I believe you can get cleaning cartridges for cleaning the print heads. Never used or seen them but I assume they are identical to the ink cartridge. This is one site which advertises them but I think you'd have to do a search on it as these don't appear too obvious.
My little local chemist didn't stock it either, but they did order it in for me - took about a week to arrive.
Surgical spirits, which they will stock, is a methanol-ethanol mix with less nasty stuff added than household meths. You could use this short-term to start the softening process, and flush through later.