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 protocols 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. Paint spray gun cleaning is not as hard as it seems – thanks to the following 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 for later cleaning. The paint left in the gun after sometime dries up and eventually clogs it. Clogging will result in irregular spraying patterns when the gun is next used. The gun’s quality will be maintained over time if it is cleaned as frequently as it is used. This is the main reason we recommend cleaning the gun parts as immediately as possible after work.

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. You need to pay keen attention to this process. Its mastery will be of benefit for the consecutive cleanings.

A few things are needed to set you on course. The list of the supplies you need and their alternatives are as described below.

  • Cleaning solvent with soap (preferably soapy water)
  • Alternatively, Paint thinner or Cleaning solution: We recommend that you use the paint thinner only if you are cleaning off an 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 and
  • 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 cross-checking that all supplies are ready and in place, you now need to embark on the main procedure of 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 them ready to receive any disassembled part from the spray gun.

Carefully unscrew the gun body from the paint cup. After unscrewing the gun body from the spray cup, you will now need to disassemble the other minute parts on the gun body.

First, you will have to 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 if you do not have it in place.

After the air cap and needle are off, use the gun wrench to open up the inner part of the lid. Now place all the disassembled small parts aside in the cleaning bucket.

2. Clean the paint cup

At this point, you should be on your hand gloves and safety goggles. Add some paint thinner into the cup. Alternatively, use other cleaning solvents or mineral spirits – whatever is available at your disposal.

You will need to cover the opening of the cup with one hand and vigorously but carefully shake agitate up 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 scrab off any paint that might have adhered to the inner walls of the cup. Do the same for the outer body of the cap.

When doing all this, make sure that you are on rubber or nitrile hand gloves—especially when handling the paint thinner and the paint fluid.

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

After you have taken the spraying gun apart and washing 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 comfortable time 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 require to use the toothpick to scrab off adhered paint on the spring or minute 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 available 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 back the paint cup on the gun. After this, put on the cap. That’s it. You are now done.

Tips & Tricks: 

When the paint is cleaned off the spray gun is latex-based, we recommend that you use water-based solvents with an additional amount of soap. If the paint is 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 off 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.


I find this How to Clean an HVLP Spray Gun cleaning process incredibly easy and elaborate when spelling them out to help those in need.

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

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Photo Credits

Canva, 2020



Ryan is a writer for 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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