brother printer

Clean Unable 46, Brother All in one Printer

Our all in one printer, Brother MFC-240C had a problem and for some reason it stop working. Every time I turn on the printer it shows on the LCD “Clean Unable 46″ error message. What the LCD suggests is to read the User’s Guide for further troubleshooting. That didn’t help me at all because it stated in the guide, probable causes are 1. The machine has a mechanical problem and/or 2. A foreign objects such as paper clip or ripped paper is in the machine. Their solution is to “Open the scanner cover and remove any foreign objects inside the machine. If the error message continues, disconnect the machine from the power for several minutes and then reconnect it.” I followed the instructions and did a total clean over. I used q-tips, glass cleaner, cloth to remove the dust that could be interfering for the printer to work, apparently to no avail it still ain’t working.

I googled it and finally I found the answer to my problem. All you need to do is to reset the purge counter. These steps worked in MFC620CN/420CN/410CN/210C/240C and FAX2440C model.


To reset purge counter

1) Enter machine maintenance mode (on MFC240C all four photo/copy/fax/scan lights flash in maintenance mode). Care is needed in maintenance mode, otherwise critical settings may be inadvertently corrupted.

FAX models with numerical keypads: Press the Menu/Set, *, 2, 8, 6 and 4 keys within two seconds. (if you fail to complete the correct key sequence within two seconds, press the Stop key to try again).

Other (non-FAX) models: Press the Menu/Set and Black Start keys. Next press the “up arrow” key four times to enter the maintenance mode).

2) Press the 8 then 0 keys in the initial stage of the maintenance mode to call up the machine’s log information list (function code 80).

3) Press the Black Start key several times to scroll through the log information list to reach the purge counter. The purge counter is the 25th item in the list.

4) Press the 2, 7, 8, and 3 keys in this order to reset the purge count to zero.

5) Press the Stop/Exit key to return to the initial stage of the maintenance mode.

6) Press the 9 key twice to return to the standby state.


333 thoughts on “Clean Unable 46, Brother All in one Printer

  1. Kay

    I just want to thank you for the tip on how to fix a Brother Printer that has the message “unable to clean”.
    I went through your steps on how to reset the purge counter (I have no idea what a purge counter is) and it works just fine now. Much appreciated, was ready to junk my printer.

    1. Stuart

      Thanks. The “unable to clean” problem is now fixed with your advice. I had checked my filter and it’s less than half used I think this is just a way for Brother to make more money out of us by selling filters we don’t yet need and for us to pay them to reset the counter that takes just a few seconds.

      1. Tommy Boy

        Thanks loads for this fix. I am not very Tech Savy, but this worked with no pain. Brothers Co. told me The only solution to this problem, was to bring it in for repair.
        My machine now works as good as new !!!!! By the way, HOW DID YOU FIND THE FIX FOR THIS PROBLEM???

    2. Caltel

      Thank you for your great knowledge with printers! These steps were very clear and resulted in a job well done! Thanks again!

    3. karla

      I can’t thank you enough. An expert told me it was time to purchase a new printer. I’ve had it over 8 years now. I wanted to try one more time, so I found your advice and it worked like a charm. I can’t wait to tell the expert. How did you find the information to solve this problem? I’m thrilled. You just saved me a bunch of money. Thank you again.

    4. Karen

      Thanks, I followed the instructions and it did the job. I got rid of a brother printer with the same message. I wish I had found your site earlier.

    5. bruce


    6. laurie

      I can’t believe it. I had the cleaning error on MFC 620CN. I followed all the steps in manual and still no solution. Then I stumbled upon this page and your suggestions. Thank you thank you thank you for this awesome fix. Yes it is true that this printer is many years old, but it is an awesome workhorse. Did I mention, thank you?

    7. Kenneth Howell

      Thank you for the Brother printer purging (reset back to 0) solution! It is now working perfectly.

    8. Carol Dimmitt

      You are a wonderful! I tried all other instructions and they were so complicated I couldn’t get them right. This was so clearly explained and it worked like a charm the first time! Thank You Thank You!

    9. John C Johnson

      Thank you very much for you info on how to purge the purge
      counter with that said my 2005 mfc 420cn prints again

    10. Frank Detz

      My 620CN does not look like what you have on your video. You spent a lot of time mentioning a “Mono” button. There is no “Mono” button on the 620. Not only do you have to press all the codes fast but the video is to fast. Not enough time to follow your instructions.
      Extremely fustrating. Good prior planning by BROTHER. NOT MUCH HELP AT ALL!

  2. miatz

    Thank you very much for helping me get through with my “clean unable 46″ prob with my Brother MCF-240C printer. I was just following all the steps you’ve suggested me to do and it works! Congratulations for an effective tips..Its a job well done!

