Airless paint sprayers get the job done quicker but they also require more cleaning and aftercare. It is important for their functionality and lifespan that you always take the time to properly clean after use.
So maybe you are wondering how to clean airless paint sprayer that you have just invested in. The first time you do this might be confusing because you are dealing with many different parts. However, once you have done it a few times it should feel like a straightforward routine.
This is how to properly clean the most popular airless paint sprayers. Remember a clean paint sprayer is a good sprayer.
Attending to the Different Parts
Though each model might differ slightly, the main components are generally the same. When cleaning paint sprayer, it is better to take the device apart so that you ensure that you are getting into all the crevices where your material and debris might be.
The 3 main parts to clean are the device as a whole, the nozzle, and the gun. At the start of the cleaning, you can keep the tool assembled to remove the majority of the materials but later on, you will need to pull off the gun and nozzles for closer handling.
Water or Thinner?
Do you need a paint sprayer cleaner? This is an easy question to answer. Use tap water to clean water-based materials like latex and use thinner to remove oil-based paints like lacquer.
Never confuse the two types of paint remover required because it can damage the device if the wrong one is used. Also, don’t use heavy corrosive liquids because that too may cause damage.
Steps on How to Clean an Airless Paint Sprayer
Follow the cleaning steps in the correct order when cleaning airless paint sprayer. Start with removing any excess and then carefully clean the filters, nozzle, and gun.
Step 1: Set Up Your Buckets
Depending on whether you’re spraying oil-based such as lacquer, or water-based paints such as emulsion, you’ll need to vary your paint sprayer cleaner.
You need one bucket filled with water or thinner (depending on the material type, see above) and one empty bucket to empty the dirty liquid cleaner into.
Step 2: Clear Out the Remaining Paint
Place the suction in your clean bucket and aim the gun at your empty bucket. Use both the prime mode and spray mode to push out any remaining material.
Step 3: Cleaning the Various Filters
This is an important step in the how to clean a paint sprayer guide. Once it is cleared, you can start cleaning the smaller parts of the airless sprayer. Start with the filters.
Because of how airless paint sprayers work, there are normally 2 or 3 filters on semi-professional to professional sprayers, they are:
- Suction filter – found on the end of the suction hose that is submerged into the material
- Manifold filter – found in the machine itself, normally on the left or right side
- Pencil gun filter – found in the handle of the airless spray gun
You should be able to refer to your user manual to see the various components of your spray gun. Here’s an example of the Graco user manual.
Take the pencil filter out of the gun, the manifold filter out of the machine and the suction filter off the end of the suction hose, then place them in the empty bucket to soak in the solvent or water. Do not place the entire gun in the solvent because this can be abrasive, only put the filters into soak.
Put on a pair of gloves and start wiping away anything left over. For the stubborn bits use an old stiff brush and scrub away gently.
Step 4: Clean the Nozzles
This is the tedious part when cleaning a paint sprayer but there are a few tools that can make it easier for you. The best way is to use an old toothbrush, small pipe cleaners and if required, a very thin needle.
Submerse the spray tip in water or thinners for a few minutes, then use the toothbrush to scrub either side of the tungsten carbide spray nozzle. Be sure to inspect it up close before calling it a day and storing it.
You should be able to see a pin-prick of daylight through the nozzle when you hold it up to the light.
Only use the needle as a last resort if the hole is completely blocked with any materials or debris.
Step 5: Scrub the Spray Gun
Now it is time to get into the small parts of the sprayer gun itself. Since you are dealing with different sized parts, you also need different sized cleaning brushes to get into all the tiny spaces.
Some of the parts are more fragile than others so it is also a good idea to keep a few softer brushes on hand. For example, the plastic and rubber seals are easily broken so you want to use a softer more gentle brush.
You’ll want to take the spray guard off and clean that separately, you’ll also need to flush it under a faucet.
With the spray tip, spray guard, hose and gun filter removed, hold the gun upside down under a fast flow of water and hold the trigger down. You want the water to be flowing into where the filter previously was and out of the spray area.
Do this for around 60 seconds to ensure it is clear.
Step 6: Wipe Dry
Once all the parts are completely clean, you can wipe off the solvent or water until completely dry. Use a clean dry cloth for this.
Besides cleaning your new paint sprayer thoroughly, you also need to do some maintenance. One of the most important things to take care of is the piston and packing kit.
The pump system is particular to specific brands so always read the manual to check what needs to be oiled and how often. The piston pump can do with regular greasing before each job, just to make sure that the device continues to run smoothly.
If you’re using a rental paint sprayer, keeping it clean is of the utmost importance if you don’t want to be hit with unexpected cleaning and repair costs, so keep it clean!!
That is our guide on how to clean airless paint sprayer, we hope it has helped with any questions you might have had, happy spraying.