The dirt on scanners

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Reader David Scott is faced with a dirty scanner. He writes:

I enjoyed seeing Macworld’s article about scanning old photos. As a longtime user of a 30-year-old Olympus SLR, I have tons of photos I’d like to digitize. When I have tried scanning prints with my HP Officejet 6110 all-in-one, I get messy streaks running down the middle of the image. The streaks are on the underside of the scanner glass, so no amount of window cleaner can get them off. I have a similar problem with my scanner at work. Do you know any magic tricks for getting rid of said streaks? Or an explanation for why many scanners have this problem?

It’s the nature of the beast, I’m afraid. Dust and gunk (some of that gunk generated by the mechanism inside the scanner) will find its way onto the underside of the scanner glass. The trick to getting rid of these streaks is figuring out how to remove the scanner glass and then cleaning the glass.

Some scanners are friendlier that others in this regard. Your Officejet 6110 is, I’m afraid, among the less-friendly models. Specifically, HP tells you:

You cannot clean the underneath side of the scanner glass on any all-in-one. This should be performed only by an authorized service provider.

A more thorough explanation might read:

You cannot clean the underneath side of the scanner glass on any all-in-one unless you know how to conduct a Google search, read the English language, and operate a Torx #10 screwdriver.

And, what the heck, allow me to eliminate one of these steps by directing you to Here you’ll find this thread that explains how to get inside the 6110 to clean the glass (and some other parts as well).

The usual warning applies: If the steps seem beyond your ken, don’t perform them. And if you wind up breaking it along the way, you’ve only yourself to blame.

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