How to Clean a Paint Sprayer – Step By Step Guide

Your new spray painting task has been done, and you are happy with it! But still, you are missing an important step that makes you do the next painting task with the same perfection, i.e., cleaning. You can clean your sprayer after a few hours.

However, it is recommended to clean your sprayer immediately. This will not only let you wash more clearly, but also you can do it faster.

How to Clean a Paint Sprayer?

How to Clean a Paint Sprayer

If you are confused and using a sprayer for the first time and want to know how to clean a paint sprayer, this article is for you. In this article, you will learn how to keep your spray gun like new and how to do cleaning tasks, whether the paint is wet or dry. Do you want to learn this excellent skill? Keep reading this article till the end.

How to Clean a Paint Sprayer
Infographic: How to Clean a Paint Sprayer

1. Perform A Pressure Relief Test

This step is necessary for safety as you can accidentally spray yourself without releasing the pressure. For this, turn on the sprayer but keep the pressure low. Next, set it on reverse to remove all air pressure. Lastly, press the trigger while holding the nozzle in a bucket. Keep the trigger pressed until you become sure there is no air pressure left.

You can easily adjust it back to normal once you clean the sprayer. This step is important as accidentally pressing the trigger with air pressure can ruin your outfit or home. Once you drain all the air out, this is now entirely safe for the next cleaning step. So let’s move to the main cleaning process.

2. Flush Coatings

In this step, you must disassemble parts like nozzle, pipe, etc., for proper in-depth cleaning. Please remove the fluid drain and intake tube, but first clean it from the outside. Now instead of placing the intake tube into the paint, put it into flushing fluid and the drain tube into some random tub. Turn the sprayer on and press the trigger.

Keep pressing the trigger until you only see the flushing fluid without paint. This way, you can clear the sprayer quickly. If you clean it immediately after your work is done, this is enough but if the paint is dry, add another step. You can use pliers or a brush to scrape off the dry paint and then run the fluid.

3. Clean The Pump

The next step in how to clean a paint sprayer is cleaning the pump, which is similar to the previous one. Run the pump into the flushing fluid and wait for it to clear. Once you get the clear liquid, turn it off by leaving the trigger. Now, place the private valve in its place to allow proper fluid circulation. For additional safety, ensure that you get clear flushing fluid; otherwise, it will ruin all of your efforts.

4. Clean the Gun

It is important to clean the gun with high precision because negligence can lead to a loss of money. These guns have a lot of parts, and each piece requires specific attention while cleaning. Otherwise, a malfunctioning gun will be your companion in your next project. So make a deep clean after each use.

For this, turn the prime valve to the on setting and then press the trigger to spill out the remaining fluid. When you think it’s done, turn it off. Next, reduce the pressure to the lowest and remove the power supply. Now your gun is clean from the inside, but some remaining parts still want your attention.

5. Cleaning An Airless Spray Gun Filters

Start this step by removing the filter first. You must put extra effort into cleaning the filter as this part gets the thickest paint consistency. You can easily take it off and clean it, but it needs extra attention and time. However, two to three filters are available in an airless spray for additional precision.

  • Manifold filter located inside the sprayer on the right or left side.
  • The pencil gun filter is located near the trigger.
  • The suction filter is located near the suction hose.

Take off all these filters and clean them with water. For wet paint, the water is enough for cleaning, while for dry paint, you can use a brush to remove dry leftovers. Furthermore, keeping yourself and your outfit safe from sudden splashes is important, so wear an apron and goggles.

6. Clean The Tips And Nozzle

You can conveniently remove the paint from the nozzle by using flushing water. Also, to make sure extra cleaning, use a brush. This technique works best for wet paint, but if your nozzle has dry paint, you can use mineral spirits to soften the color and then use a brush to remove it. However, flushing water is recommended to keep your sprayer safe from rusting. So without need, don’t go for any other cleaning liquid.

Now, your spray gun is clean and like new. But before putting all parts back, check that you clean every part and there is no dirty part left. After assembling the sprayer, dry it with a fabric soaked in mineral spirits as it makes a protective layer over your tool. 

Factors To Consider Before Cleaning A Paint Sprayer

Although you know how to clean a paint sprayer, it needs a little preparation, so you end up with desired results. So here are factors you should know before starting your cleaning task.

Factors To Consider Before Cleaning A Paint Sprayer

1. A Cleaning Set-Up

If you want to add convenience to your cleaning process, firstly, gather all the required things, like fluid, buckets, cloth, etc. This will help you from rushing here and there during the cleaning process.

2. Wear Protective Clothing

Paint can easily ruin your outfit. Therefore, to stay on the safer side, wear an apron and clothes that keep your outfit intact.

3. Know What You Are Doing

It is important to understand each step precisely. Nothing will work if you ignore any detail; no matter how good I will explain the process to you. Therefore, understand the method with great attention to get what you are looking for.

4. Have Required Supplies

Once you understand the process, it’s time to gather everything you need. There is so much you have to collect. Here I have a list to make it simple for you.

  • Water/ flushing fluid / Mineral spirits ( based on paint type )
  • Paint buckets
  • Brushes
  • Mask
  • Safety glasses
  • Apron
  • Plastic sheets ( for the floor )

Read the process and keep these factors in concentration to make this process easy and quick. Clean your sprayer after every use to increase its lifespan and its productivity. Never leave your sprayer to get dry to reduce the use of additional fluids and to save your time and energy.

FAQs about Spray Gun Cleaning

Can you use paint thinner to clean the spray gun?

Yes, you can use a paint thinner to clean the dried-out paint. It works best with wet paint as you don’t have to do much to mix it with the paint. However, if the paint is stuck to the sprayer wall, add thinner and mix it by moving the tool vigorously. This way, you can melt the color quickly.

Can I leave the paint in the sprayer overnight?

You can leave paint in the spray gun, but this is not recommended as it gets thick with time and makes cleaning challenging. So if you want to use the same paint the next day, leave it without any worries but with a few precautions. Keep the sprayer indoors and in a warm place to reduce the thickening speed of paint.

How do you get dried paint out of a spray gun?

Use typical ways of cleaning a sprayer but with the addition of a few things. Add a thinner and use a brush to remove the dry paint quickly.

Why does my paint sprayer leave lines? Is it dirty?

This is not the case as the sprayer leaves a line when you set the wrong pressure. Low pressure is the culprit, put it on the right point, and you are good to go.

Do I need to clean my spray gun between coats?

It can be yes or no because it depends on the conditions. If you are going to use the same paint color and type, then there is no need to clean. However, cleaning is compulsory to get desired results in different paint types and colors.

Bottom Line of Paint Sprayer Cleaning Guide

Now you know everything you need to know about how to clean a paint sprayer. So no matter whether you have dry or wet paint left in the spray gun, you can do it by yourself with ease. However, don’t leave your spray gun to get dry. Instead, clean it immediately after use. This way, you get a brand new sprayer even after many uses.

Everything needs maintenance; similarly, the sprayer wants regular cleaning. This doesn’t only give it a clean look but also increases durability and productivity. Please keep it clean, and you take a few rounds to become a master in cleaning.

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