  3. mauro

    muchas gracias por la solucionme4 ha servido solo quisiera saber como arreglar cuando el error el 50 escriban ami correo si pueden de ante mano gracias

  4. DG

    I too was ready to toss my printer aftre several attemps to clean. UNABLE TO CLEAN kept coming up. My printer is several years old so I expect that someday I’ll need to replace it but thanks to you it won’t be TODAY!
    Thanks again better info the the Troubleshoting guide and more to the point.

  5. no name

    Very good. I took long time to find this website. Just followed instructions for my MFC-215C. Worked fine. I was getting “unable to clean” error.

    Thanks so much

  6. ned

    Wow. I called Brother customer care for the Unable to Clean error. He claimed since I have error 46, I have to take it to a repair center which will cost me about $80 to repair or better yet was to junk it and buy a new one for that price.

    Your solution is definetely more professional and thanks a lot for your time and expertise.

    By the way, mine is a MFC 420CN and the same sequence worked.


  7. Alan

    Hi Thanks very much for great advice. Reset my MFC620CN perfectly.
    The only thing now according to the manual is to find out how to replace the “ink absorber” or is this unnecessary?
    Thanks again, at least I can print now

  8. Lala

    THANK YOU !!!!!!! I take good care of all my belongings. I knew my Brother 420-CN was still usable, but I kept getting the run around when I called Brother. I am so glad that you have this website to help peolpe. Once again, Thank You so much.

  9. Rangana

    Hey I love you for posting this excellent solution for the cleaning error problem! I was so ready to give up but then I stumbled upon this site and my printer’s working fine now! thanks to y ou!

  10. Angela

    thank you so much, had tried everything else I could find online to fix my MFC-215C but to no avail. Tried one last attempt and came across your instructions and it worked. Very much appreciated.

  11. Casey Phoenix

    Thanks mate!! My MFC620CN was showing the ‘unable to clean’ error when I got back after xmas holidays.
    Luckily this was the third site I found and thought it was the best option to try as it was less invasive.

    My gosh! It worked!! As the printer is old, I was also planning to replace it as I expected Brother repair to be expensive – yet your solution fixed it!! THANKS FOR SAVING ME MONEY WITH SUCH AN EASY SOLUTION!

  12. Dave

    Thank you so very much for posting this help. I’d tried everything, with no positive results. I then followed your instructions and … voila…my printer is working again. HOORAY!! Thanks again.

  13. Frank

    Thanks for those instructions to resent the purge counter. It has saved the printer from going to the tip. I appreciate the advice.

  14. NC-NY

    The steps to clear the purge counter worked GREAT on my Brother MFC 420CN!

    After putting in 4 new cartridges, the screen read “unable to clean” I called Brother, and like others here, was told to bring the machine to an authorized repair shop.

    I was thrilled to find this solution here to reset the purge counter. (Mine was at 06450.)

    I like this machine, though it comsumes a lot of ink since the routine cleaning cyles cannot be shut off. If the problem utimately is with the ink absorber, then I will be in the market for another machine when these cartridges run out. At least with the purge counter reset, these cartridges will not be wasted. THANKS ALL!!!

  15. JENNY

    Excellent – my printer works again ! Do i need to replace the ink absorber or juct clean it regualarly? I so where can i buy one? like most users i didnt know this existed.

  16. Sunny

    This really works for MFC235C. Spot on, my printer is back in working condition. Thanks a lot . You saved me some money.

  17. Dan Scurek

    You are terrific. You did what the help desk at Brother could not do. They were telling me to take my printer to a Brother dealer!

  18. Landy Lee

    It’s really work in my 215C, Thank you very much.
    Many people will thanks to you for this help…because save some money.
    Thanks again.

  19. Shari

    Unbelievable, my printer works again. I am dissapointed in Brother that they couldn’t share this with me. Oh well, as long as there is the internet and people like you out there all is well. Thank You

  20. RickC

    Thank you! This fixed the 46 unable to clean error on my MFC-495CW printer. I really appreciate it. I was ready to toss it but I love these Brother printers. On the 495 I use the following other non-fax models to enter maintenance mode.

    Other (non-FAX) models: Press the Menu/Set and Black Start keys. Next press the “up arrow” key four times to enter the maintenance mode).

  21. Brandon Smith

    Thank you so much for helping me solve this issue. As many have already said, I was ready to chuck this printer in the dumpster, but I couldn’t live without the quality of this printer. Again, thanks for the help and thanks for saving me $$$

  22. big K

    After following the BROTHER maintenance instructions ( Waste of Time) I was ready to launch my MFC-235C into the nearest bin… But “Thanks” to this marvellous page of instructions….. We are back in business…. Cheers !

