How to unclog a paint sprayer

A common problem for any painter is how to clean paint sprayer nozzles, get rid of clogging and make the sprayer work properly again.

I have faced this issue in my career and thus found solutions, some passed and some failed. I will share the best way to clean your sprayer.

Unclog paint sprayer

This blog will focus on cleaning the different brands of paint sprayers. I will focus on the different brands of paint sprayers and give the proper steps to clean each nozzle.

Here I have in this post explaining how to unclog a paint sprayer. Complete guidance from my own experience, which I have shared with you so that new people can get help from this and don’t get disappointed.


How to unclog a paint sprayer

Things you will be needing for unclogging

  • A drying cloth and some towels (paper towels, preferably)
  • A solvent that should be denatured alcohol
  • Protective gear including gloves and suit etc.
  • A mask
  • Must have a fine brush

Disassembling the sprayer

There are a few things to remember when it comes to disassembling your paint sprayer. First, make sure to read the original user manual for directions!

You wouldn’t want to take something apart just to realize you don’t know how to put it back together again, and you can never really be sure what pieces are important or vital.

Narrow down your focus as much as possible; start by removing any accessories that are not essential for the operation of the device itself.

Rather than trying to immediately uncover the secrets of its core mechanism.

If you have an order in which you would like to approach this step-by-step process, try taking these factors into consideration.

Disassembling Process

Cleaning of nozzle

The clogged paint sprayer means that the paint sprayer nozzle has been blocked.

The simplest way to clean the nozzle is to remove the cap, remove the tip of the sprayer and soak it in the solvent, which can dissolve the paint.

Use an old toothbrush to scrub the inside of the nozzle, then you can see the change in the color of the solvent.

Then pour the solvent into a jar and wash that sprayer out. Sometimes there might be some residue, which will block the nozzle, you can use a sharp object to scrape it off.

Unclogging Process and method

Checking before assembling

Be sure to clean the nozzle casing before assembling, so you can get rid of any leftover paint.

First, wipe everything down with a dry cloth, and then you should use a soft cloth to give it one final polish.

Be sure not to apply too much pressure – those nozzles are pretty sensitive! You could also use an old fine-tooth brush like a makeup brush if you have one available.

Assemblage process

Once you have completed the unclogging process, reassemble the unit. If for any reason you are unsure about how to reassemble the unit, refer to your user manual.

Once it is put back together, make sure to test it by squeezing the trigger, blowing air, and painting on a piece of paper before you start painting again. If this does not work, simply repeat steps 1-3.

Infographics of clogged paint sprayer

Optional step

Well, you can certainly clean the whole unit. When you disassemble it, pay close attention to all the parts and ensure they’re squeaky clean, and safe to handle.

Again, don’t, I repeat – don’t forget to use fine cotton buds and discard them when necessary!

Make sure not to leave paint in the spray unit for too long once you’ve filled it – otherwise, it’ll dry out on your favorite piece of artwork.

How do you unclog a paint sprayer?

To unclog a paint sprayer, follow these steps:

  • Turn off the paint sprayer and disconnect it from the power source.
  • Remove the spray tip and any other removable parts, such as the nozzle or the guard.
  • Clean the spray tip and other parts with a cleaning solution or mineral spirits.
  • Rinse the spray tip and other parts with water and dry them completely.
  • Reassemble the paint sprayer and test it to see if the clog has been cleared.

If the clog persists, you may need to clean the internal parts of the paint sprayer. To do this, follow these additional steps:

  • Pour a cleaning solution or mineral spirits into the paint container.
  • Turn on the paint sprayer and run the cleaning solution through the system until it is clear.
  • Rinse the internal parts of the paint sprayer with water and dry them completely.
  • Reassemble the paint sprayer and test it to see if the clog has been cleared.

If the clog still persists, you may need to disassemble the paint sprayer and clean the internal parts more thoroughly.

Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific guidance on disassembling and cleaning your particular model of paint sprayer.

How do I keep my sprayer from clogging?

There are several steps you can take to prevent your paint sprayer from clogging:

  1. Use the correct type of paint for your sprayer. Some paints, such as oil-based paints, can clog sprayers more easily than others.
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for preparing the paint. Mixing the paint properly and straining it before using it in the sprayer can help prevent clogs.
  3. Clean the sprayer regularly. After each use, be sure to clean the sprayer thoroughly, including the spray tip and other removable parts. This will help prevent dried paint from accumulating and clogging the sprayer.
  4. Store the sprayer properly. When not in use, be sure to store the sprayer in a dry place to prevent the paint from drying and clogging the sprayer.
  5. Use a high-quality sprayer. Investing in a well-made sprayer with a good reputation for reliability can help prevent clogs and other problems.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your paint sprayer stays in good working order and avoids clogs.

