How to Clean Airbrush Image

How to Clean an Airbrush Between Colors? – Aftercare for Professional Finish

To color a surface smoothly, every creator must need a tool to do the job perfectly. This is where the airbrush satisfies your purpose in coloring any surface you need. When you connect the airbrush with the air compressor, its liquid splashes out on the surface as tiny droplets. This mechanism is called atomization. You will get smooth blends, perfect coating, and gentle gradients that a standard Airbrush can give you with atomization. But all you have to do is regular maintainance of airbrush. To know how to clean airbrush go further.

Airbrush maintenance is essential not to encounter spray issues whenever working on it. For optimal working, regular cleaning of an airbrush is mandatory because you have to make an expensive investment when purchasing a new quality Airbrush. After each use of the airbrush, it is necessary to clean it. If you want a deep clean, disassemble the airbrush by removing its parts individually, thus removing the residual paint present.

Tools Required to Clean the Airbrush

There are specific tools needed to clean your airbrush for uninterrupted working. There are some professional airbrush cleaning kits available in the market for effective cleaning. Some of the necessities are:

  • Tools that are needed to assemble and unassemble the airbrush.
  • For dipping and cleaning purposes, you need airbrush cleaners or water.
  • Different airbrush cleaning brushes should be of different sizes.
  • Airless spray tip cleaning needles to clean the nozzle.
  • To clean the ink-duck, certain utensils are required.
  • Cotton cloth, cotton wipes, or cellulose cloth to wipe out the paint or clean the parts.

Some of the tools are:

  • Air Filter – The air filter and the moisture trap acts as a protector by not allowing the water or the particles that can cause damage to your work. Filter attached to your airbrush not only helps in protection from unnecessary particles but also gives ease to your airbrush by extending the grip.
  • Mini Filter – The mini filter helps deal with the issues of excess water and the particles that get settled down.
  • Airbrush Cleaning Kit – It consists of different varieties of cleaning brushes.
  • Sculpting Tool – This tool helps get the paint out in the critical areas at the time of cleaning.
  • Cleaning Brushes – The brushes come with the metal wire bent so that it won’t cause any damage such as scratches to the parts of the airbrush. The brushes must be small to move deep inside the nozzle and the paint part of the airbrush.
  • Airbrush Cleaning Pot – It has a filter on the top side. Blowing out the paint, which is present in the airbrush, and via dumping cleaning, the paint is done with the help of this cleaning pot.

How to Clean Airbrush?

It is a must to know the flow of paint to do a neat clean. The paint starts to flow into the airbrush from the paint reservoir, which comes out via the head assembly. It is a must to clean your airbrush before the paint dries. Also, the paint will get splashed around the tip of the needle. Ensure that these areas are kept clean for optimal performance. Before you start cleaning, refer to the user manual for disassembling the individual parts carefully without causing any parts to get lost or damaged.

How to Disassemble and Clean an Airbrush Gun?

  1. Remove the needle first. Try to pull out the needle to avoid unnecessary mistakes safely.
  2. As a next step, remove the nozzle part and the airhead of the airbrush.
  3. Note that if the nozzle part does not connect with the plug, a unique tool is needed to remove it.
  4. The operating lever, needle chuck, and paint container will remain safely in the airbrush.
  5. Once the above steps are done, clean each part with airbrush cleaner, cotton swabs, brushes (it may be gravity feed brush, or siphon feed brush or other brushes), and cloth without putting too much pressure on the parts as they may get damaged if too much pressure is applied.
  6. For stubborn paints, insert the metal parts into the airbrush cleaner for a deep clean.

Airbrush Maintenance After Every Paint Session

  1. As a first step, remove your airbrush from the air source.
  2. The back handle should be removed by unscrewing it. It should be placed on the cleaning mat or any safe surface that stops parts’ from rolling.
  3. The nut for the needle chuck has to be loosened and removed by your hand.
  4. Now, the needle is ready to get pulled out. Pull it. It is to be noted that the needle will be very sharp and delicate. Handle it with proper care.
  5. Wipe the needle with the airbrush cleaner and focus on its points. Cleaning of the needle from front to back should not be done. It may result in injuries for the user and damage to the needle.

Cleaning Airbrush is a must whenever you change the colors and whenever you quit the pain session. For the cleaning process, follow the steps given below:

How to Clean Gravity-Feed Brushes?

  1. If your airbrush has a color cup in it, try to remove or dispose of the remaining or excess paint present in the color cup.
  2. Wipe out the color cup using a brush with an Airbrush cleaner (anything you prefer) for better results.
  3. Take a spray-out pot and spray the airbrush cleaner or the water in the airbrush. Repeat the process till the spray gets clearer in the airbrush. The alternate option for using a spray-out pot is a paper towel.

How to Clean Siphon-Feed Brushes?