  23. Chris

    Yes I’m another person who needs to thank you. I’ve had my MFC 425CN for about 5 years and its never missed a beat until the “Cannot clean” error message. I was going to throw it out and now its working perfectly again.

  24. Phil Thompson

    Thanks very much!! I stripped and cleaned out the Ink absorber and cleaned the Head bed, but to no avail! I found your site, tried the advice, it worked 100% on the 620CN as suggested it would. First time for this one, but SO easy to follow your instructions! Again, THANKS!!

    Phil T.

  25. Carlo

    Thanks. Instructions worked for DCP-750CW. Note that in these printers the “Set” button has been replaced by the “Menu” button, but the rest of the procedure is exactly the same.
    Thanks for avoiding me to send the printer to assistance and spend some money. I agree that manufacturers should be more transparent with such issues and don’t block people on their daily activity just because a stupid counter has reached a stupid limit.
    Besides in my case the counter limit was just increased by a firmware update but I couldn’t install it due to Signal 46 error that was blocking this procedure!
    Now I was able to restore the counter and install the new firmware.


  26. Karyn

    Nice one! I thought it mightn’t work on the mfc425cn since not listed. I too was set to call Brother – glad I didn’t have to get the run around from them. Thanks a million!! 😀

  27. Rosemary

    Thank you very much. I’m glad I found you. I love my MFC420CN but it just stopped printing and gave the error message “unable to clean, check maintenance section of the user’s guide”. This section was useless,just like Brother’s website. I searched and searched until I came across your webpage. Thanks a million. I’ll recommend you to all my friends for tech problems. You’re the best.

  28. Jaime

    Brilliant. I needed a work document printed quicky and “Brother” is closed today, Sunday. Desperate, I searched for an online solution, found yours, tried it – but I got the same error 46 code. Still desperate, I read your readers responses and tried it again. It worked! I printed my letter and I’m a happy camper. How’d you get so smart?!?

  29. april

    Thank you sooooooo sooooooooo much. It worked, what a bloody miracle, man time for a new printer I think, a bueat new laser printer with cheaper ink catridges.

  30. Roni Dux

    Its already late when I found out about resetting the purge count on my MFC 240C. An authorized technician stupidly advised me that the problem is with the printer head.

    Anyway, thanks a lot. But can you share how to clean the purge tank? I’ve learned that it could be a mess if it leaks.

  31. Peg

    Thanks so much, just fixed my Brother MFC 420 CN with unable to clean message. I got into maintenace no problem. How complicated they made it! It didn’t work the first try, so I went back into maintainence a second time and cleared a lot of the other counters that looked like errors and then it worked. Feels so good not to throw out a perfectly good printer. Made my day!

  32. Ron

    Thank you so much ! I have never posted a reply on a board like this but your response is so incredibly helpful ! I was already shopping for a new printer, getting ready to return the ink cartridges I just bought, when I found this !! My MFC-210C now works again !

    You saved me so much time !

    Cannot thank you enough !

  33. MS

    Thanks buddy ! Brought my 240c back to life.

    Great Post !

    After resetting the Purge, do i still need to clean out the ink absorber?
    Can you post some pics on how to locate the ink absorber and clean it.

    Cheers !

  34. Stebo


    got this error 46 just today on my DCP150C, found this perfect ‘manual’ and was able to fix the problem. Purge count value was 9706, reset to zero in a few minutes.
    Great! I love my printer! And this fantastic website!
    Thanks to the author!


  35. Relieved!

    YOU are the bestest!! Was so ready to trash this machine. After sitting on it for months, and numerous times trying to google a solution, I figured, I’d try one last time & FINALLY came across this site…and what do ya know! Yours was the first & final solution that helped my “sick” printer. THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH!

  36. Dee

    Thanks… worked wonders!
    I tried to reset the mono counter as well of my mfc-6490 with the same code after the purge counter. Bless you!

  37. Donagh

    Thanks a million, it worked on the second time I tried (I thought PC was Purge Counter) so wait until you get the ‘Purge’ and follow the instructions as above. Thanks again, Donagh

  38. Akshay Mittal

    This is awesome. It worked like a charm on my 420 CN. I was getting the same “Unable to Clean” message and had started looking to buy a new machine (it is a few years old machine).

    As a last effort, I decided to google the issue and found this site. And the problem was solved.

    Magic and a very good post/service/help to ever one.

  39. Mark

    Thank you Thank you Thank you.

    All is back to normal. Saved me time and money. You are my hero for the day.

