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How Do You Clean a Paint Sprayer (Airless/Others) – Thorough Cleaning Tips

Painting is fun, right? But the aftermath of painting is not really. Cleaning is hard when it comes to machines as there is always a chance to ruin it. But hold on, we have a guideline of steps for you to use while cleaning a paint sprayer. You can use this guide of how to clean a paint sprayer for unclogging any type of sprayer.

What is a Paint Sprayer?

A paint sprayer is a machine that conveniently applies paint over a surface of an area or a whole area without any heavy manpower. It consumes less time and hassle operating it, unlike the traditional method of painting with a brush and roller.

Types of Paint Sprayer

Generally, there are three types of paint sprayers: airless, high-volume less pressure, and compressed or pneumatic paint sprayers.

Airless Paint Sprayer

Used by professionals, this paint sprayer is used to paint a large surface like a house’s interior within record time. It draws out the paint through the tip with the help of an electric pump attached to it. There are a variety of tips to use with a variety of jobs like – wood stain, varnish, lacquer, etc.

High Volume Low-pressure Paint Sprayers

Uses a slow and steady volume to draw the paint. It is widely used for low-pressure painting, allowing users to create their own ways of painting the surface. It also helps in avoiding unnecessary waste.

Compressed Air Sprayer

Uses compressed air to draw the paint, giving a smooth finishing. They are easy to handle and are used more commonly. If you are beginner, check out how to use airless paint sprayer for a neat and flawless finish.

Things Required for Cleaning a Paint Sprayer

Be aware that not cleaning the paint sprayers soon after you finish working or keeping the sprayer too long unattended will clog up, thereby hindering the restart process. Before knowing how to clean a paint gun, let’s first check out the things required that are mentioned below.

  • Safety Gears: It is noteworthy that you know that the paint contents have chemicals on them. The toxins can attack your bloodstream and cause serious health conditions. Once you get splashed or, by chance few droplets of paint fall into your skin, it can become life-threatening.
  • Learn the Basics: Knowledge about the product you use is equally essential. Learn where and how the parts are conjoined. This will avoid any fault while cleaning the paint sprayer. You have to be cautious not to break any parts while cleaning it.
  • Guide Book: Most or all the paint sprayers come with a manual, where a part of it is set for a detailed explanation of all the parts. So, even if you miss out on any step while cleaning the sprayer, the guidebook or manual will assist you.
  • Supplies: You will also require some supplies to clean the sprayer. Although it entirely depends upon the type of sprayer you are presently using, a few supplies fit all such tools. These supplies are – Nitrile gloves, protective eyewear, protective gear, soft bristles, dust masks, paint buckets and clean water buckets.

How to Clean a Paint Sprayer?

After gathering all the items, you will have to follow some simple steps to clean out the paint sprayer.

Step 1: Pressure Release

Before getting to the cleaning part, you need to take care of certain things, like the pressure of the spray gun is necessary to be at the lowest settings. All the pent-up pressure is to be released to carry out the cleaning process more smoothly. Engage with the trigger of the gun sprayer. Keep a waste bucket near you and dip the sprayer into it. Release all the pressure by reversing the spray gun. Then turn the valve in to its prime position. This will avoid the sudden splashing of paint on your body.

Step 2: Flush the Residues

The next step to follow is eliminating any paint residues. For that, we have to open the tip of the paint gun sprayer and empty all the paint. Put the sprayer into the waste bucket. Then, change the command from prime to spray. You can also increase the pressure while continuing to flush out the paint. Slowly remove it from the bucket if you notice that the flow of the paint is fading. Now check the nozzle to see any remaining paint particles.

Step 3: Pump Cleaning

Now comes the cleaning of the pump. You have to put the sprayer into the flushing bucket to do this. Turn it on and let the flushing fluids rush. Watch closely until it’s crystal clear. Then steadily release the pressure trigger off your gun. Turn it from prime valve to prime position. Allow the fluids out of the pump. Again, if the fluids do not have any color in, it means your sprayer is almost clean.

Step 4: Gun Cleaning

Now that your pump is paint-free, your next step is to clean the gun itself. For this purpose, turn the prime valve option to the spray option. It is particularly important to switch between prime and spray and vice-versa throughout the cleaning process. It is an integral part of cleaning the sprayer. Now, after you turn it into the spray position, place it above the flushing bucket to clear up the hose.

No paint coming out means you have done a pretty good job up till now. If not, you may have to repeat some processes back to back. The next thing to move on to is engaging with the trigger lock. Like in the very first step, you should set the control knob into the lowest settings. Then turn off all the power flow. This will leave us with our last step to follow, i.e., to remove all the filters from your sprayer.

Step 5: Filter and Tips

We have finally reached the end step towards cleaning the paint sprayer. It includes removing all the filters and tip guard attached to it with the help of the flushing fluid. This is when you can use the soft bristles you equipped yourself with prior to starting the cleaning process. Then flush your sprayer with enough water. Finally, dip a cloth in water or mineral spirit to wipe the sprayer. You can use mineral spirits if you want. It will prevent the paint sprayer from corrosion in the future.


What is the best paint sprayer cleaner?

Paint sprayer from Klean Strip is the most popular and easy to clean sprayer. They provide cleaners for almost all types of paints like Latex, Oil-based and more. Mostly these cleaners are preferred to clean oil based paint from sprayers.

What to use to clean paint sprayer?

Above we mentioned basic requirements to clean paint sprayer. In addition to those, you can also use the cleaning and maintenance kit along with the sprayer cleaner. It’s not like they give the best cleaning, but they make the process easier.


Overall, beginners can learn these very simple steps to clean their paint sprayers. If you have brought a paint sprayer and have not used it yet, you must go and do it now. And if your sprayer is lying behind you waiting for a wash-up, follow the steps accordingly. Take your time and execute well. Happy cleaning!

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