  1. There will be a paint bottle at the bottom of your airbrush. Remove the paint bottle and insert a clean bottle filled with airbrush cleaner or water in it.
  2. Take a spray-out and make sure to spray the water or airbrush cleaning solution in it until the spray gets clearer.

Once the above steps are completed, fill your airbrush with a new color, and now it is good to go. Similarly, cleaning has to be done whenever you quit a paint session (removing the needle and cleaning it). Now, if you want to end the airbrush session, follow the below steps:

  1. Try to push the needle and make it come back to its place.
  2. A complete stop says that the needle is fully seated in its place.
  3. Tighten the nut of the needle chuck.
  4. Plug your airbrush into the air source after reassembling your airbrush.
  5. Ensure that the needle is fully seated, fill the color cup with water, and push the main lever in the downward direction.
  6. If the water gets sprayed out of your needle, the needle is not completely seated.
  7. The water should be sprayed when you pull the lever back.
  8. Finally, tighten the nut in the needle chuck if no water gets sprayed out.

At times, your airbrush not spraying paint evenly there are chances of clogging. At such times, keep the airbrush disassembled and place your needle on a safe surface like a cleaning mat and do the following steps described below:

How to Unclog an Airbrush Nozzle?

  1. First, remove the nozzle. Then clean the nozzle and the caps thoroughly.
  2. Clean the paint passage.
  3. Finally, clean the outer side of the airbrush.
  4. Finally, reassemble all the airbrush parts and try to lubricate the airbrush.

Now, let us discuss each of the above steps in detail:

How to Remove the Nozzle?

  1. Remove the screw from the needle and nozzle cap.
  2. For compression-fit nozzle airbrushes, try to press against the nozzle’s body at an angle. Make sure to check the inner side of the nozzle head cap to see whether the nozzle is missing or not. With the blunt side of the needle, try to remove the nozzle.
  3. For threaded nozzle airbrush, place the nozzle wrench on the above side of the nozzle base and unscrew it by turning leftward.

How to Clean Airbrush Nozzle and Caps?

  1. To clean the paint, in an airbrush cleaner, soak your nozzle, nozzle head cap, and head cap (if present) for not more than 10 minutes. Remember that you do not soak your airbrush completely inside the cleaner. Also, note that the cleaning agent present in the fluid cup should not be stored in the airbrush.
  2. Use another small brush to clean the nozzle, head cap, and nozzle head by dipping the brush in the airbrush cleaner for good results.

Steps to Clean the Paint Passage

  1. For cleaning the paint passage, use another small brush; dip it into the airbrush cleaner.
    • For gravity-feed brushes:
      1. Make use of the small brush, push it down into the color cap paint passage, and move towards the front side of the airbrush.
    • For bottom-feed brushes:
      1. Push the brush into the joint of the bottle towards the front side of the airbrush.
      2. Scrub well on the back as well as the front side.
      3. Repeat the scrubbing process until no paint debris is present on the brush.
  2. With the help of the cleaning brush, which is dipped in the airbrush cleaner, try to clean the pain passage.
  3. Make sure to clean the passage until there is no paint debris present.
  4. For cleaning the outer side of the brush, do the following steps:
  5. Use a pipe cleaner to clean the tightened areas where the paint can quickly get settled down.
  6. Dip the pipe cleaner in the solution and then clean those areas for good results. With the airbrush cleaner, start cleaning the outer side of the airbrush.

How to Put Airbrush Back Together?

  1. First, reassemble the paint container, lever, and needle chuck to their original position.
  2. Push the needle towards the front side, then.
  3. Press the needle into the body until it comes from the backside of the needle chuck.
  4. Once you see the needle coming through the paint container, it’s now time to mount the nozzle.
  5. Once it is done, push the needle in the forward position until you see the tip on the nozzle.
  6. As a final step, remove the screw from the body of the airbrush gun.

As a final part of the process, testing is a must to ensure that everything works fine for the next use.

Testing of Airbrush After Assembling

  1. Connect the airbrush to the air source.
  2. Try to fill the color cup with water and press the lever towards the downside to test for air.
  3. Water should be sprayed out when only pulling the lever backside.
  4. If not, it means your needle is not fully seated.
  5. In case there is no water spray, tight the needle chuck.
  6. If anything is wrong, check the assembling part and again go through the cleaning process.


The cleaning process for an airbrush is quite simple but must be done very carefully. Clean the airbrush as often as possible for optimal performance and lifelong usage. Make sure to follow the above steps for an extended lifespan of your airbrush. You must clean the airbrush after using it or in between the color-changing process. If your professional cleaner is not available, then it is advisable cleaning the airbrush with alcohol or any DIY airbrush cleaner. It is said that prevention must be done before seeking a cure. Likewise, proper maintenance yields good results and prevents breakdown.