How to Unclog Spray Paint Can: 4 Simple Methods!


As a spray painting lover, I’ve had my fair share of clogged spray paint cans. It’s a frustrating experience, but it’s also one that can be easily fixed.

In this article, I’ll share my experience and tips on how was I unclog a spray paint can, also, why it happens, and some tips on how to prevent it. So, let’s dive into the unclogging spray paint cans methods and restore your creative flow.

What Causes Spray Paint Cans to Clog?

Understanding what causes these clogs is the first step in preventing and addressing the issue. Here are some of the primary reasons spray paint cans clog:

Spray paint cans can clog for two main reasons:

  • Settled pigment: If you don’t shake the can well enough before using it, the pigment can settle at the bottom of the can. When you go to spray, this settled pigment can clog the nozzle.
  • Blocked nozzle: If you don’t wipe the nozzle off after each use, the paint can dry and clog the tip.

Other factors that can contribute to spray paint can clogs include:

  • Inadequate Mixing: Shake the can thoroughly for even paint distribution.
  • Dried Paint Residue: Accumulated dried paint in the nozzle obstructs the flow.
  • Nozzle Design: Poorly designed nozzles are more prone to clogging.
  • Close Proximity: Maintain the correct distance to prevent nozzle buildup.
  • Wrong Paint Type: Use the right paint for your project to avoid clogs.
  • Impurities: Foreign particles or clumps in the paint can block the nozzle.
  • Temperature and Humidity: Extreme conditions can affect the paint’s consistency and cause clogs.
  • Expired Paint: Using old or expired paint can lead to clogs.

Now that we understand what causes spray paint cans to clog, in the next section of our blog post, I’ll delve into practical techniques for unclogging them.

How to Unclog Spray Paint Can: Easy Guide No More Clogs!

How to Unclog Spray Paint Can
How to Unclog Spray Paint Can

Depending on the clogged reason, there are four ways to unclog a spray paint. The best method will depend on the severity of the clog.

Method 1: Clean the nozzle

The most common cause of a clogged spray paint can is dried paint on the nozzle. To unclog this type of clog:

  1. Remove the nozzle from the can.
  2. Soak the nozzle in warm water for a few minutes.
  3. Use a needle or other small object to clear any dried paint from the nozzle.
  4. Rinse the nozzle with clean water and dry it thoroughly.
  5. Reattach the nozzle to the can.

Method 2: Use a solvent

If the nozzle is severely clogged, I may need to soak it in a solvent such as mineral spirits or acetone. This will help to dissolve any dried paint and make it easier to remove:

  1. Remove the nozzle from the can.
  2. Soak the nozzle in a solvent such as mineral spirits or acetone for a few minutes.
  3. Use a needle or other small object to clear any dried paint from the nozzle.
  4. Rinse the nozzle with clean water and dry it thoroughly.
  5. Reattach the nozzle to the can.
It's important to note that solvents can damage the nozzle, so I only use this method as a last resort

Method 3: Use compressed air

  1. Remove the nozzle from the can.
  2. Use a can of compressed air to blow out any dried paint from the nozzle.
  3. Reattach the nozzle to the can.

Method 4: Replace the nozzle

If the nozzle is severely clogged or damaged, you may need to replace it. New nozzles are available at most hardware stores and online stores like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay.

My experience

The last time my spray paint can clogged, I tried the first method (cleaning the nozzle) and it worked perfectly. I simply removed the nozzle from the can, soaked it in warm water for a few minutes, and used a needle to clear any dried paint. Once the nozzle was clean, I rinsed it with water, dried it thoroughly, and reattached it to the can.

I know that spray paint can clogs can be frustrating, but I hope that my tips help you to unclog your spray paint can quickly and easily.

Please Note: If you can't unclog your spray paint can still now by following the above-mentioned methods, please consult the manufacturer's instructions.

Tips for Preventing Spray Paint Can Clogs!

Dealing with a clogged spray paint can be a real hassle, but you can avoid this issue with some proactive steps. Here are some tips for preventing spray paint can clogs:

1. Thoroughly Shake the Can:

Always start by giving the spray paint can a good shake. This step is vital for ensuring that the paint inside is well-mixed. Inadequate mixing can lead to uneven distribution and potential clogs.

2. Wipe the Nozzle After Each Use:

After completing your painting session, take a moment to wipe the nozzle clean. This simple act prevents any residual paint from drying and obstructing the nozzle, ensuring it remains clear and ready for the next use.

3. Select the Right Paint:

It’s essential to choose the correct type of spray paint for your specific project. Different paints are formulated for various applications, so using the right one can significantly reduce the chances of clogs.

4. Mind the Temperature:

Spray paint functions best within a specific temperature range. Avoid using it in extreme heat or cold, as temperature fluctuations can affect the paint’s viscosity and increase the risk of clogging. Stick to moderate temperatures for optimal results.

5. Maintain Proper Spray Distance:

Holding the spray can at the recommended distance from the surface you’re working on is crucial. Holding it too close can lead to paint buildup on the nozzle, which can quickly lead to clogs. Always refer to the product’s instructions for the ideal spray distance.

6. Spray in a Ventilated Area:

Painting in a well-ventilated space not only helps you avoid inhaling fumes but also prevents the buildup of paint particles in the nozzle and around the spray area, reducing the likelihood of clogs.

By following these preventive measures and maintaining good practices, you can enjoy a smoother and more efficient spray painting experience, free from the inconvenience of clogged spray paint cans.

What Are the Common Spray Can Problems?

By addressing common Spray Can Problems and learning how to prevent them, you can ensure a smoother and more enjoyable spray painting experience. Here’s a table with the Spray Can Problem including Causes and solutions:

 Spray Can Problem

Problem Causes

 Problem Solution


Dried paint or debris obstructs the nozzle.

Remove the nozzle, clean it, and use paint thinner.

Uneven Spray

Poor mixing of paint leads to inconsistent spray.

Shake the can thoroughly before use.

Drips and Runs

Excess paint accumulates due to heavy spraying or impatience.

Spray in thin, even coats, and be patient between layers.


Contaminants like oil or silicone on the surface.

Clean the surface thoroughly before painting.


Holding the can too close to the surface or strong wind.

Maintain the recommended distance and spray on calm days.

Orange Peel Texture

High humidity or improper spraying technique.

Spray in a controlled environment with proper technique.


Moisture trapped under the paint during application.

Ensure surfaces are dry and free of moisture before painting.

Adhesion Issues

Poor surface preparation or incompatible materials.

Properly prepare the surface and use compatible materials.

Nozzle Jamming

Accumulated dried paint or a damaged nozzle.

Clean the nozzle and ensure it's in good condition.

Color Mismatch

Variation in paint brands or improper mixing.

Use consistent paint brands and mix thoroughly.

NOTE: If you encounter any of these issues and are unsure about resolving them, it's advisable to seek guidance from a professional spray painter for the best results.


To sum up, I explored four proven methods and prevention tips to unclog your Spray Paint can with my previous experience. Each of these methods can be a lifesaver when faced with a clogged spray paint can. 

Remember regular maintenance, such as shaking the can before use and cleaning the nozzle and clean the cap after each spray session, can prevent clogs from happening.

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