  40. Trevor

    after Brother works in Manchester smugly,refused to give the code needed,this worked perfect ,on my MFC 235 C.Thank you .

  41. Ron

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!!!!! I just fixed my Brother MFC 420-CN that was displaying unable to clean/ check maintenance section of the user’s guide”message. This section was useless,just like Brother’s website. I have no idea what a purge counter is. I followed the simple steps on this website and NOW my printer works again. I had a little trouble with the first step. You have to press *,2,8,6 and 4 very FAST to get into the maintenance mode. Like the instrutions read, you have to press the correct key sequence within 2 seconds. If you fail like I did, just try again faster. I searched and searched until I came across your website. I’m sure glad I found this webpage. I was about to go out and buy a new printer and junk this one. THANKS A MILLION!!!!! YOU ROCK !!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. Chris

    This solution worked on a MFC-5440 as well. Looks like Brother has a built in you need to buy a new Brother printer function.

  43. Michelle

    You Rock! I was ready to throw the printer away. I have had great results on my 420cn. Thanks for saving me money and sanity. You made my day as well.

    Many Thanks,

  44. Anthony

    Thanks a lot, followed your instruction to reset the purge counter, and I got rid off the message “Unable to Clean” for my Brother printer MFC-420CN, and the printer works normally now. Brother made it so complicated and purposely do not leave a resolution in the MFC-420CN User guide, the intention is obvious. I think I will not buy anymore Brother’s printer, because I don’t know when I am going to encounter another ulterior situation like this.

  45. Karen

    This is the best tip I ever found on the web bar none! My boss believes that I can fix anything, from cars to woodwork to computers and printers (and so far, I have!). I didn’t want to disappoint her, but was baffled about this problem until I found your site. I fixed it while she went out to have her nails done. She now thinks I’m a genius. I know who the real genius is… but for the sake of my job security, we’ll keep that between you and me. LOL

    I’m one happy camper!

  46. Si

    This Rocks! What a great fix for my Brother MFC-440CN; thanks very much.

    Now if I can only stop the printer cleaning all the time and using my ink up unnecessarily. Any ideas anyone? Cheers :-)

  47. Doug McMillan

    i must be the only one who can’t get this to work. Can’t get into the maintanace mode and even if i did, how can i enter any numerical keys if my printer doesn’t have a fax and hence no number keys!?!

  48. Dan

    Thanks, I was about to throw the printer in the dumpster.
    Re-setting the purge counter to zero worked.
    Now if I could only get it to use all the ink in my cartridges
    before it tells me to replace them and prevents me
    from printing.
    DAN :O)

  49. Susan

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Just got my MFC 420 tCN to work again after your help with unable to clean message.1st method where you had to enter a series of numbers in 2 seconds, well, that didn’t work too well for me. But, the non fax method did and now I don’t have to get rid of my machine, because I can;t afford another one.
    Thanks again,

  50. Gabrielle

    Amazing! I thought I was going to have to splash out on another printer. Thank you for such comprehensive assistance. Worked for me!


  51. D S Bamji


    Thanks for a FIVE STAR RATING post.

    Thanks for the wonderful and clear post that solved an almost “ransom like situation”. Packing, Carrying, Cabing it and then have them advise “most likely cause” is Printer Head failure.

    The best guidance, with first shot success posting, I have ever read in over 15 years on the internet.

    There should be a mandatory LAW that all details, for equipment with system controlled maintenance MUST be published in USER / Workshop Manuals and be available to USERS all over the world.

    (Posted from China where the first hurdle is language and second hurdle is having friendly agents crop up to fleece you for everything once you have spent hours getting your problems understood through a translator.)

    Warm Regards,


  52. Zak

    Just another thank you so.
    I’m not sure how you figured this out the, but you saved me from buying a new printer you saved my cfm 420cn from being destroyed with a hammer.

    Thanks so much.

  53. Shazz

    Thank you very much! Couldn’t find anything blocking it and the ink was fine. You are a genius. Have printed out the info for future use.

  54. tom shelton

    I tried this for my MFC-5440CN , and all the steps were as you described and it reset the Purge Counter to 00000, but my problem persists. Any other suggestions? Thanks.

  55. Diana

    Thank you so much. I talked to someone from Brother on live chat and they told me that I couldnt fix this on my own and needed to take it to an authorized repair shop. Was ready to look for another printer but decided to try a search and found your site and did what you said and it worked the first time. My printer is working great again. Want to thank you again since I had just put in new ink that I had invested quite a bit in and would have been out enough to buy another printer if it wasnt for your site. Thank you over and over again. Shame on Brother for not giving out this info.

