How to Clean an HVLP Spray Gun [Guide]

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Do you have the proper know-how on cleaning an HVLP spray gun? Do you have the right equipment needed for the cleaning, and what steps need to be followed when cleaning? If not, then take a seat as you go through this insightful piece.

After a successful day painting, your tools and equipment will need to be cleaned before storing. HVLP spray guns get messy after a day’s work. Thankfully, paint spray gun cleaning is not as hard as it seems – simply follow the explicitly elaborated guidelines on How to Clean an HVLP Spray Gun.

Required Supplies To Clean an HVLP Spray Gun

The worst mistake you can do is to leave the gun uncleaned or leave it for later cleaning. The paint left in the gun can dry up and eventually clog it. Clogging will result in irregular spraying patterns when the gun is used next. The gun’s quality will be maintained over time if it is cleaned as frequently as it is used.

Regularly cleaning the little and delicate parts inside the gun will add to the efficiency of the gun when in use. With these small and fragile parts, you need to follow the correct steps to secure their integrity and durability. Pay close attention to this process. It’s mastery will be of benefit for consecutive cleanings.

The list of the supplies you need and their alternatives are described below.

  • Cleaning solvent with soap (preferably soapy water)
  • Alternatively, paint thinner or cleaning solution can be used. We recommend that you use the paint thinner only if you are cleaning off oil-based paint.
  • Gloves (preferably rubber)
  • Bristle cleaning brush (sometimes made available with the spray gun on purchase)
  • Paper towels
    • Alternatively, use rags if paper towels are not available. Rags are more economical.
  • Toothpicks
  • Spray Gun wrench (attached to the spray gun set on purchase)
  • Safety Glasses
  • Cleaning buckets for soaking parts and dumping waste (at least three medium-sized cleaning buckets) 

How to Clean an HVLP Spray Gun in 5 Steps

After ensuring that all supplies are ready and in place, it’s time to start cleaning the spray gun. Ensure that you take your time while washing as the work entails disassembly, cleaning, and assembling the parts back together.

1. Take apart the spray gun

Before taking apart the spray gun, grab one of the cleaning buckets and set it aside to receive any disassembled part from the spray gun.

Carefully unscrew the gun body from the paint cup.

Unscrew the air cup of the gun.

Unscrew the needle with great care, holding it firmly as you unscrew it is reinforced with spring and may shoot off unexpectedly.

After the air cap and needle are off, use a wrench to open up the inner part of the lid.

Place all the disassembled small parts inside the cleaning bucket.

2. Clean the paint cup

At this point, you should have on your hand gloves and safety goggles.

Add some paint thinner into the cup. Alternatively, use other cleaning solvents or mineral spirits.

You will need to cover the opening of the cup with one hand and vigorously, but carefully, shake the paint fluid inside. After shaking, pour all the contents into a waste bucket and repeat the process three times.

For more effective cleaning, you will have to scrub the inside of the cup using a paper towel soaked in some paint thinner. This will scrub off any paint that might have adhered to the inner walls of the cup. Do the same for the outer body of the cap.

3. Immerse washable parts in mineral spirits, paint thinner, or water

After you have taken the spray gun apart and washed the cup, it will be time to clean all the other small parts in the cleaning bucket. A paint thinner will give you a more better results than soapy water or just water.

While cleaning these small parts, you should be careful not to lose or damage any part. By now, the little pieces are immersed in the bucket containing the paint thinner. Make sure they soak thoroughly to allow removal of any paint that is adhering to the unreachable sections of the small parts.

You will be required to use the toothpick to scrub off adhered paint on the spring or corners of the small parts. Be careful when handling the spring as it tends to bend and deform, thereby losing its usability.

4. Dry everything thoroughly

We recommend that you give time (at least half an hour) for everything to soak in the paint thinner. After soaking followed by washing, you should now consider taking all the parts of the spray gun out of the solvent for drying.

Grab the bristle brush and scrub off any paint residue. Toothpicks will come handy to remove build-ups of residue inside the small ridges and grooves.

After this, you will need to clean the fluid needle and the spring carefully. Here, use a smooth rag or paper towel.

4. Reassemble the HVLP Spray Gun

Reassembly of the spray gun can start once you have made sure that all parts have been cleaned thoroughly and dried out.

First, you will need to screw back the inner air cap. Make sure that the spring and the needle are in place before screwing back the inner lid. Once the inner cap is complete, put the outer cap in place.

Finally, you will need to put the paint cup back on the gun. After this, put on the cap.

That’s it! You have successfully cleaned your paint spray gun!

Tips & Tricks: 

When the paint you are cleaning off the spray gun is latex-based, we recommend that you use water-based solvents with an additional amount of soap. If the paint being cleaned off is oil-based, then use mineral spirits or paint thinner to clean.

Latex-based paints are soluble in water and partially soluble in paint thinner, while oil-based paints are soluble in organic solvents such as the mineral spirit or paint thinner.

Dispose of the waste in the cleaning bucket together with the unused paint as required by policies governing paint disposal. Be sure to rinse your gloves with a little solvent and later washing your hands with soap when done.

Conclusion 

For your HVLP spray to work at its full potential, its condition should always be maintained by washing it after every use by following the above-outlined steps. Getting comfortable with these simple steps will help you increase your painting skills.

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Photo Credits

Canva, 2020

Ryan

Ryan

Ryan is a writer for ToolboxAdvice.com. He's been a hobbyist and painter for a long time, and now enjoys teaching others. His content primarly focuses on reviews and guides for painters and construction professionals.

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