If you frequently read Lawyerist, there is a good chance you use a Fujitsu ScanSnap as part of your paperless office.

Like every other technological wonder, the ScanSnap requires upkeep and occasional cleaning. Fortunately, maintenance is fairly inexpensive and easy.

When should you clean?

Fujitsu recommends cleaning your ScanSnap after every 1,000 scans. Depending on how much you use your scanner, that could be once a year or every six months. I use my scanner daily—approximately five scans per day. That works out to twenty-five scans per week and one hundred scans per month, meaning I my scanner needs cleaning every ten months.

If you see long vertical lines on documents, it is also time to clean. I usually sign documents in blue ink before scanning. Last week I noticed a long blue streak on every document—leftover ink from a signed document.

Cleaning supplies

Fujitsu recommends two supplies—a liquid cleaner and cleaning pads. If you do a quick search on the internet, you could find the supplies from various retailers. Using random liquid cleaners can damage your scanner, so make sure you are buying the right product if you are bargain hunting. Otherwise, proceed at your own peril.

How to clean

Unplug the AC adapter from your scanner and let it cool down for a few minutes, especially if you were just using it. Once it has cooled down, the overall goal is to wipe down a variety of parts using the cleaning pads and cleaning solution (refer to this diagram). I suggest spraying the cleaning solution onto the pad, rather than spraying directly onto the scanner.

Make you sure you look at the diagram so that you clean all of the various parts (and clean the correct ones). Cleaning the actual scan glass is the most important part—that is where you will notice excess smudge or ink from signed documents. You may need to use more than one wipe to clean the glass if there is a fair amount of gunk on it.

Once you wiped everything down, leave your scanner open for a few minutes to let the cleaner evaporate. After that, you are back in business!

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/4407861669)

  • Richard Hornsby

    Fujitsu documentation also states that “Isopropyl alcohol [Rubbing Alcohol] can be used instead of Cleaner F1.” Basically a $12 savings over the $15 Cleaner F1.

    • Good tip—thanks!

    • Where does the documentation state this? I just did a search in the Operator’s Manual (the other manuals, as explained in the Operator’s Manual, do not discuss cleaning), and found no reference to isopropyl alcohol, although I wish that were the case to save money. Instead, the manual states, “Do not use aerosol spray or spray that contains alcohol to clean the scanner. Dust blown up by strong air from the spray may enter inside of the scanner which may cause scanner failure or malfunction.” Admittedly, F1 Cleaner is so vague that it screams ancillary cost and may, ultimately, be something very close to isopropyl alcohol.

  • Jim Caldwell

    Have had S1500 couple of years. Has been used only about 50 times. Decided to go more paperless, but now Every sheet feeds crooked to one side and jams. Any one else had this problem and what did you do to solve it? Is it a local fix?

    • It sounds like you should just try to clean it, and see if that works. Or look inside to see if something got jammed in there.

  • Neal

    Form the Fujitsu website:


    (1) Isopropyl alcohol can be used instead of Cleaner F1.

    • I didn’t see that note anywhere at the link you provided. Can you double check? I searched the entire Fujitsu website, and although I found reference to isopropyl alcohol for other scanners, I could not find it as an alternative recommendation on the ix500 scanner. It would be nice to get this answered somewhere. Not just for the 5-6x markup, but for how easily it is to obtain isopropyl.

      • Rubbing alcohol is fine. That’s what Fujitsu told me to use the last time I had to call support.

        • I found some information on the Fujitsu site that isopropyl alcohol at no less than 90% with a lint free cloth would suffice. I found several options at 91.0-99.8% individually wrapped pre-soaked packets available on Amazon. A 50-pack used at their recommended interval of every 200 scans will last 10,000 scans, if my my mental arithmetic skills still work.

  • Mike

    I googled how to clean my ScanSnap S1300 and stumbled upon this website. A note regarding “Isopropyl alcohol [Rubbing Alcohol]” and ScanSnap cleaning – don’t do it since it might damage rubber rollers. The referenced Fujitsu’s page states that alcohol can be used only on some models of Fujitsu scanners and that for SnapScan “We recommend the use of our genuine products for the consumables. Failures, troubles,
    and damage of this product resulting from the use of consumables other than our genuine
    products are subject to repair fees even within the warranty period.”

    • Can you provide a link where they state that isopropyl is not recommended for the Scansnap series? Is there a material difference with the Scansnap series that would make it different. If so, what would be in F1 that would make isopropyl a recommended alternative for it only in certain instances?

  • Jason Morris

    Man, wish I had this info in my head long before now. Have had the s1500 for four years or so, only about 2000 sheets a year, and cleaned it for the first time today. It squeaks, now, and pages are coming out so off-kilter that one out of every 200 or so is getting jammed and eaten. Looking at replacing it with an iX500.

  • ScanSnap S1500, S1500M & N1800 cleaning instructions here: http://www.fujitsu.com/us/Images/n1800-instructions.pdf