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Flushing Canon CLI/PGI cartridges WITHOUT water

When the Pro-100 with its CLI-42Y (Yellow) cartridge started showing issues with being flushed it became clear that the process of cartridge flushing was not always recommended nor indeed welcome unless the appropriate cleaning solution was in use.

In light of this we wracked our brains to come up with a safer alternative that would allow end-users to flush or simply refresh their cartridges so that they could be refilled but without the potential headache.

The solution is actually pretty simple. Use a little of the ink you intend to refill the cartridge with (instead of a cleaning solution, or water) and a compatible flush clip…

NB: This process can be used for pretty much any cartridges where a flush clip is available, not just CLI-42Y carts…


  • Tape – Something that can block air getting into the vent channel.
    • Electricians tape works but really needs to be stretched tight.
    • Aluminium tape really works well but is harder to get off. (tip: tab/fold the end to make removal easier)
    • Avoid sellotape or similar as it has a water soluble adhesive and will quickly fail.
  • Flush clip compatible with your cartridge outlet
  • 50ml or greater capacity syringe (with luer fitting).
  • Refill Ink
  • De-ionised or distilled water (for flushing out clips/syringe between use) if required


  1. Use tape or similar to seal the vent hole shut (Electricians tape should be stretched over channel and down sides to ensure it stays in place)
  2. Push any air out of syringe
  3. Attach a flush clip to cartridge outlet
  4. Attach 50ml syringe to flush clip adaptor
  5. Hold cartridge/syringe with syringe below cartridge
  6. Use syringe to pull a vacuum on the cartridge to remove any remaining ink
  7. Empty syringe, of the ink and/or air that was pulled from the cartridge, as much as possible
  8. Fill syringe with 5ml-10ml of the correct refill ink
  9. Re-attach syringe to the flush clip adaptor
  10. Hold syringe and cartridge so the syringe is directly above cartridge
  11. Pull a vacuum on cartridge
  12. Gently release vacuum
    This will allow ink to flush back and forth through the sponge and dilute/mix with any remaining ink
  13. Repeat steps 10-12, four more times.
  14. Now suck all of the ink out of the cartridge, into the syringe then twist syringe to break vacuum, allowing air into cartridge
  15. Disconnect the syringe and dump the ink as waste
  16. You can now refill the cartridge using steps 1-14 as a vacuum priming process but for Step 9, use 20ml of ink to ensure the cartridge is filled.
  17. Remember to remove the flush clip and the tape covering the vent hole
  18. Rinse the flush clip and syringe with deionised or distilled water before re-use.

Using the above process should flush out any crud from the sponge and help recondition it to allow ink (and air) flow which is basically the goal of any flush anyway. Using the ink to complete the process avoids the potential problems from any other fluid being used.

Updated on 9 February 2022

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