How To Clean An Airless Paint Sprayer – The Beginners Guide

How To Clean An Airless Paint Sprayer

There is no doubt that paint sprayer is one of the most useful tools in any workshop. A paint sprayer, an airless one to be specific, is very efficient, convenient and delivers perfect results. However, to continue operating at the top level, it is important to clean your tools as soon as you are done with your painting project. SAs the paint passes through the system of your airless paint sprayer, chances are residues will remain and if not cleared, they might cause clogging. Fortunately, this articles takes you through the process of cleaning and taking care of airless paint sprayer for the greater good.

What You will Require

As aforementioned, cleaning an airless paint sprayer is not at all a complicated task. In that case, you will only require basic tools and materials for cleaning such as:

- Soap
- Your preferred cleaning agent
- Plenty of water
- Thinner
- Scrubber
- Cleaning buckets/ flashing pail

1. Preparation 

Just like any other project, cleaning your paint sprayer requires that you prepare well for the task ahead. Luckily for this project, there is nothing complicated at this stage. Start by switching off the paint sprayer. This is usually a precautionary measure given that electricity and water do not do well together. The next step involves reducing the paint sprayer’s pressure to the lowest point. Depending on the type of paint sprayer that you using, you can achieve the same by triggering the spray gun. 

Also during the preparation stage, you should disassemble all the parts of your paint sprayer, remove the filter then assemble them back together. Removing the filter from the spray gun means your cleaning agents will reach all the required areas of your paint sprayer. Finally, remove the guard and the switch tip in preparation for the next step.

2. Clean Your Paint Sprayer

After the preparation stage, this is where the actual cleaning begins. Start by cleaning the disassembled guard and switch tip. It is advisable to use flushing fluid such as water and thinners depending on the type of paint used in the last project. For instance, if you used water-based paints, you should wash the guard and switch tip using water. On the other hand, if you used oil-based paints in your project, consider using mineral spirits and other thinners when cleaning the parts.

If your paint sprayer has a removable filter, proceed to clean it before embarking on the other interior parts of your tool. After washing all the removable parts, it is time to focus on the interior system. Turn on the airless paint sprayer and push the prime valve horizontally (for safety purposes).

Using your flashing pail, hold your paint gun against it and push the “safety off” button. This will allow the flushing fluid to run through the system thereby cleaning it in the process. Run the cleaning fluid in the system until it becomes clear then let go of the trigger. You can mix the flushing fluid with soap or thinner depending on the type of paint you used.

The final step of cleaning involves turning the prime valve down so that the flushing fluid runs to all the other parts of the paint sprayer. Let the fluid circulate for approximately 3 minutes before turning it down.

3. Finishing

Just as is the case with any other tool, it is important to rinse your paint sprayer with plenty of water until clear. You should then allow the disassembled parts to dry up before fixing them back in place. Some models require that you flush them with mineral spirits or any other thinners after rinsing with water. This will create an extra layer of coating that will, in turn, prevent the system from corrosion, freezing or rusting.

Finish by assembling the detached parts. Start with the filter bowl and tighten it back in place using your hand. Proceed to the gun handle and to any other part that might have been detached from your paint sprayer.

After fixing all the parts, you can test that your paint sprayer is working by running water through the system. Turn the power on and apply pressure on the trigger then observe what happens. Once satisfied that your paint sprayer is in good condition, gently wipe its exterior parts using a clean damp cloth soaked in water and washing detergents. You should then return the airless paint sprayer to its position in your workshop for storage in readiness for the next project. 

Method 2

Alternatively, if you do not have much cleaning time, you can refer to this quick method of cleaning an airless paint sprayer. All you will require is a thinner (for oil-based paints), a bucket, water (for latex-based paints), a paintbrush and a clean cleaning cloth. For safety measures,

you will also need a pair of gloves and relevant protective clothes then follow the steps below:

1. Remove the excess paint from the paint gun

To save time, start by triggering the paint gun to remove the excess paint residues. In some cases, you can use a thinner to remove the excess residues. Remove as much paint as possible and clear the thinner in the can as well.

2. Clean with plenty of water

After removing the excess residues, take a bucket filled with water and use it to clean the interior parts of your airless paint sprayer. Run the water through the system until clear. Depending on the type of paint used in the most recent painting project, you can mix the water with a thinner for faster and effective results.

3. Scrub the outer parts

Take a scrub or a clean cloth dipped in water and use it to clean the parts that are visible and easily accessible. After cleaning, leave the paint sprayer to dry for some time before returning it to its original position in readiness for the next painting project.

As you may have noticed, this method is quicker and somewhat effective. It is suitable for cleaning of your airless paint sprayer especially when you are in a hurry. However, this method is not as effective so it cannot be relied upon as much.

Pro Tips

The following pro tips will help you complete your airless paint sprayer quickly and effectively:

- Always gather every tool and material that you will need for the cleaning process beforehand.
- Always clean your airless paint sprayer as soon as you finish your painting project.
- Always read the manufacturer’s manual guide for extra customized cleaning procedures.
- Always turn the power off before you start cleaning to avoid the risk of electrocution. Only turn it on when it’s very necessary and adhere to the basic precautionary measures. 

Benefits of Cleaning and Caring for an Airless Paint Sprayer

For many people, cleaning their tools is something they know they have to do but do not really know why they do it. Here are some reasons why cleaning and caring for your airless paint sprayer is very important:

1. Enhances durability

A regularly cleaned airless paint sprayer will last longer than the one that is neglected with paint residues and dirt. Cleaning a paint sprayer gives it its original shape, look,and work ability. For as long as your paint sprayer is “new”, it will continue to serve you for as long as possible. This ensures that you get value for your money.

2. Boosts efficiency

A clean airless paint sprayer works just like a new one. There are no residues or clogged filters to limit its functioning. However, you will struggle to use dirty paint sprayer not to mention the fact that your projects will always be compromised. Your painting surface will not be even due to the clogs, unclean filters,and malfunctioning triggers and paint guns. 

3. Maintains the look of your paint sprayer

If you bought your airless paint sprayer specifically for how it looks, you can maintain that by cleaning it regularly. A dirty sprayer will lose its color, texture, and work ability within a very short time. 

4. Makes your workshop neat

Apart from increasing the durability and effectiveness of your airless paint sprayer, regular cleaning makes your tools and workshop clean. It relaxes your mind knowing that you have a clean tool to use during your next project. You are almost sure that there is no chance your paint sprayer is going to fail you. 

Final Words

A paint sprayer can determine whether you are going to finish your project in time, how nice your furniture will look and will make or break your reputation as a painter. In that case, before kick-starting a painting project, you should make sure that your airless paint sprayer is in top condition. One way of ensuring this is by cleaning and taking care of your tool. Fortunately, this article has elaborated on how to clean for an airless paint sprayer so you do not have worry. Remember, cleaning your tools regularly will help maintain their top conditions, increased durability and will look good overall. 

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