  56. G

    I know this is an old article but still very resourceful and put to good use today as I was trying to print my school finals, so this helped immensely. Thanks so much for sharing.

  57. scrap340

    This process works like magic. It saved me a good amount of money. My machine is back to live after months in the wilderness.

    Thanks a million.

  58. migmar sherpa

    Hello there!!! anybody help me to solf my problem, i try many time to make sure my Brother printer MFC64-90CW Printer i can’t do nothing i have no idea so anyone can help me kindly !!!!!!

  59. damian

    Thank you so much for that great tip, it has sorted out my printer just like that. i wondered ifyou knew how to disable the WiFi transmitter? i suffer from a rare condition known as Electrohypersensitive and the WiFi is causing me great pains!!!
    thanks again

  60. c b

    thanks, worked great and quickly !!!

    my faith in human nature got a boost, my trust in the corporate world …….???

  61. digger

    i have a brother MFC-490CW and i had the error 46 problem as well i reset the purge counter per the instructions above but it did not work so i restarted the printer got back into maintenance mode and went item by item and reset all the things i could using the 2,7,8,3 combination exited mode restart printer fixed :) hope this helps others Great website

    1. Raul

      i have an MFC-420CN and resetting the purge counter didn’t work…i went ahead and reset everything i could and IT WORKED!!! thanks to all

  62. digger

    as a side note to get into maintenance mode on the 490 you have to hit the OK button first so it goes like this OK,Menu,Black/Start,UP arrow 4 times. in you go

  63. ZEL

    Hi, what is the purge counter for dcp 135c? cos there’s no 25th item as mentioned in your instructions. Help me please and quick!!! Thanks

  64. Martin Rands

    Worked on my MFC235c, you just saved me the cost of a new printer, and many others too by the look of it. You are doing your bit to save the planet! Thanks soooooooooo

  65. Trevor Paginton

    Was just about to throw away £60 worth of cartridges when I saw your article,works fine on a 425cn,many thanks

  66. Tom Asta

    Worked exactly as you said. Thanks. I have another problem ” paper jam”pen rear door. I’ve done this a dozen times. Any ideas.

  67. Catherine

    It’s amazing to me that the stores I contacted didn’t have a clue how to fix this problem with my printeer, they were more interested in trying to get me to buy another printer. I looked on several sites trying to resolve this problem with my printer, you are simply amazing and worth your weight in gold. You could surely show them a thing or two.

    Thanks a million you kept me from throwing out a ton of ink I still has left.

  68. Tasha

    Thank you SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much. I just bought new cartridges ($58.00) and I was so hurt that my printer stopped working after spending my hard earned money.

    What a blessing for people to share GOOD things with others!

    MANY Blessings to YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

  69. Mike

    All I can do is echo all the other comments – Spoke to Brother with my error 65 – unable to clean – they told me there was nothing I could do but take the machine to one of their recommended service places – I called and they wanted $65 + parts – but the guy was very nice and explained how to take the MFC-210C apart and make sure there was nothing jamming the works – 3 times I took it apart – put it back together and still got the same error message – called the service center back and he said it was probably a chip or something. Ready to junk it when I thought of Google – sent me to you and it’s perfect again – Thanks – had a whole lot of ink left too – Wouldn’t you think that Brother would have a little more information in their user’s guide?
    Thanks a million.

  70. NML

    Ditto on every thing cause you save my printer too! Now I can print my much needed documentation for work. Thanks a hundred trillion times!

  71. Rich - San Jose

    Thanks so much!!! You just saved me $200! Very dissapointed in Brother and when this finally breaks for real, it will be my last Brother product.

  72. Vic

    I have an MFC210C with the ‘Unable to Clean’ problem. Unfortunately I have a problem with your advice re. * 2 8 6 4 keys. When I get to the 8 entry point my machine only gives my a choice of 0 to 5 (it does not go up to 8). Can anyone please help me? Thanks.

  73. dhesz

    ang galing 1yr na naka stock yung printer ko mfc 240 c.sinundan ko lang ito ok na agad.thanx talga sayo.ang mahal pa naman ng pagawa nito mga 1000 sa brother..
    ang galing mo..

  74. wendy

    hey there i have this same “clean unable 46″ problem on my mfc240c how do i get to the maintenance mode?

    1. Barb

      I have a MFC 420CN, and these instructions worked great! Took me 2 tries to get to the maintenance screen, but these instructions are 100% accurate (I just am part-time dyslexic!)

      FAX models with numerical keypads: Press the Menu/Set, *, 2, 8, 6 and 4 keys within two seconds. (if you fail to complete the correct key sequence within two seconds, press the Stop key to try again).

