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How to Clean a Paint Sprayer in 10 Easy Steps

Did you recently update your home cabinets, walls, and interior finishes? Maybe instead, you refreshed your deck, fence, or patio? Now the hard work’s done, and you’re stuck with a paint sprayer full of paint. In this post, let us show you the proper steps on how to clean a paint sprayer and prepare it for proper storage.

Clean paint sprayer

Using our easy step-by-step guide, you’ll not only find the best ways how to clean a paint sprayer but learn additional maintenance tips to keep paint from drying in your sprayer, nozzles, and tips. Finally, you’ll be pleased to have a “good as new” sprayer ready to take on your next DIY projects.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

DIY Painting Guide: How to Clean a Paint Sprayer

Step 1: Getting Started

How to Clean a Paint Sprayer: What You Need to Know

First, before discussing how to clean a paint sprayer, we can’t stress enough the importance of setting up cleaning buckets and paint cleaning stations ahead of time.

You’ll also need to keep your health in mind when working with any paints. Not taking proper precautions could expose you to severe health conditions. In addition, paint fumes are detrimental to your lungs, eyes, and skin over time, so practice safety when performing any DIY home projects.

How to Avoid Damaging Your Paint Sprayer

Learning how to clean a paint sprayer immediately after projects is essential. Leaving sprayers dirty too long risks paint residue and jamming. Waiting could also cause your sprayer to run improperly altogether. Instead, take good care of your tools, and they will provide you with years of use.

Always Wear Protective Clothes

When it comes to learning how to clean a paint sprayer properly, always remember to wear protective gear. Protective wear will keep you from ruining your clothes and also protect you from loosely flying paint droplets.

Step 2: Following the Manual

Next, know what to look for when purchasing a paint sprayer. An important question to ask is, is this paint sprayer easy to use and overall user-friendly? You’ll need to know how to clean a paint sprayer after every use and, most importantly, how to clean a paint sprayer between paint changes.

Always learn how to use your tools and materials before beginning any painting project. You never want to be in the midst of a project, covered in paint, and second-guessing the usage of your tools.

Have a Manual Close By for Additional Information

Even after closely studying your paint sprayer manual, we recommend having it close by if you run into any issues. Most manuals will show you how to disassemble and how to clean a paint sprayer and give it any additional deep cleaning.

A woman reading a manual on how to clean a paint sprayer

Step 3: List of Supplies Needed

Supplies and Materials

Step 4: Pressure Relief Procedure

After studying your manual, learning how to clean a paint sprayer in theory, getting to know your tools, gathering all your materials, and putting on your safety gear, you’re ready to begin! But, first, start by performing this pressure relief test.

Steps to Perform a Pressure Relief Test

1. Engage the paint gun trigger guard to avoid spraying yourself on accident

2. Turn off the gun by bringing the pressure down to the lowest possible setting.

3. Reverse the pattern of the sprayer by disengaging the trigger lock.

4. Point your sprayer in a paint bucket and pull the trigger. Keep holding the trigger down until all the built-up pressures are released; then, your spray gun is safe to clean!

5. At the end of your cleaning process, re-engage the trigger lock by turning the valve back to prime or drain. Finally, allow your sprayer to air-dry and safely store it away for the next project!

Step 5: Flush Coatings

Next, when it comes to the following steps on how to clean a paint sprayer, you’ll want to perform flush coatings. To do this, first, remove all the spray tips and guards from your paint sprayer. Next, take off the fluid intake and drain tubes.

Place the fluid intake into your flushing liquid and turn the prime valve to your paint gun’s spray option. Next, increase the pressure by pulling the gun’s trigger on the sprayer. Finally, when the paint flow ends and flushing fluid appears, it’s safe to turn off your machine and let go of the trigger.

Step 6: Cleaning The Pump

The next step of how to clean a paint sprayer properly is cleaning the sprayer’s pump. To do this, move your spray gun to a flushing bucket. Next, turn on the switch and cycle the pump until you find your flushing liquid clear.

Then, you’ll need to turn the switch off and release the paint spray gun’s trigger. Finally, put the prime valve into position and allow the flushing liquid to circulate. You’ll need to watch for the fluid coming out of the drain tube to be completely clear to confirm completion.

