Unlike the other filaments in this list, cleaning 3D printer filament is not used to print objects, but to clean 3D printer extruders. Its purpose is to remove any material in the hot end that might have been left over from previous prints. Though a good general practice, using cleaning 3D printer filament is especially useful when transitioning between materials that have different print temperatures or colors.

The general procedure involves manually feeding cleaning 3D printer filament into a heated print head to force out the old material, then cooling the hot end slightly and yanking the filament back out again. For more detailed instructions, take a look at the manufacturer’s information for the specific filament you’re using.

A few extra things to note:

  • “Print” temperature depends on whatever types of 3D printer filament you used before, as well as on the one you want to use next. (Cleaning 3D printer filament is stable anywhere between 150 and 280°C.)
    It’s not typically necessary to use more than 10 cm of filament at a time.
    Other methods of cleaning exist, including the popular “cold pull” technique, which is similar to the above procedure and does not require cleaning 3D printer filament.

When Should I Use Cleaning 3D Printer Filament?

You should consider cleaning 3D printer filament between prints using two materials with wildly different temperature requirements, or every once in a while to give your hot end a bit of TLC.