  75. Petty

    I really can’t stop saying thanks, I’v had this problem for a while no, and decied to call someone, and they gave me a ridiculous cost to fix the prob, and so i decided to try the internet…and here you post came up…THANKS A MILLION….IT REALLY DOES WORK

  76. su

    really want try many time for press menu * 2 8 6 4 within 2 second, but follow all the steps will do, thanks alot.

  77. Sanjay


  78. GIGI

    Thank you so much! It works with my 465CN! That’s really great!!! Thank you to take time to write this down for others!!! best wishes! :)

  79. Dave

    Ok so I used the instruction and it didnt fix it. I then went throught and did the 2783 on everything that looked like it was related to printing or errors or faxing. Did not touch the usb or type settings. Boom it worked. So I guess in some cases you have to do more then just the purge.

  80. Tim

    that fixed it works fine why is this info not in the manual?. so they can sel more perhaps
    like many my printer was headed for the rubbish bin

  81. Susan

    I thought I would have to replace my printer — and I can’t afford to do that — so you reallly saved me!!!!!
    It did take me a couple of tries — I found that the “2 second” timing is crucial — and I had to pay close attention to make sure I got to “Purge” — I pressed Black Start a bit too quickly and went right past it and wound up getting an Error Message, but I just unplugged the printer and started all over, and it worked!

  82. Rod & Terry

    The wife called brother, to no sucess, tore down the printer, saw nothing wrong. Saw and followed your instructions and it’s like having a brand new printer. Thanks guys.

  83. Kate

    Seems I have no knowledge of how this works. Everyone else had no problems following your instructions except me. I have a MFC-240C all in one, I couldn’t get past the first step. How do I get into the maintence mode? It says ” Fax model, Press * 2,8,6 and 4 with 2 seconds.” I pressed *2,8,6,4 and nothing happened. If I press start or ok it tries to fax. Do I need to press something else?

    1. mjs

      Hi Kate and others. I have a fax model too CN 420 and couldn’t get into maintenance mode, but then I tried the non fax model instructions ie using the black start keys and this worked like a charm. thanks you very much!!

  84. Edwin

    I reset the counter per your instructions and it works perfect. Shame on Brother printers for making it’s customers think they need a new printer!!! Just like most every other company, they try to suck more money from their customers any chance they can. Thanks to the internet the customers can now fight back!!!

    Up yours Brother Printers.

  85. chris

    Awesome it worked. Like how they don’t put this in the manual. Thanks for the good tip that saved me from buying a printer. Actually I couldn’t have afforded one so you really saved me! Thanks again.

  86. Pat

    Omg Omg I fixed it with those instructions however I couldn’t get in the maintence part like it said. I’m sorry I forgot exactly what i did. I seen it else where I rem it say something about the ink menu & pushing the black start sev times. I was so excited to see the lights flash (4) and hurried back to this page I can’t rem. But any how if you get the lights to flah follow directions & it will work thank you thank you thank you I think just a way for them to make money saying it’s mechanical DANG PURGE REALLY

  87. Jan

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!! Thank you so much: it worked just like that. Why does the manual say nothing about this? Anyway: thanks a thousdand times!

  88. MayLing

    Thank you so much!! My 420CN printer work again!!!! My printer has been showing the message “unable to clean” for a couple of days and I’ve followed your instructions but had to do it a couple of times to get it to the maintenance mode!!! Thank you once again!!!

  89. ken

    What a wizard! The Brother website said that if the print head was positioned at the right
    side, a mechanical problem had arisen and professional help was needed. I punched in your numbers, and the 210c was working again instantaneously. I was ready to pony up
    for a new machine. You saved me a quick 100 bucks or so. Thanks so much.

  90. jay

    mfc420cn here, same issue and your answer worked great
    saved me a lot of everything,
    i had almost given up.
    thank you very very much!!!!

  91. Donna

    THANK YOU so much!!! You’re a GENIUS!!! I tried everything in the manual for my MFC-420cn and nothing worked. Then I found your info and now my printer works great! You saved me a lot of money!!!

  92. Mart

    Great Help !! Brother came back to life. I was thinking of going for a new printer. if you have any alternative less expensive ink refillers, please share it with the forum. I am using inks from innojet. They work ok, but need to replace them often as they leak ink frequently.

  93. Ruben Atienza

    WOW!!!!! You are impressive!!!! It really worked!!!! Thank you so very much for the information. I was going to junk my printer and buy me a new one….. you saved me some bucks for Christmas.

  94. Darek

    I cannot fucking believe this actually worked. This is the most ridiculous error ever, how in the hell did you even figure this out. I am subbing in every way possible, i love you, please forward an address so i can send you fruit baskets.

