|There are two types of inkjet cartridges - those that have a print head built into them, and those that do not - the latter are actually just ink tanks and the print heads are built into the printer. |
If you are getting smeared black, or white streaks in the black....
If the cartridge has an integrated print head, remove the black cartridge and wipe off any accumulated ink off the bottom of the cartridge where the print head is. If it has dried, use a tissue dampened with water to wipe it.
If the cartridge DOES NOT have an integrated print head, or with either type, try using the printer software's head cleaning feature .....
e.g. Control Panel - Printers and Faxes - RIGHT click on the icon for the printer, choose Properties. You can select cleaning the print heads somewhere in that.
If that doesn't help, if the cartridge DOES NOT have an integrated print head, you need to try wiping the bottom of the print heads built into the printer. See the printer's manual.
If you are getting white streaks in the black, but not black smears.
You may be nearly out of ink - see the Properties for your printer to see what the estimated ink level is.
You can have problems with any print head on an inkjet printer (called bubble jet in the case of Canon) if you don't print using all the colors at least a week.
If the inkjet printer is plugged into to a power bar or similar that you switch off when you're not using the computer, when you switch off the power, the print heads may not be "parked" where they're supposed to be to minimize problems with the ink being exposed to air and drying out. If you do have it plugged into a power bar or similar, wait at least a few minutes after you have last used the printer before you switch off the power to it, and the print heads will probably be properly "parked".
The ink is supposed to be used within a year or so of when you got the cartridge or the ink tank. After that, some inks tend to coagulate and won't come out of the nozzles properly.
That said, I have an old Canon BJC-4400 (circa late 1999) , and I have been able to refill it's standalone black cartridges over and again with the same batch of ink, regardless of it's age
(it's dye based ink, not pigment based).