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How To Clean A Paint Sprayer

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How To Clean A Paint Sprayer

Image credit: Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III, Kunsan Air Base

The convenience of a paint sprayer can be sharply undermined by the cleaning process. Best practices strongly suggest that a paint sprayer be cleaned swiftly and thoroughly immediately after use.

If you do the job poorly, your paint sprayer will clog up, and eventually break altogether. Fortunately, cleaning a paint sprayer does not have to be intimidating. In the guide below, we highlight how to do the job properly. Read on for a guide on how to clean your paint sprayer!

Check for Special Features

If you’re lucky, you might find that your paint sprayer has special features that make the cleaning process easier.

Perhaps the best of these is a hose port. With this feature, you can simply connect the system directly to your garden hose to flush out the tubes.

Every sprayer will be a little different, but usually, the hose port works by running water through the sprayer until it comes back out clean. You’ll still need to clean out the tips and sprayer guns, but the port does make it easier to do a good thorough job.

paint sprayer gun

Image credit: Airman 1st Class Jonathan McElderry, 20th Air Force

Remove the Hose

Remove the hose from the sprayer and place it in a bucket of water. You may then pull the trigger to flush out any unused paint and clear the gunk out of the tubes.

Disassemble the Spray Gun

Next, it’s time to disassemble the spray gun. If you’re unsure how to do so, the instruction manual should explain the process adequately.

Once the gun has been disassembled, fill a bucket with water (if you’ve been using latex paint) or lacquer paint thinner (for oil-based paints). Place the disassembled gun into the solution and allow it to soak.

If you notice paint on the sides of the sprayer itself, you may also take this as an opportunity to rub down the unit with a rag and paint thinner. If you go this route, just be sure to wear protective gloves, as paint thinner can be very harsh on your skin.

disassembled spray gun

image credit: Tim Charzinski, Wikimedia

Go Over the Paint Sprayer with a Paintbrush

Kind of ironic that a paintbrush makes it way onto the scene, huh? Naturally, the spray gun is where the majority of dry paint accumulates. After soaking the solution in water or paint thinner, you should find that the residual paint can be lifted with relative ease.

Gently rub the bristles over the sprayer until the paint lifts. Once you have completed this part of the process, you can dispose of the paint remover.

paint brush

Image credit: CC0 Public Domain, Pxhere

Storing the Paint Sprayer

Storing your paint gun is an important aspect of the maintenance process. It’s actually quite simple, but it also is an area in which many paint sprayer owners make mistakes. The instinct is just to tuck the sprayer into the garage somewhere. While this approach may be fine, it can also bite you in the butt if you don’t use the sprayer all the time.

Many paint sprayer owners who tuck the sprayer away for a long period of time keep chemical storage solutions in the system when it’s not in use, to keep the parts from seizing up. Unless you’re a professional, chances are pretty good that long periods of time may pass between uses of the paint sprayer. If that reflects your situation, solutions such as Glychal may keep the paint sprayer in working order until you use it next.

Before you introduce a new chemical to the paint sprayer, it may help to see if the manufacturer has any recommendations.

storing spray gun

Image credit: Noordbizz, Needpix


Every sprayer is a little different. The steps illustrated above will provide you with enough information to tackle the job efficiently. However, it’s also always a good idea to check the instruction manual to find out what measures the manufacturer recommends. It may provide its own steps for cleaning the sprayer or even recommend special solutions and cleaners.

Just remember to keep up with your maintenance. It’s much easier to clean a sprayer directly after a painting session than it is to try to unclog it later.