If you never know how to clean an Airless Paint Sprayer, it can be confusing for the first time with many different parts. But once you become familiar with the process, you might feel like a straightforward routine. Remember that the airless sprayer tool that is not taken care of properly can decrease operating capacity and service life, resulting in increased costs due to loss of work, maintenance or early procurement of new equipment and accessories.

To keep your tool clean, care for, and extend the life of an airless machine, check out this article for more detailed explanation.

Best Way to Clean an Airless Paint Sprayer

While each model can vary slightly, the main components are generally the same. When cleaning a paint sprayer, it’s best to take it apart to make sure you get into all the crevices where the material and debris might be.

The three main parts to be cleaned are the whole tool, the nozzle, and the pistol. You can leave the tool assembled to extract most of the materials at the start of the cleaning process, but later, you will need to take the gun and the nozzles out for closer handling.

Step 1: Start extracting any excess and carefully clean the filters, the nozzle and the gun

After using the airless paint sprayer, we should pump the paint out of the sprayer and the airless hose; otherwise, the spray material may harm the sprayer, the hose and the paint spray gun, leading to malfunctions and defects. We should also avoid the paint sprayer’s curing and drying since it can cause damage and raise the repair costs.


Step 2: Set Up Your Buckets

Depending on if you spray oil-based paints such as a lacquer or water-based paints such as emulsion; you would need to adjust your paint sprayer’s cleaner. Depending on the type of material, we might need a bucket of water or thinner and another empty bucket for the dirty liquid cleaner.

Step 3: Clear Out the Remaining Paint

Use a clean bucket to place the suction and point the gun at your empty bucket. To push out any of the remaining material, we should use both the prime and spray modes.

Types of filers in an airless paint sprayer


Step 4: Cleaning the Various Filters

This is a vital step in cleaning the spray guide. Once you master this, you can start cleaning the smaller parts of the airless sprayer. We start with your filters. There are 2 to 3 filters on semi-professional to professional sprayers, including:

  • Suction filter – placed the end of the suction hose, which submerged into the material
  • Manifold filter – placed on the left or right side of the machine
  • Pencil gun filter – placed in the airless spray gun’s handle

Check your manual to see the components of your spray gun. Then, take all the 3 filters out and put them in a bucket with solvent or water. An important note: Only put the filter, not the whole gun, into the solvent since this can be corrosive. Use a pair of gloves to rub out all the leftovers.

Cleaning the Various Filters

Step 5: Clean the Nozzles

The easiest way to do this tiring part is to use an old toothbrush, small pipe cleaners and, if possible, a very thin needle. It is recommended to use an hourglass to clean the nozzle to keep the paint from clinging to the airless nozzles and prolong its life.

Clean the Nozzles
FARBMAX Nozzle Cleaner & Wagner TipClean Spray tip cleaner

Start by dipping the spray tip into water or thinner for several minutes, then use a toothbrush to rub the tungsten carbide spray nozzle from either side. When you hold it up to the light, you should be able to see the nozzle pinprick. Only when the hole is blocked by any material or debris, then we use the needle.

Spray tip cleaning needles
An example of the Graco airless spray gun components
An example of the Graco airless spray gun components 


Step 6: Scrub the Spray Gun

It’s time to get into the tiny parts of the spray gun. We will need to have different brush sizes for different size components. Soft brushes are recommended for fragile parts such as plastic and rubber seals.

Seals for Airless nozzles

The spray guard needs to be taken off and cleaned separately. For the spray tip, spray guard, hose and gun filter removed, keep the gun upside down under a quick flow of water and hold the trigger down. When the filter was, and out of the spray area, the area needs to be washed for at least 1 minute to make sure everything is clear.


Step 7: Wipe dry

When all the parts are clean, use a dry cloth to wipe off the solvent or water until completely dry.

Extra Maintenance for An Airless Paint Sprayer

A few items need to be taken care of carefully so that the sprayer can be well-maintained in good condition to get your job done whenever you need to. For example, the piston and packing kit are extremely important parts of the airless paint sprayer that we need to take care of, while the pump system needs to be oiled regularly and the piston pump needs to be greased to run smoothly.

The most important part is to keep the sprayer clean to avoid unexpected cleaning and repair costs. Remember to drain the water in the pump when the sprayer is stored, especially below freezing temperatures, since it can cause corrosion and damage to the pump if the water freezes.

Always remember to release pressure during storage to extend the life of the packing.

Final words

Now that we have learned how to clean the airless paint sprayer, hopefully, you will have no trouble taking care of your equipment. A sprayer is a handy tool that is built to last, and with proper care, it will serve you far longer for the job. Happy spraying.