In a laser printer, the drum is one of the key components used to ensure high quality printing. Located inside the printer cartridge, this cylinder shaped piece receives an electrical charge from the main printing motor and uses toner to transfer the charge into a printed image onto paper. Every time a print job is sent to the printer the paper is pulled through the drum unit to receive the images stored in the memory. If you are experiencing laser printer problems, such as paper jams or splotchy printing, you may need to either repair or replace the drum.

Things You Will Need
  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Cloth towel

Troubleshoot the problem to confirm that the laser drum needs to be repaired. Send a test job to the printer and examine the quality of the imaging. If the page is smeared, the drum may be dirty and will need to be manually cleaned. If the test job fails to print, the display screen will show an error message or code. Refer to your printer manual to understand the error message and to determine if the drum is damaged or needs to be replaced.

Turn off and unplug the printer. Open the print cartridge door and remove the print cartridge. Unhook the grips that lock the cartridge into place and remove carefully, making sure to not make contact with any other components.

Inspect the drum for any dirt, paper fragments or excess toner. The drum is covered with a green, plastic-like film called selenium. Laser printers are equipped with a drum cleaning system, but if toner has built up on the drum, you will need to clean it yourself. Use a few drops of rubbing alcohol and a soft towel or rag to gently wipe the surface clean. Be careful not to use excessive force or too much alcohol. If you notice any tears or damage to the selenium surface after cleaning, replace the drum.

Allow the drum to air out for a few minutes. Use a pressurized air spray to clean the inside of the printer. Replace the print cartridge and lock it back into place. Close the cartridge door, plug in the printer and turn the printer back on. You are now ready to continue with your print jobs.


The surface of the drum is sensitive to light. Do not expose to bright light, you will ruin the drum. Be careful handling the drum, wear gloves if you have sensitive skin. Selenium is considered to be toxic.