How to Clean Spray Paint Gun: Pro Tips and Techniques!


Cleaning a spray paint gun is a crucial part of the painting process, whether you’re a professional painter or a DIY enthusiast. Keeping your spray gun clean and in good working order is important for two reasons. First, it ensures that you consistently achieve high-quality results. Second, it helps extend the lifespan of your equipment.

In this guide, we’ll talk the important steps to clean a spray paint gun well. Whether you use oil-based, water-based, or automotive paint, understanding how to clean your spray gun correctly is key!

It will ensure to preventing clogs, blockages, and ensuring the longevity of your spray gun. So, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of how to clean a spray paint gun and maintain its performance.

How to Clean Spray Paint Gun: A Step-by-Step Guide!

How to Clean Spray Paint Gun
How to Clean Spray Paint Gun

Cleaning a spray paint gun is essential to ensure that it continues to work effectively and to prevent clogs or damage. Here’s a general guide on how to clean a spray paint gun:

Materials you’ll need:

  1. Cleaning solvent (usually provided by the paint manufacturer)
  2. Cleaning brushes or dental picks
  3. Safety equipment (gloves, safety glasses, and a well-ventilated area)
  4. A bucket or container for waste disposal
  5. Compressed air (optional)
  6. Lubricating oil (if recommended by the manufacturer)

Step-by-step instructions:

01. Safety First:

Always wear appropriate safety gear, including gloves and safety glasses. Work in a well-ventilated area or use a paint booth if possible.

02. Disassemble the Gun:

Carefully disassemble the spray gun according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Usually, this involves removing the nozzle, needle, air cap, and fluid passages.

03. Empty the Paint Cup:

Pour out any remaining paint in the paint cup and dispose of it properly.

04. Rinse with Solvent:

Use a cleaning solvent recommended by the paint manufacturer. Pour some solvent into the paint cup, and then attach the cup to the gun as if you were going to spray. Trigger the gun to allow the solvent to flow through the gun’s components. Do this until the solvent comes out clean.

05. Clean the Components:

Remove the nozzle, needle, and air cap. Use cleaning brushes or dental picks to clean any dried paint or residue from these parts. Pay special attention to the nozzle and needle, as any residue here can cause clogs.

06. Soak in Solvent:

Place the disassembled parts in a container filled with solvent and allow them to soak for a period of time as recommended by the manufacturer. This will help dissolve any stubborn paint residue.

07. Rinse Again:

After soaking, rinse the parts with solvent again to ensure they are thoroughly clean.

08. Blow Out with Compressed Air (Optional):

If available, use compressed air to blow out any remaining solvent and debris from the gun components.

09. Inspect for Residue:

Visually inspect all components to ensure there is no paint or solvent residue left. Use a flashlight to check the fluid passages.

10. Lubrication (if required):

Some spray guns require lubrication of specific parts. Refer to your gun’s manual for guidance on where and how to apply lubricant.

11. Reassemble the Gun:

Carefully reassemble the spray gun according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

12. Test Spray:

Before using the spray gun for your next painting job, perform a test spray to ensure it’s working correctly and that there are no clogs or issues.

13. Dispose of Waste Properly:

Dispose of any used cleaning solvents and waste in accordance with your local regulations.

Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for your specific spray gun model, as cleaning procedures can vary. Proper maintenance will extend the life of your spray gun and help you achieve better results when painting.

Spray Gun Cleaning Kit:

A spray gun cleaning kit typically includes a set of tools and solvents designed to help you clean and maintain your spray gun effectively. These kits can vary in terms of the specific components they include, but common items often found in such kits are:

Spray Gun Cleaning Kit Component List

Reasons to Use the Cleaning Kit

Advantages of Using the Cleaning Kit

Extra-Long Pick-Up Tube Brush

Thorough Cleaning: Ensures every part of the spray gun is thoroughly cleaned.

User-Friendly: The kit is designed for easy use and does not require specialized skills or knowledge.

Small Detail Brush

Maintains Performance: Regular use extends the spray gun's lifespan.

Time-Saving: Cleaning your spray gun efficiently with this kit saves you time, allowing you to complete projects faster.

Medium Detail Brush

Prevents Clogs: Removes residue and ensures a consistent spray pattern.

Versatility: Suitable for various spray gun models and types.

Spray Gun Cavity Brush

Quality Assurance: Consistently delivers high-quality finishes.

Improved Efficiency: Enhances the spray gun's efficiency.

Detail End Brush

Prolongs Equipment Life: Regular cleaning with this kit extends the life of your spray gun, reducing the need for costly replacements.

Durability: Extends the spray gun's life, saving money.

Nylon Bristle Parts Brush

Enhances Safety: Keeps your spray gun in optimal condition, reducing the risk of malfunctions that can lead to accidents.

Cost Savings: By prolonging the life of your spray gun and reducing material waste, it ultimately saves you money.

5-pc. Micro Brush Set

Economical: Using the kit is cost-effective, as it reduces the consumption of paint and materials by preventing uneven spraying.

Maintenance Consistency: Ensures that your spray gun is consistently maintained, eliminating downtime caused by unexpected issues.

6-pc. Precision Needle Set

Environmental Benefits: By preventing clogs and ensuring efficient use, it minimizes the waste of paint and solvents, making it environmentally friendly.

Professional Reputation: Consistently achieving professional results with a well-maintained spray gun enhances your reputation in the industry.

Storage Tube

NOTE: It's important to choose a kit that is compatible with the type of paint and spray gun you're using. Proper cleaning and maintenance can extend the life of your equipment and improve the quality of your work.

