Any more suggestions to around this? I've read in another post that if the code error is 50, it means servicing is required on the machine. Any help will be appreciated...thanks.
Anonymous said…
Worked perfectly on my MFC 440CN and thank you so much for the advice. Was either going to get an engineer to fix the problem or throw the printer away but now sorted. Thanks again
teresa o connor said…
did not work on my MFC660CN ERROR 30 AND ERROR 50 WHAT CAN I TRY NOW EMAIL ME ON tadoc18@hotmail.com Teresa
teresa o connor said…
i would really like help with this error on my printer it was working perfect then this error 30 and error 50 appeared on my screen
Jann Lassalle said…
Hi Teresa,

Try this:
http://fix-your-printer.blogspot.fr/2011/09/unable-to-print-50-and-unable-to-print.html
Carolyn said…
Did not work on my MFCJ265W. Everything worked ok throughout the procedure until I pressed the stop key which is the 2nd last step. Nothing further happened so could not get the printer to return to maintenance mode. Still have the Unable to clean 4F error message. I'm about to throw the printer out the window!
Jann Lassalle said…
Hi Carolyn,

The error 4F is a problème of the printhead. Infortunately, a part is defective: the carriage assy, the carriage unit, the main PCB...
F. Brandão said…
It does not work with MFC-660CN.
The procedure is not valid.
Enrique Sapelli said…
FUNCIONO OKI EN MI MFC-215C

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