  95. Ally

    Thanks so much. I just wanted to print of some piccies to send to rellies for christmas. This worked. The last thing I wanted to do was go and buy another printer. I hate that designed obsolescence they engineer into every thing these days. I hate being wasteful. You’ve saved my printer from the hard rubbish pile until Brother stop making cartridges for my 425CN. Cheers.

  96. wookie

    thank you so much! i really needed to print some notes as i have exams coming up within days. you are AMAZING. really clear instructions. how in the world did you ever stumble onto this brilliant solution?

  97. Tammy

    Thank you so much for your advice. I was wandering where I would find the money to fix or buy a printer. You are a big help.!!!

  98. Louise

    Thank you so much. Found this printer in a “Share Shack” at the local garbage transfer station. Brought it home and found the cannot clean message. took me a couple of goes with the *2864 as you have to be terribly fast to make it happen, but voila! a working printer for nothing plus all the ink cartridges were full to the max!

  99. Bill

    Thanks millions! Worked like a charm. I still have my trusty working MFC-620CN as of 2013 due to your great advice. Happy New Year!

  100. Bet

    I tried the first steps to get to the maintenance code,
    but it did not work. Then, I read down the posted comments
    where someone had to use the non-fax steps.
    Yay! That worked for me. I was ready to trash my 240 C.
    Thank you so much.

  101. Sherron

    Thank you very much. I had the exact same problem. And this method worked like a charm. You are much appreciated.

  102. christy

    I went thru the steps and did get it to work, the error message is gone however i tried to copy both black and white, and color and it is very faint. It is saying the black and yellow are near empty, but they are full. any other suggestions and thanks for getting it this far.

  103. Dutchy

    Thank you sooooo much! Worked like a charm for my MFC-420CN. I’m so happy to not have to go and buy a new printer. :)

  104. Sagiv

    Hi my Brother MFC 260c refuses to print colors, it prints only black. This is a result of messing up with printer’s technician menus by shutting down the printer, pressing menu/set button down, then choose 80 etc. Does anyone have a clue how to recover or at least reset the printer to factory settings?


  105. Markus

    Brother Fax 2440 c ( 7 Jahre alt) zeigte Fehler “Machine Error 46″ und war nicht mehr zum Arbeiten zu bewegen. Deutsche Seiten waren nicht zu finden.
    Hiermit hat es funktioniert !
    Vielen Dank

  106. thet

    hi.. thanks for this info .. very helpful… am from philippines and the unit was only given to me from germany… no need for me to bring my unit to the nearest repair center…

    THANK YOU!!!

  107. john maiorano

    thank you!!! it really did work after i put the right numbers in.
    i miss understood the numbers to reset the purge count to zero.
    2783 was the correct way to reset purge count.

    i was putting in 278 and pressing 3 other keys which did not work.


    Thanks a Million for getting my MFC-260C started again . site states that you need an engineer to replace the ink absorber even though stating that it can control enough ink for the expected life of the machine. Never knew such big companies like Brother can have such software installed killing their products as per their own wish fooling their customers in the name of giving a durable product . Shame on brother for having a money making system installed in their printers so that they and their dealers are never out of work and rob their customers through such fraudulent malpractices.

  109. Wendy

    Thank you thank you so much for that. It works!! Tried the manual. No luck but this worked wonderfully. I am so grateful

  110. Greg

    Thanks so much for the solution. I really like my old MFC420CN because it’s compact and does everything I need it to. I dreaded replacing it–thanks for the great solution!!

  111. Charlotte

    M printer used to clean itself for 10 minutes before it would even print one page (every time…!) then finally got stuck on problem 46 (And it’s a hand me down so I don’t even have a manual). Your solution worked perfectly first time and now it even prints straight away – thank you so much!!!! Hours of my life saved. I love the internet.

  112. Roger

    I cannot thank you enough – resolved the issue with my Brother – why do they make machines so complicated so that the ordinary person is unable to resolve issues without help from people like you?

  113. sagar

    thankkkkkkk youuuuuuu sooooooooo muchhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!! i’ve got an important deadline tomorrow and my printer wasn’t working before. but thanks to your help i’m relieved. You’re GOD, you’re my SAVIOUR lol

  114. Ranjan

    The cost of repair was more than replacing but with your concise instructions I have saved my printer from the recycling centre and I feel confident it will continue to serve me for many more years to come. Thank you very much for your generosity of sharing your knowledge with others.

  115. Ksenia

    OMG!!!!!!!! Whoever posted this info here, know this, YOU will be loved like a real true friend forever! I started to shop on amazon for the new printer, then i decided to search for any information about this message my Brother mcf 420 cn gave me – troubleshoot…. little googling and viola – this site with your solution!
    You are the best! Love that you shared with all of us!!!
    I hope you still get email notifications about new comments here under your post, read them and know that you helped thousands people!
    Thank you so much!