Can you run water through a paint sprayer to clean it?

Yes, you can use water to clean a paint sprayer, but it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning the specific model of sprayer that you have.

Some sprayers are designed to be cleaned with water, while others are not.

If your paint sprayer can be cleaned with water, you can use a hose to rinse the internal parts of the sprayer, such as the hose and the spray tip.

Be sure to remove any removable parts, such as the nozzle or guard, and rinse them thoroughly.

You may need to use a cleaning solution or mineral spirits to remove any dried paint or debris from the internal parts of the sprayer.

If your paint sprayer is not designed to be cleaned with water, you should use a cleaning solution or mineral spirits to clean it.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when cleaning your paint sprayer to avoid damaging it.

In either case, it is important to completely dry the sprayer and all of its parts before reassembling and using it again. Water left inside the sprayer can cause rust and other problems.

Why is my paint sprayer clogging?

There are several possible reasons why a paint sprayer might clog, including:

  1. Using the wrong type of paint: Some types of paint, such as oil-based paints, are more prone to clogging sprayers than others.
  2. Not preparing the paint properly: If the paint is not mixed or strained properly before being used in the sprayer, it can lead to clogs.
  3. Not cleaning the sprayer regularly: If the sprayer is not cleaned thoroughly after each use, dried paint can accumulate and clog the sprayer.
  4. Using the sprayer improperly: If the sprayer is not used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, it can lead to clogs and other problems.
  5. Using a low-quality sprayer: A poorly made or poorly maintained sprayer is more likely to clog and have other problems.

By understanding and addressing these common causes of clogs, you can help prevent your paint sprayer from clogging and ensure that it stays in good working order.


FAQ’s of How to unclog a paint sprayer

Paint sprayer clogs are the most common problems you may face when you are painting. Why does your paint sprayer keep clogging? Because of air bubbles. When you paint, the paint may have air bubbles between the spray tip and the surface that you are trying to paint. This means that you are spraying air, instead of paint. The paint will dry with a rough texture. If these air bubbles are not removed, the paint sprayer will continue to clog. Here are some tips to help you fix the issue.

To unclog an airless paint sprayer, you need to use a sprayer cleaning solution (available at home improvement stores), or water. Turn on the unit and run the solution through a few times. If the unit still does not work, it might be a clogged tip. You may have to replace the tip. It is advisable to clean the paint sprayer after each time you use it.

What you need is a paper clip and a pair of pliers. Straighten the paper clip, put it in the nozzle, and twist it around. Spray the nozzle with some water. Use the pliers to pull the paper clip out. The nozzle should clear out now.

To unclog a spray paint valve, you need to unscrew the nozzle of the spray paint and then use a knife or a thin-bladed driver to poke into the tip of the nozzle. Use the knife to lift the clog up and out.  The clog may be sticky. If it is, use rubbing alcohol to clean it off. Then, rinse the nozzle with rubbing alcohol to remove any residue left behind, then blow air in with a mouth. This should clear the nozzle and make the spray usable again.

Unclogging pump sprayers is easy if you don’t panic. I have a few secrets to share with you. Many of the non-clogging sprayer problems can be solved easily by cleaning the spray nozzle, taking off the pump spray head, and cleaning out any liquid that might be clogged up in the pump shaft area. If you spray a small amount of water into the pump, then begin to pump the sprayer. The water will force out any blockage in the nozzle. If that doesn’t work, then try taking off the pump head and cleaning out the pump shaft. If that still doesn’t work, then the issue may be with the piston seal. To solve this, you need to take the sprayer apart and remove the seal. This may be a little difficult, but with a little patience and a lot of care, you can do this without damaging the sprayer. You need to lubricate the piston seal with a few drops of oil, and then reassemble the pump. If that still doesn’t work, then you need to replace the seal. The measures listed above will help you repair most pump sprayer problems.


Final Thoughts on How to unclog a paint sprayer

In this blog post, I have explained each and every step which I do in order to unclog a paint sprayer. I am sure amateur people will get help from this post of mine.

Professionals should also share their experience and if they have some knowledge that can be helpful for the newbies then they should share it in the comment section.

Now that you know how to unclog a paint sprayer, you can have it back in business in no time! I hope that this post has been helpful to you.

If you have any more questions about unclogging paint sprayers, please feel free to leave your questions in the comments below. Thank you for reading, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Matthew Edward

Matthew Edward is a professional painter who loves to paint and wants to share useful tips and tricks which he had learned in many years of experience in painting. He also used many products that can be used for painting he has tried and tested each and every product to give an unbias opinion about it in his review. This blog is very useful for those newbies who want to learn painting without making mistakes.

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