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How to Clean an Airless Paint Sprayer – Cleaning Guide and Tips

An airless paint sprayer is suitable for creating a perfectly smooth finish on large-scale painting jobs such as doors, cabinets, woodwork, etc. It’s a fast, effective, and faultless way to complete your project in a short time.

However, the paint sprayer requires users’ patience, skills, and proper maintenance after use. The con of owning a paint sprayer is the cleanup afterward. Cleaning airless sprayer is never a simple job.

Some guidance may be confusing for amateur guys who haven’t experienced using a paint sprayer before. So, why not give our suggestion a try and get ready to be amazed by the results!


Which Parts Of The Airless Paint Sprayer Need Cleaning?

Sometimes you may wonder “How to clean a Wagner paint sprayer” or “How to clean a Graco paint sprayer.” But don’t worry! We could state that, although there are various models of airless paint sprayer being sold on the market with multiple functions, the main components are the same.

The parts you need to clean are the nozzle, the gun, and the whole airless paint sprayer. In the beginning, you should disassemble all of the tools to remove the leftover paint in the internal pipe sprayer.

Then, you could put off the nozzle and the gun for closer cleaning. This will help you get rid of the unused paint inside these devices.

Water or Thinner – Which To Use?

Do you need a professional paint sprayer cleaner to completely clean paint sprayer?

The answer is: yes and no. While you may use water to have an overall rinse on the water-base material, a thinner is needed to make the oil-based paint mixture less viscous. Both water and thinner are common cleaning solutions for an airless paint sprayer.

How to Clean an Airless Paint Sprayer

An airless paint sprayer

How to Clean an Airless Paint Sprayer

We are going to clean up the excess paint first. Then, carefully remove the remaining paint in the nozzle, the gun, and the filter. Let’s follow our step by step guide to tackle your problem!

Step 1: Set Up Your Buckets

In this article, we recommend you to work with water and thinner as the paint sprayer cleaner.

If you spray with oil-based paint like lacquer, you should use a thinner. On the other hand, since water works effectively with eliminating water-based materials, it’d be best if you used water as the remover.

Next, you need to fill the bucket with the cleaner based on the material you use. Don’t forget to prepare an empty bucket to pour dirty water into it.

Step 2: Clear Out the Remaining Paint

Put the suction into the unfilled bucket and point the gun at the empty one. Activate the operating and spray mode to force any leftover paint out of the sprayer.

Step 3: Clean the filters

To carefully clean your airless paint sprayer, please instill this step. In this step, you need to clean the small parts of an airless paint sprayer. First, you will rinse the filter.

How to Clean an Airless Paint Sprayer2

Typical filters of spray gun

Depending on how an airless paint sprayer works, we usually encounter 3 kinds of filters – suction filter, pencil gun filter, and manifold filter. It will help if you read the guidebook to know more about each of the filters and its components.

First, you need to lift the pencil filter out of the gun and the manifold filter out of the machine. Then, you will take the suction filler out the end of the suction hose and put it in the empty bucket.

The next step is to fill that bucket with solvent or water. Do not soak the whole gun and leave it in the solvent for too long because it will make your gun rust in a short time. Remember to rinse the gun softly but cautiously.

Remember to wear a pair of plastic gloves before washing. You may need a brush to scrub the stubborn paint away from your gun.

Step 4: Clean the Nozzles

You may need a stiff brush to clean the nozzle. You don’t want the stuck leftover paint to affect the next use. It’s the most tedious part of this process, but it’s a must.

Step 5: Scrub the Spray Gun

Due to these parts’ various sizes, you may need more than one tool to remove the remaining paint. Different sizes of brushes would help you reach and clean every nook and cranny of the gun.

One tip is that you should take advantage of a used toothbrush with thin needles to get into the small parts more easily. Some of them, such as plastic and rubber seals, are fragile and need to be treated with care.

Step 6: Wipe Dry

After cleaning all the airless paint sprayer parts, you should dry them with a clean towel to avoid rusting. Remember to remove water or thinner thoroughly before storing.

Maintenance Tips

The piston and packing kit are the two things that require proper maintenance and care.

You need to grease the pump system and the piston pump with oil to ensure its smooth operation. Remember to read the handbook for the pump system to know how often you need to apply oil. But for the piston, grease it whenever you use it.


This is the end of today’s post on how to clean an airless paint sprayer most effectively and quickly! We hope this cleaning task will no longer cause you troubles if you follow our step-by-step instructions carefully. Have a productive cleaning day!

Read more: Best wagner paint sprayer reviews in 2022