Can You Clean a Paint Gun with Water?

Cleaning a paint gun with water is generally not recommended, especially if the paint used is oil-based or solvent-based. Water might work for water-based paints, but for other types, it is ineffective. The reason is that oil-based and solvent-based paints do not mix well with water.

Attempting to clean a paint gun with water can lead to several issues, including incomplete removal of paint residue, clogs, and potential damage to the gun’s internal components. To properly clean a paint gun, it is advisable to use a cleaning solvent specifically designed for the type of paint being used.

These solvents are formulated to dissolve and remove paint residues effectively, ensuring the gun’s longevity and optimal performance. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning your specific paint gun to maintain its efficiency and achieve the best results.

What Liquid Do You Use to Clean a Spray Gun?

The liquid you use to clean a spray gun depends on the type of paint you’ve been using. Different paints require different cleaning solvents. Here are some common cleaning solutions for spray guns:

  1. Mineral Spirits or Paint Thinner: These solvents are suitable for cleaning oil-based paints, enamels, and varnishes. They effectively dissolve and remove oil-based paint residues.
  2. Acetone: Acetone is a strong solvent suitable for cleaning certain types of paints, but it can be harsh on some spray gun components, so use it sparingly and with caution.
  3. Lacquer Thinner: Lacquer thinner is commonly used for cleaning lacquer-based paints and clear coats. It helps dissolve and remove lacquer and other solvent-based paint residues.
  4. Water: Water is suitable for cleaning water-based or latex paints. However, you may need to use warm soapy water or a specific water-based paint cleaner to effectively remove water-based paint residues.
  5. Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA): IPA can be used to clean some water-based paints, and it’s often used to clean automotive finishes before painting. It’s also less harsh on certain spray gun components.

Always check the paint manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate cleaning solution, as using the wrong solvent can damage your spray gun or not effectively remove paint residue. Additionally, make sure to follow proper safety precautions and dispose of cleaning solvents in accordance with local regulations.

What Is the Best Thing to Clean a Paint Spray Gun With?

The best thing to clean a paint spray gun with depends on the type of paint you’ve been using. To ensure effective and safe cleaning, it’s essential to use the cleaning solution recommended by the paint manufacturer for the specific type of paint you’re working with. Generally, for cleaning spray guns, you might use:

  • Mineral Spirits or Paint Thinner: These are suitable for cleaning oil-based paints, enamels, and varnishes.
  • Lacquer Thinner: Ideal for cleaning lacquer-based paints and clear coats.
  • Water or Isopropyl Alcohol: Use these for water-based or latex paints, although you may need warm soapy water or a water-based paint cleaner for effective cleaning.

Choosing the right cleaning solution ensures that you thoroughly remove paint residues and prevent clogs or damage to the spray gun. Proper maintenance of your spray gun will help extend its lifespan and maintain its performance.

FAQ about Cleaning a Paint Spray Gun:

1. Can I use paint thinner to clean my spray gun?

  • Yes, paint thinner is commonly used to clean spray guns, especially for oil-based paints. It’s effective at dissolving and removing paint residues.

2. How do I clean an electric paint spray gun?

  • Cleaning an electric paint spray gun involves disassembling it, using the appropriate cleaning solvent for the type of paint you used, and cleaning the gun’s components thoroughly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific model.

3. How do I clean a spray gun nozzle?

  • To clean a spray gun nozzle, remove it from the gun and soak it in an appropriate cleaning solvent. Use brushes and cleaning tools to remove any paint residue. Ensure it’s completely clean before reassembling.

4. What should I use to clean an automotive paint gun?

  • For automotive paint guns, it’s essential to use the recommended cleaning solvent by the paint manufacturer, which is often specific to automotive finishes.

5. How do I clean a spray gun used for water-based paint?

  • To clean a spray gun used for water-based paint, use warm soapy water or a water-based paint cleaner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for thorough cleaning.

6. What solvent should I use to clean HVLP spray guns?

  • HVLP (High Volume, Low Pressure) spray guns are commonly cleaned using the appropriate cleaning solvent recommended by the paint manufacturer. This can vary depending on the type of paint used.

7. How do you clean a paint sprayer after use?

  • After use, disassemble the paint sprayer, remove paint residues, and clean all components with the appropriate cleaning solvent. Reassemble the sprayer, perform a test spray, and store it properly.

8. How to clean a spray paint gun for a car?

  • Cleaning a spray paint gun for automotive applications involves disassembling the gun, using the recommended cleaning solvent, and cleaning all components, including the nozzle, thoroughly. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines is crucial for effective cleaning and maintaining the gun’s performance.


For achieve professional painting results, it is important to properly maintain and clean your spray paint gun. To keep your spray gun in good condition, clean it regularly based on the paint you use. This prevents clogs and damage and makes your equipment last longer.

To keep your spray gun in good condition for future projects, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Use the right cleaning solvents and tools. To stay safe while cleaning, wear protective gear and work in a well-ventilated area.

If you’re an experienced or beginner spray painter, knowing how to clean a spray paint gun is crucial for professional results. So, keep your equipment clean, your paint jobs flawless, and your creativity flowing.

Resource Note:

For comprehensive insights into mastering spray paint guns, visit our guide on “Spray Paint Gun Techniques.” Learn expert tips on achieving smooth finishes, controlling overspray, and selecting the right paints. Perfect your spray painting skills and enhance your projects with our in-depth resources:

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