How To Unclog Spray Paint Can? – Comprehensive Guide

Spray paints come in handy can packaging. A nozzle is attached to the can, allowing you to quickly and smoothly apply a paint layer on any object. However, spray paint is highly prone to clogging and can block the spray pathways and nozzle through which the dye travels.

How To Unclog Spray Paint Can?

If you don’t know how to unclog the spray paint, the remaining paint may go to waste. To help you escape this problem, I’ve composed this guide on unclogging the spray paint can.

How To Unclog Spray Paint Can?

Multiple DIY methods help you unclog the spray paint can without damaging the nozzle or altering the paint composition.

How To Unclog Spray Paint Can

1. Paint Thinner

One of the most effective ways to clear the spray paint can be using paint thinner. A thinner can dissolve clogged paint and helps you push it out of the nozzle. Old and stubborn dry paint can be easily removed with this method. Follow these steps to unclog the spray paint can with a paint thinner:

  • Take some amount of paint thinner in a bowl.
  • Soak the nozzle in paint thinner and leave it for 24 to 36 hours.
  • After 24 hours take the paint can out of a thinner and try to unclog it with a needle.
  • Place a newspaper on the floor and press the trigger to remove any remaining paint in the nozzle.
  • It will help you release the air and any remaining paint in the nozzle.

2. Warm Water

Warm water is an affordable yet effective method to clear the clogged pathways in the paint spray can. Freshly clogged cans can be cleaned with this technique. It may not work for old stubborn clogged paint in the nozzle. You can apply warm water heat either with a rag or by soaking the nozzle in the warm water. The heat will help you dissolve that paint buildup in the nozzle.

  • Take a bowl of warm water and soak the spray can nozzle in the water.
  • Water temperature will drop quickly. Replace the cold with warm water after 5 to 7 minutes. You may need to do it three to four times.
  • Water will make the thick layer in front of the nozzle soft for ease of removal.
  • After 50 to 60 minutes take the can out of the water and try to remove the paint with a needle.
  • Do not go deep down with needles as it can cause clogging issues.
  • Once the thin layer is removed, apply a stroke on the newspaper or any rough surface.
  • If the flow is smooth, you are ready to paint.

3. A Hair Dryer

Most Spray paints become soft with heat. Warm water may need to provide adequate heat consistently. So another way to apply heat to the spray can is the hair dryer. The method is proper when the paint dries up inside the nozzle. A hairdryer can supply consistent heat to the nozzle. The heat travels deep down, allowing you to clear the clogged paint from inside the nozzle.

  • Cover the surface with a drop cloth or a newspaper.
  • Place the nozzle tip right in front of the hair dryer exhaust. Make sure the spray paint is not touching the hot surface of the hair dryer.
  • The hot air dissolves the clogged paint. It promotes the flow inside the nozzle allowing you to remove the soft paint with a needle.
  • You can also detach the nozzle from the can and attach it directly to the hair dryer.
  • It is pretty easy since holding a full can of spray paint can be tiring. Also in this method, you can keep the heat setting high since the paint is not getting in touch with the heat.

4. Soaking In The Vinegar

Vinegar is another suitable solvent for paint. It is readily available and can unclog a stubborn paint buildup from the can.

  • However, you need to be very careful since vinegar can also damage the plastic nozzle.
  • Take vinegar in the bowl and soak then nozzle in it.
  • Leave it for 10-12 hours.
  • Take out the nozzle and wash it with water.
  • Apply a paint stroke to see if the paint can is fully unclogged or not. You can also use a hanger or needle to remove the paint buildup from the nozzle.

5. Using Alcohol

If you don’t have access to paint thinner, you can use alcohol to unclog the spray paint. Alcohol is one of the best paint solvents, quickly dissolving the old paint. It can unclog the nozzle that has been clogged for a long time

  • Take alcohol in a big container.
  • Soak the nozzle in the paint and leave it for 24 hours.
  • During this time, alcohol will dissolve the solid layer of the paint and will travel through the nozzle.
  • After 12 hours take the nozzle out of the alcohol and see if the paint is still there or not. If it is there you can remove the soft paint with the needle.
  • Apply a trial stroke to remove the air or any remaining buildup.

6. Replace The Clogged Nozzle

95% of paint clogging issues are found in nozzles. Depending upon paint composition, you may be unable to unclog the nozzle. Epoxy and enamel spray paints form tough, stubborn buildup that you can’t remove with a paint thinner or chemical. You may damage the nozzle if you try too hard with a needle. This case can only be resolved by replacing the nozzle.

You can replace the nozzle with the nozzle of any other empty can. You can recycle the nozzles of the empty spray cans for this purpose. Use the same brand of nozzles whenever possible. However, you may find a fully compatible option in off-brand can also.

7. Using A Needle

Spray paint cans can be unclogged with nozzles. However, you should be very careful while using the needle as it can damage the nozzle leading to leakage issues. I do not recommend going very deep in the nozzle with a needle. However, you can insert a thin needle into the upper part of the nozzle. If the paint is too hard, it is recommended to apply heat to make it soft. A swirling motion will help remove the dry paint from the pathways.

8. Shake The Can

To open a freshly clogged spray paint you can use this hack. When you spray the paint by keeping the can upside down, the paint pushes clogged paint out of the nozzle. This method may not work for thick and dry buildup in the nozzle.

9. Spray The Can Upside Down

To open a freshly clogged spray paint you can use this hack. When you spray the paint by keeping the can upside down, the paint pushes clogged paint out of the nozzle. This method may not work for thick and dry build-up in the nozzle.

10. Hitting The Bottom Of The Spray Can

In the case of water-based spray paints, a pigment buildup is formed at the bottom. It doesn’t dissolve in the solvent even when you shake the can. In this case, you must hit the bottom to help the pigment mix with the water. You can use a hammer or any other hard object to remove the buildup from the bottom. After hitting the bottom, shake the can well to form a smooth consistency.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Way To Unclog A Spray Paint Can?

Lacquer thinner works best for unclogging spray paint. Soak the paint nozzle in the paint thinner and leave it for 24 hours. As a result, the paint will dissolve, allowing removal from the nozzle to be easier. After 24 hours, you can remove the paint with a needle.

Why Do Aerosol Cans Stop Spraying?

Aerosol spray can stop spraying if the nozzle or cap is clogged. Also, it stops spraying if no more fuel is in the can.

How Do You Fix Spray Paint?

Shake the can well or hit its bottom with a hammer to remove the bubbling. Clogged nozzles can still prevent it from working. You can unclog the nozzle by soaking it in paint thinner or alcohol. Also, you can replace the nozzle.

How Do I Know If My Spray Can Nozzle Is Clogged?

It might have clogged if they can feel a little hard to shake. Also, if the paint isn’t coming in a smooth stream, you may have a clogged nozzle.

Wrapping Up

Spray paint can get clogged if you leave them open in the air. The paint gets dried in the nozzle and blocks the paint way. You must clean the nozzle well with a paint thinner or alcohol to avoid clogging issues. Also, you should keep the paint covered to prevent clogging issues. I’m hopeful this guide will help you unclog the spray paint can.

We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund MechanicsGear. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!

Leave a Comment