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What is Double Printing or Ghost Printing?

Double printing and ghost printing, also called “ghosting,” are printing terms that refer to similar phenomena. Ghost printing is a print quality issue causing the printer to print a faint or “ghost” copy of a block of text or image onto the current page.

Ghost printing may occur when using either blank paper, or it can occur when using pre-printed paper such as checks, invoices, and other kinds of forms.

Blank Paper stock refers to paper that was never printed on and is completely blank when inserting into the printer.

Preprinted stock is paper that already contains some form of print material on it, such as a check which contains your name, address, and bank account information. Preprinted stock is printed on a second time when completing information specific to that sheet of paper, such as printing a check made out to a payee, when their name and amount of the check is being added.

Term Definitions
The terms “double printing,” “ghost printing,” or “ghosting” may all refer to a printing defect where an image or text block from a previous print is repeated onto the current page. Usually, ghosting happens due to a mechanical defect in the printer.

The duplicated images and text typically show up faint or smudgy. This can ruin the print quality of the current document. It may also reveal potentially sensitive data if the ghost image contains bank account or credit card information.

The terms “ghost printing” or “ghosting” are preferred when referring to the defect. These terms help avoid confusion with a legitimate printing technique called double printing or duplex printing, in which a printer prints on both sides of the same sheet of paper.

Determine the Type of Ghost Printing
There are 2 different types of ghost printing, and it’s important that you distinguish correctly between the two so that you can properly address the issue.
The first type of ghost printing is when your printer repeats the current data being printed on the page - for example, words on the document you are trying to print appear multiple times on the page. This type of ghost printing occurs both on blank paper stock and on pre-printed paper stock.

The second type of ghost printing is when your printer carries over information from pre-printed stock by removing some of the layers of ink and reprints it on the same page. This type of ghosting can only occur on pre-printed paper stock and not on blank paper stock.

If you are experiencing ghosting on blank paper stock, you would notice the ghosting when the print roller reprints the same data on multiple locations of the same page.

However, when ghosting occurs on pre-printed paper stock, you might find that the printer is repeating the “pre-printed data” that was originally on the form such as your company name and address, or even your bank account information that is preprinted on a check.

Learn more about double printing and ghost printing, including its probable causes, which printer models are most likely to be affected, and how to fix the issue when it happens to you.

What Causes Ghost Printing?
Although ghost printing is most commonly associated with laser printers, it can also occur with inkjet printers. If your printer is ghosting, there may be multiple potential causes.

Here are the most common causes and how to fix them.

First, determine when the ghosting problem is occurring.

If ghosting is occurring on blank paper stock, it may be due to a faulty fuser kit, transfer rollers, or poor toner quality.

However, if ghosting is only occurring on preprinted stock, such as checks, deposit slips, or other forms, and the ghosting is not repeating the current data but rather is copying the preprinted information that was already on the page when you inserted it into the printer, likely this is due to high print temperatures incorrect temperature cause the ink on the page to melt, contaminating the printhead.

Here are the most common causes of ghost printing and how to fix them.

Detrimental printing environment
Although it is relatively rare, the printer’s environment may cause ghosting issues. If the humidity levels are too low (dry air), too high (humid air), or if the ambient temperature is cold to freezing, your printer may experience ghost printing issues.

The best way to avoid ghost printing issues due to humidity and temperature is to ensure your office’s HVAC system properly regulates the office environment. According to OSHA, the ideal office temperature range is 68-76°F, with humidity levels between 20% and 60%.

Dirty printheads
Another common cause of ghost prints is a dirty printer. Dirty nozzles, leftover toner, debris, or dust can interfere with your printer and cause ghosting.

Run the printer’s built-in cleaning function multiple times, and print a test page between each. Repeat this process until the ghosting issue disappears.

Incorrect paper type or paper settings
One of the ways printer paper types are differentiated and categorized is their thickness. Using the wrong combination of paper thickness and paper settings often leads to printing issues, such as ghosting.

Paper thickness, also called grammage, is measured in grams per square meter (GSM). For reference, an average sheet of standard copy paper is 80 GSM.

However, many commonly used printer paper types, like heavy pre-printed or check papers, have a different grammage. A printer can only achieve the best possible print quality by adjusting the fuser kit’s temperature to the paper’s grammage and properties.

When printing on non-standard paper, check the grammage and the presence of special coatings such as surface gloss or brightness enhancers. If you use bond paper, paper with a rough surface, or paper that is wrinkled or creased, you may also experience a decrease in printer performance.

Change your printer settings accordingly to ensure optimal print quality. For example, when printing on paper with a grammage of less than 75 GSM, you may need to look for a Thin Paper setting.

Faulty drum
If you use a laser printer, one of your drums may be experiencing issues due to an excessive quantity of leftover toner powder. If your printer’s automatic cleaning function cannot remove the excess toner, you may need to inspect it and clean it yourself.

For most Brother MFC-series laser printers, you can take the following steps to clean the drum:

  • Press the cover release button and open your printer to expose the drum unit assembly.
  • Pull the drum unit assembly out until the cartridges are fully exposed. Monochrome printer drum units should contain only a single black toner cartridge, whereas color laser printers should feature four toner cartridges (CMYK).
  • Turn the locking levers, tip the drum unit assembly up, and pull it out to extract it from the printer. Set the drum unit assembly on a clean, flat surface.
  • Extract all toner cartridges from the assembly.
  • Turn the unit upside down. You should see one (monochrome) or four (color) cylinders: these are the printer drum rollers.
  • Wipe the surface of each roller with a lint-free cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol. Do not directly touch the roller’s surface; instead, use the gears on the side to rotate them.
  • Reinsert the toner cartridges into the drum unit, then reinsert the entire unit into the printer and print a test page.

Faulty fuser kit
If the printing issue persists after cleaning your drum rollers, your printer’s fuser kit may be causing issues. Due to their higher ink fusing temperatures, Brother MFC-series printers are more commonly affected than other brands.

If possible, extract the printer’s fuser kit and attempt cleaning it. Each printer’s fuser kit is designed differently, so refer to your instruction manual for specific product information.

If the cleaning process hasn’t helped, the fuser kit may be damaged, requiring you to replace it with a brand-new unit.

Change printing preferences
When using pre-printed papers for printing checks and other documents, high printing temperatures can melt the ink and leave a duplicate print. Pre-printed paper must a use ink that can withstand the temperature of the machine's fusing process; in some Brother MFC-series printer, the printing temperatures can reach up t0 392°F (200°C).

To avoid high-heat ghost printing, go to Printer Preferences and switch the Paper Type to Thin Paper. This will automatically change the printing heat used, and can help eliminate ghosting on pre-printed stock paper.

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We Accept

* Quickbooks® Intuit® and quicken® are a registered trademark and are not affiliated and not owned by Tech Checks � Tech Checks offers its own brand of checks that are compatible with all versions of quickbooks® Intuit® and Quicken® software's
Copyright © 2024 Tech Checks, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.