How To Clean Dried Latex Paint from Paint Sprayer 2021

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You have decided to give your house a facelift and repaint. Using latex paint in a sprayer will make the job go faster and look cleaner; however, the clean-up is a little more difficult. You cannot just throw the paint tray away and put brushes in cleaner. Knowing how to clean dried latex paint from your paint sprayer will make the job easier from beginning to end, allowing you to get the job done correctly and quickly.

This guide will not only tell you how to clean dried latex paint from your sprayer but also cover what supplies you’ll need and a few tips to help along the way.

Why Cleaning is Vital

Before we cover how to clean dried latex paint from a paint sprayer, it is good to know why it is so important to clean. Latex paints have a special resin to thin its consistency, but they are still a lot thicker than oil-based paints. 

Therefore, they have a tendency to cause the nozzle to clog over time as the paint dries. Whether this is your personal sprayer or one you have rented, you will want to keep it in optimal condition to preserve its life. If it is one you have rented, cleaning can be all the more important, because they can charge you for returning a dirty sprayer.

Required Supplies To Clean Dried Latex Paint from Paint Sprayer

  • Two 5-gallon buckets
  • Garden hose for free-flowing water
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Pliers
  • Extra bucket for paint scraps
  • Cloth Rag
  • Throat Seal Liquid
  • Pump Armor

It is also a wise idea to have some paint thinner on hand. While it is not necessary for the overall cleaning process, it will make removing any dried paint easier. This is extremely important if you do not clean the sprayer immediately after finishing painting, or if you rent a sprayer that was not completely cleaned from the previous user. 

IMPORTANT NOTE – If you use paint thinner on latex paint, make sure you are not putting it into the sprayer. Only use the thinner on the nozzle as a soak to remove stubborn dried-on paint.

Read More >> How to Clean an HVLP Spray Gun

How To Clean Dried Latex Paint from Paint Sprayer in 5 Steps

While the actual cleaning process can be done in four steps, I am adding the fifth step as preparation for storage. That is just as important as the cleaning part. Before you begin, fill your 5-gallon buckets with warm to hot water. The warmer the water, the easier the paint will come off.

Step 1 – Dismantle the Paint Sprayer

The first step in cleaning your sprayer is to dismantle the entire sprayer. Start by removing the housing tip and the guard. Both of these items are at the back of your spray gun. Place the parts into the bucket of water. Next, you will want to unscrew the front from the handle, using pliers for extra torque if necessary. Place the front part and the filter in the bucket of water as well.

Step 2 – Wash Parts Thoroughly

After you have the sprayer dismantled and soaking in warm water, you are ready to start cleaning all of the parts. This is where a soft-bristled brush will come in handy. Carefully go through all of the parts in the water and scrub the dried paint off. For the tip, you will want to make sure you can see clear light through the end of the spray hole. The filter will also need to be rinsed until there is no remaining paint on it but do not use the brush on it. After you have removed all of the paint, dry the parts with your cloth rag and dump the water out of the bucket.

Step 3 – Draw Water into the Sprayer

Cleaning the paint off the small parts of the sprayer is only part of the cleaning process. Cleaning the actual sprayer will require a little more patience, and knowledge of the spray gun you are using. Make sure you have removed as much of the paint as possible prior to starting. You will be using your second 5-gallon bucket of water for this step. Point your empty gun towards the water and place the tube towards the bucket. 

This is important if you do not want a mess of paint to clean up. Find the button that sets the sprayer into prime mode so it will absorb the water from the bucket. Turn your sprayer on and let it absorb the water for five or six minutes.

Man cleaning an hvlp spray gun nozzle with water

Step 4 – Rinse the Sprayer

The water you have drawn into the sprayer will not only rinse the gun but also soften any dried-on paint. Change the mode back to ‘on’ and point the gun and siphon tube towards the bucket you emptied in step two. You will then start your sprayer and let it empty into the bucket. You will want to let it run until you are completely out of water or the water runs clear. This may mean repeating steps three and four a couple of times. When the water is clear, your sprayer is completely clean and ready to be reassembled.

Step 5 – Dry and Prepare Paint Sprayer for Storage

Prior to storing your sprayer, you want to make sure that you do a couple of things to prevent corrosion or other wear and tear. First, you will want to use an anti-corrosion liquid of some sort and add it to more water in the bucket. Repeat steps three and four so you will prevent rusting from occurring while it is in storage. 

The second step is to use a product called Throat Seal Liquid, or TSL. You will want to squeeze it into the designated hole on the front of your sprayer. The instruction manual for each sprayer will inform you how much TSL to use and where it goes, but for most, it will be between three to five drops. Finally, reassemble your entire spray gun and place it in storage.

Read More >> Best Paint Latex Paint Sprayers of 2020

Tips & Tricks: How To Clean Latex Paint from Sprayer

While there are no shortcuts when it comes to cleaning your sprayer, you can help expedite the cleaning process by cleaning the tip periodically while painting. This will help prevent clogging from occurring. Always remember that the hotter the water, the easier it will be to remove the paint, and never use paint thinner in the actual sprayer part of the gun.

This tutorial shows how to clean dried latex paint from a paint sprayer, so now there is no excuse to not always have a clean and working sprayer. The importance of cleaning become apparent the one time you do not clean it and become frustrated with constant clogs. The paint from a clean gun will be smooth and the finished product will look professional. 

Let us know in the comments if there are any other tips you have discovered while cleaning your sprayer, and please share this with friends to help with their home improvement projects.



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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