  116. RKMUC

    worked here too at the first try on my 1940CN.

    A great thank you for this hint to get into the Maintenance Mode of this box….and to reset that purging counter.

  117. Mary

    Thank you so much for your help. I tried everything from the manual with no avail. Your solution was the trick.

  118. LDaley

    Thank you. I spent HOURS trying to figure out what the manual wanted me to do. I was depressed because I had just gotten a delivery of ink that I purchased from eBay. I couldn’t return it because it was not the seller’s fault.

    I decided to try researching fixes one more time. I put the name of my printer and the message in quotes and came up with your fix. I don’t have to junk the printer…at least not yet.

    Thank you again.

    God bless you.


  119. Gerry M

    Thank you so much for this website/posting. My Brother MFC 420 CN had the unable to print error code and this solved it. I had downloaded the manual but it was WORTHLESS, while your simple instructions took care of the problem. It was an easy fix that they easily could have put in the manual or on their website- since this is what they would have done to fix the problem if it was brought to a service tech- but it seems corporations are much more interested in getting your money than solving your problems.

  120. Larry

    Ditto as to what others have said (positive)! The Brother chat was no help at all! Your steps solved the problem on my MFC-240C! Thank you, so much!

  121. Watson

    Thank you for your Instruction to Fix the Erron “Clean Unable 46″. Its Helpful and Informative. Once again Thank You.

  122. Buster300

    THANK YOU. Solution worked as described. I have 4 240C printers. I was about to junk the ERROR 46 one when I found and followed these instructions. LDproducts sells ink cartridges in packs of 10 for about $40. The combination of MF240C and LD ink is just about the least expensive printer setup. You can do even better by turning in used ink cartridges at Staples for a $2 credit.

  123. Rafi Haq

    I have a brother MFC-425CN printer which decided to go into “unable to clean” mode and it was at this stage where it was unable function. Even though my printer model was not included in this repair steps, I took the risk and followed through and now it’s working just fine. To those who have the same printer like me, THESE REPAIR STEPS DO WORK!! Thanks again to whoever shared this information… 😀 😀 😀

  124. AnnieM

    As everyone has said, your fix worked perfectly…we should all send you a few bucks considering how much you saved us!!!

    Where do we send the $$$ :-)


  125. Angela

    Thank you so much!
    It worked on my 295CN model printer as well.
    This is my 3rd Brother printer. If we’d known this earlier we wouldn’t have had to buy another 2 printers!

  126. Linda

    Bless you for sharing this information. I tried these steps on a MFC-235c and it worked (after trying a couple of times :-)

  127. ranze

    mine is J-220. neither of the ways you mentioned could help me get into maintenance mode. Hope you can help me

  128. David

    As a guy used to repairing 256 slice CT scanners & MRI Machines plus x-ray I had already gotten my MFC-420CN and started stripping it down. Fortunately while looking for a service manual online I came across your site.
    This Medical Imaging Field Service Engineer thanks you Engineer to Engineer!!!

  129. Kathy Tomrell

    I was easily able to reset my Brother MFC 420CN with an “unable to clean” error. Thanks to your explicit directions.. I am forever grateful. Thanks

  130. Sunshine

    You are a blessing from above, thanks so much. I started to give up until I Google the problem I was having on my MFC240C. Also, I started to throw it away. But thanks to an expert, YOU. It’s working like brand new.

  131. Kev

    My model 420CN did not want to be as cooperative, but using the basic info provided, I prevailed. Thanks for the help :-)

  132. Dinod

    Thanks for the help with this issue. Was getting ready to dump the machine. Only thing that didnt respond was the stop button, so i just powered if off and now all works again !!!!!

  133. Janice Thomas

    YEA!!! After severl trys of going through the sequence i was able to get iright and reset the purge counter.Now it works great again.THANK YOU!! :—)

  134. Clifton


    Thanks for the tip, this is a big help!!!!!! Didn’t have to take my printer/copier/ scanner into a repair shop. Saved $$ by coming to this webpage.

  135. JIm

    Brother MFC620CN Error 46

    Put the unit in to maintenance mode and followed the instructions to get to the Purge, used the 4 digit code to reset the purge count to zero and the 99 to exit the maintenance mode. However when the unit reset the error did not clear? Error 46 was still on the screen? I entered maintenance mode again and checked the purge, it was at zero? the error will not clear?

    Any thoughts?

  136. Pingback: How To Fix Brother Error Unable To Clean in Windows

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>