When the output of your laser printer looks as if someone sprinkled stray toner all over the pages you print, your work lands in the recycle bin and you waste time as well as supplies. To resolve these kinds of problems, start by observing and analyzing your office setup as well as your printer, looking for the kinds of problems that contribute to these distinctive flaws.

Lack of Moisture

If you operate a business in a location that frequently experiences low humidity levels, your dry working environment can interfere with your laser printer's ability to bond toner properly onto output media. In turn, this climate-based problem can cause toner speckling across the surface area of printed sheets. These levels of dryness can cause other problems in your office as well, including high levels of static electricity and complaints about dry air from other people who work in your company. Investing in a humidifier can improve your indoor air quality and your printed output.

Wrong Paper Choice

Paper that's too thick, textured or smooth to move properly through the transport path of your laser printer can pick up toner in areas of the sheet beyond the portions on which you've printed. You may have better luck if you run these types of media through a manual-feed tray or bypass, which often travels through the printer on less-convoluted path that can maximize output quality on otherwise challenging sheets. If you're attempting to reuse media on which you've already printed, or you're using bargain sheets to print rough drafts, switch to paper that offers proven performance.

Bad Toner Cartridge

A leaky cartridge can deposit toner inside your printer and on your output media in places in which toner doesn't belong. Although cartridges fresh out of the packaging can display leaks and other manufacturing defects, these problems most commonly plague refurbished or refilled supplies. To check a cartridge for these kinds of problems, place it on top of a piece of white poster board or a large sheet of paper and gently tap it with a ruler. If you see toner emitted from seams in the cartridge or around the flaps that open when you install the consumable, replace it.

Dirty Printer

Once a leaky cartridge fouls the inside of your printer, the residual toner it leaves behind can contaminate everything you print, depositing a haze of loose toner on your output. If the manufacturer of your hardware makes or recommends cleaning sheets you can run through the device to cure these kinds of problems, invest in suitable supplies. If your device doesn't qualify for self service, contact a service technician and arrange for a thorough cleaning to set your hardware to rights. Even if you can remove some internal contaminants, professional attention can assure you that the full printing path returns to its pristine operating condition.