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If this is your first time painting, you need to know how to clean dried latex paint from a paint sprayer. This will ensure that the device works effectively in the long run. No matter which type of paint sprayer you use, it should look as good as new when you’re done.
Paint sprayer airbrush

Tools will only have a good lifespan if properly used and maintained, so it is critical to have proper know-how about their handling. Take a look at this tutorial to get yourself acquainted with how to dissolve dried latex paint from a paint sprayer.

If you’re looking to buy a paint sprayer, check out the LVLP Siphon spray gun. This is lightweight and offers precise application so it is great for beginners. Another option is the Astro Pneumatic Tool spray gun. This two-piece, all-purpose model is easy to clean and great for those who want a customizable option.

You’ll also find a list of handheld spray guns on our website, so you can pick and choose which matches your needs best.

What Tools Do I Need?

Below is a checklist of items you need, when cleaning your paint sprayer.

  • Two 5-gallon buckets of warm water
  • Extra scrap bucket.
  • A bristle brush.
  • Cloth rag.
  • Pliers.

Step by Step Tutorial

Having everything on your checklist to hand before you start will make the process of cleaning easier and faster.

Latex paint is much thicker than oil-based paint. So, as soon as you turn your spray gun off, it’s going to dry up rapidly. The paint clogs the nozzle which, if left untreated, makes it extremely difficult for you to use the sprayer next time around. So here are a few simple steps you can follow as soon as you’re done painting.

Buckets with spilled paint

Step 1: Dismantle Your Paint Sprayer 

Remove the housing tip and the spray guard (you’ll find these at the back end of your gun). Place both parts into one of the buckets of warm water — a higher temperature will ensure that the paint comes off easily. 

Meanwhile, deconstruct the rest of your paint sprayer. Unscrew the spray gun’s front from its handle. You may need pliers for this if it’s fastened together tightly and you cannot remove it by hand.

Once you remove the front, you’ll see a filter that needs cleaning. Take this out and place it in the warm water as well.

Step 2: Scrub It Well!

Unfortunately, dipping your paint sprayer parts in water is not enough to clean them. You will need to get your hands dirty to remove the dried latex paint from your paint sprayer. 

Take a bristle brush and scrub each part thoroughly until it is clean. Don’t use a bristle brush for the filter —this might damage it. Simply rinse it with water until all the paint is removed.

You can leave these spray gun parts out to dry, or wipe them with a dry cloth. I prefer the latter, as exposing the machine to sunlight can cause it to rust faster, and I’m a regular user!

Pro tip: Once you can see clearly through the housing tip hole, your job up to this point is done.

Step 3: Draw Water Inside the Paint Sprayer

Cleaning the outside of your spray gun was easy, but removing dried latex paint from a paint sprayer’s inside requires technique and precision. 

Take your empty spray gun and point it toward the second bucket of clean water. The siphon tube should also be facing the bucket so that when it is turned on, it doesn’t create a mess around you. 

Make sure the paint sprayer is set to prime mode (most guns have a label next to the button, so it shouldn’t be an issue locating it). What this does is, instead of spraying paint out, it absorbs liquid inside. 

This is a feature made specifically for cleaning the paint sprayer, as water goes inside to wash out all the dried latex paint. 

Turn your paint sprayer on and keep it pointed toward the bucket for up to five minutes.

Step 4: Remove the Dried Latex Paint From Inside the Spray Gun

The water inside the spray gun should have softened the paint, making it easier to draw it all out. Again, using water slightly above room temperature will ensure more effective cleaning. 

Point the siphon tube toward the scrap bucket and then switch the spray gun to the ‘on’ mode and start running it. You’ll see a mixture of water and paint coming out of the spray gun. Your cue to stop is when you see clear water and no paint flowing out. This, again, takes up to a few minutes. 

Reassemble the parts of your spray gun. Does it look as good as when you first bought it? If it does, you’ve done the job right! A bonus is the feeling of satisfaction you will get knowing your paint sprayer is clean and spotless. (Or is that just me?)

Step 5: Time to Store It! 

If you’re going to use your spray gun in the next couple of days, your work is now complete.

However, if you want to store it for a longer period, we recommend that you buy an anti-corrosion lubricant and add it to more clean, warm water. Repeat the spray process. This will ensure that your spray gun is protected from rusting and deterioration during storage. 


Remember, handling tools is like maintaining a car. They need proper servicing and care to provide maximum use in the long run. The right guidance will surely help you reap benefits for years.

What did you learn from this tutorial? We hope you’ve grasped the concept of removing dried latex paint from a paint sprayer. If so, be sure to help others by sharing this link and commenting below with your experience using this tutorial. You’re welcome to share your thoughts on any other guidance that we can offer. We want to help you paint your home with the most cost-effective and efficient tools!

Paint thinner and Mineral spirits