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A Gray Toner Haze Permeates the Background of All Printed Pages

Document ID:SO1565
11/25/13 Properties  


Gray haze; Gray background; Grey haze; Grey background; Print quality issue; Dirty pages; Leaking toner


What you will see

Each of the printed pages appears to have a gray haze or film of toner on them. To locate the source of the problem, check each of the printer parts listed below.

Toner cartridge

Start by testing the toner cartridge. If you have an extra toner cartridge in stock, replace the current toner cartridge with a new one. NOTE: If you do not have an extra toner cartridge, yet you do have a working printer of the same model, then install the toner cartridge from the working printer into other one as a test to see if the issue continues.

Try printing 10 to 20 pages on the new toner cartridge. See if the issue begins to clear up.

If changing the toner cartridge has no effect on the issue, check the paper/media that you are printing on.

Check the paper/media used

If you are printing on any media other than plain copy paper, please try printing 10 to 20 pages on plain paper before continuing.

Certain specialty papers (like textured paper, cotton paper, pre-printed paper, and heavier weight paper), label stock, and card stock are more difficult for toner to adhere to correctly. This can increase the likelihood of print quality issues like this.

If you are printing on plain paper, make sure that the Paper Type setting on the tray is set to Plain Paper.

If the issue occurs when printing on plain copy paper, there are two rollers on the printer that you can check before seeking a service action. See below.

Charge roller

Examine the charge roller. Confirm it is not dirty or damaged. To locate the charge roller, follow the steps in the table below.




Power off the printer.


Open the front cover and remove the toner cartridge.


Locate the charge roller by looking into the printer and begin the act of closing the front cover. The charge roller is a tan-colored roller attached to the inside of the top cover. You should see the roller come down as you lower the top cover.


If the roller is damaged, it will need to be replaced.

If the roller is in good condition, take a clean dry cloth and clean any toner off the surface of this roller. Make sure to turn the roller and get the entire roller surface clean.

IMPORTANT! Try not to touch the charge roller with your bare hands. Touching it might accidentally leave any oil or other residue from your skin on the roller's surface.

IMPORTANT! The charge roller has a life expectancy of around 250,000 pages (90,000 pages for the Optra M series printers). If your printer is near or over this page count, or if the charge roller is a dull gray color instead of tan, it may be time to replace it. You can obtain the current page count by printing a menu settings page from the printer.


Transfer roller

The final part you can check is the transfer roller. This is a black, spongy roller that sits below the toner cartridge.

Step Action
  1 Confirm that the printer is off and the toner cartridge removed. If not, do so now.
  2 Locate the transfer roller. To find it, look into the printer along the bottom, below where the toner cartridge normally sits.
  3 Examine the condition of the transfer roller. If it is damaged, it will need to be replaced.

If the transfer roller is fine, gently wipe the surface with a clean dry cloth to see if the roller is dirty. If it is dirty, clean it off. Make sure to turn the transfer roller and clean the entire roller surface.

IMPORTANT! The surface of the transfer roller is not smooth like the charge roller. Therefore, be more gentle when wiping the transfer roller than you were with the charge roller, in order to avoid damaging it.

NOTE: An alternate method to cleaning the transfer roller is to reinstall the cartridge and power the printer on. Let the printer cycle itself and return to Ready. Once at Ready, power the printer off and then on again. Repeat this procedure two additional times. This will charge the transfer roller and help clean off any surface toner.

If the problem continues

If none of the suggestions above help to correct the issue, please contact Lexmark Technical Support.

When contacting Lexmark for assistance with your printer, please be prepared to describe the problem you are experiencing and any troubleshooting steps already taken. You will also need to know the printer's machine (model) type and serial number (SN). Find this information on labels located inside the upper front cover and on the back of the machine.

NOTE: If you call Lexmark Technical Support for assistance, please call from near the printer in case the technician on the phone asks you to perform a troubleshooting task on the printer.

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