Step 7: Cleaning the Gun, Tips, and Nozzles

How to Clean the Paint Sprayer Gun

When it comes to knowing how to clean a paint sprayer, you’ll need to know how to clean the gun properly. The spray gun has ounces, even gallons of paint entering through, causing a need for deep cleaning. However, a thoroughly cleaned spray gun helps avoid future clogs and a mixture of dried-up paint pieces that could carry into your new fresh paint applications.

First, turn the prime valve to the spraying position. Next, turn the machine on and use the trigger to flush out the hose. You can now release the trigger and re-apply the trigger lock. Then, switch your pressure control knob to its lowest pressure setting possible. First, unplug the machine and remove all your filters that need to be cleaned. Once you’ve removed all the filters, use a soft bristle brush, such as a toothbrush, and give the filters a deep cleaning.

How to Easily Clean The Tips and Nozzles

When it comes to the ease of learning how to clean a paint sprayer gun’s tips and nozzles, follow these easy steps! First, you’ll want to use a flushing fluid to clean all the tips and tip guards by using a soft bristle brush and give your parts a look over for any damages.

A paint sprayer nozzle

Then, finish the deep cleaning by flushing the parts with water. If you feel these parts need more assistance and you have stubbornly dried on paint, add a dose of mineral spirits or pump armor. These custom cleaners clean and leave behind protective coatings. Using flushing fluids also lowers the risks of corrosion or freezing over time and use.

Step 8: Cleaning Various Airless Spray Gun Filters

Airless Sprayers: Semi-Pro vs. Pro Sprayer Filters

When it comes to airless sprayers, you’ll traditionally see two to three filters on a semi-pro. On a pro sprayer, however, let’s discuss the types included.

Suction Filter– The suction filter on your sprayer can be found at the end of a suction hose submerged into the material.

Manifold Filter- You can find The Manifold Filter inside your paint sprayer on either the left or right side of the sprayer itself.

Pencil Gun Filter– Finally, you can find the pencil gun filter located on the handle of an airless spray gun.

Put on goggles, a mask, and gloves, to clean these filters, then wipe away any leftover bits in your filters using an old stiff brush.

Step 9: Extra Maintenance For Multi-day Uses and Long Breaks

Clearing Out Leftover Paint Residue

When clearing out leftover paint residue in your paint sprayer, never allow the paint to sit in a sprayer for long. Paint will, unfortunately, dry inside quickly, which then leads to a whole series of issues. If you need to use your paint sprayer for several days, put your intake hose into a bucket of water for latex paints or lacquer thinner for oil-based paints.

Remember, evaporation of liquids and corrosive processes leads to adhesion and your inlet and outlet valves sticking, which interferes with the functions and the suction over time, so leaving paint behind too long is never recommended.

Using Over Time and Extended Breaks

Avoiding issues over time and preserving your sprayer are crucial steps when it comes to how to clean a paint sprayer. You can use various care products that come diluted with water by sucking them up into the sprayer and sucked up into the sprayer. Extended breaks and multi-day uses are possible using these specific care products, which remain inside the sprayer and preserve your sprayer’s pump.

Step 10: How to Clean an Airless Paint Sprayer

Finally, we will discuss how to clean a paint sprayer that’s airless. Air sprayers are different from traditional paint sprayers. Above we talked about cleaning the filters, but let’s look at how to clean the actual machine.

An airless paint sprayer nozzle that needs to be cleaned.

First, make sure you attend to all parts of your sprayer. Next, clean out water-soluble paint and spray materials with lukewarm tap water.

Set up cleaning buckets and put the suction in one bucket, allowing water to drain. Pump the remaining paint into the other bucket at low pressure using the prime pump. Then, clean the filters and sleeves of your airless sprayer. Finally, scrub down any nozzles or tips using a soft bristle brush.

Wrapping Up How to Clean a Paint Sprayer

After reading this guide, you’ll know how to clean a paint sprayer correctly and what tools you need for the job. This step-by-step guide should have also provided you with adequate knowledge to clean, deep clean, and maintain all types of sprayers.

If you’re still debating which type of sprayer to purchase, check out these articles on the Best Airless Paint Sprayers and the Best HVLP Paint Sprayers on the market to help you decide what’s right for your project and budget.