Sure, we should clean our paint sprayers straight after use. However, we’re only human after all and sometimes this task is forgotten, or ignored. The result is caked-on paint on an expensive tool. Yikes.
Not to worry, though, because here we cover the correct technique for removing dried paint from a paint gun.
Hint: It’s not going hell for leather with screwdrivers and the like trying to remove it. Think of the damage you could cause!
Cleaning Dried Latex Paint From a Paint Sprayer: A Step by Step Guide
What You Need to Follow This Tutorial
Even though you’re not actively spraying, you’re still working with paint so guard yourself by wearing full protective gear throughout the process. Lay down a drop cloth to protect your workshop floor or garden (if working outdoors).
This tutorial focuses on cleaning the sprayer with water and a soft brush. Latex is a water-based formula and water is all you need. However, if you do come across an especially stubborn piece, apply a very small amount of mineral spirits to the area with a cloth and rub gently.
Try to avoid doing this though as harsh chemicals can cause tubing and gaskets to wear out faster than normal. Additionally, if you do use solvent, thoroughly rinse the area with plain water afterwards.
Step 1: Nozzle Cleaning
4. Be sure to dispose of any leftover paint or wastewater responsibly.
Step 2: Clean the Filters
Step 3: Flush The System
If using an HVLP device with a paint cup, fill the paint container with water and set the machine to spray into the waste pail. If the container nears empty and the liquid expelled is still not running clear, repeat the process until it does.
For airless units, fill one pail with clean water and use the other pail as a waste receptacle. Place the flexible uptake tube in the water and set the machine to prime for a couple of minutes so the liquid circulates through the device.
Step 4: Inlet Strainer Cleaning
Situated at the base of the uptake hose, inlet strainers eliminate any debris in the paint. Hopefully, the thorough rinse from step three removed most of the dried paint. However, if some remains, gently scrape it away with the brush and rinse again with the garden hose so dried flakes are not drawn into the system again.
Step 5: Final Test, Wipe Down, and Storage
Run more water through the unit once again, either by filling the paint cup or by placing the flexible uptake tube in a pail of water.
This is also a good opportunity to check for any wear and tear on the outside of the machine.
Why Is Dried On Latex a Problem?
If you clean your paint sprayer properly after every use, latex coating can’t dry on the gun’s internal mechanisms and cause these problems.
What Type of Paint Sprayers Can Handle Latex?
For example, a device like the handheld Wagner FLEXiO 590 can handle unthinned latex, which is fairly unique in an HVLP machine as many lack the power. It’s also easy to clean the unit’s awkward areas thanks to the Lock-N-Go system.
An airless paint sprayer such as the Graco 495 handles mid-viscosity paints like latex well too due to a high-pressure output. This said, airless devices are harder to clean because of the extra components that keep them up and running.
Remember that water and a soft cleaning brush are your best friends in this process. Use a solvent if you absolutely must, but rinse the device with fresh water afterward.
Know someone who needs to know how to clean dried latex paint from a paint sprayer? Feel free to share this guide with your forgetful buddies!
Cleaning Dried Paint From a Paint Sprayer FAQs
Q: How Do You Remove Latex Paint After It Dries?
Dried latex coating can be stubborn to remove from a paint sprayer. The best technique involves plenty of water and patience. This handy step-by-step guide will put your sprayer right and your mind at ease.
Q: Can You Leave Paint in a Sprayer Overnight?
No. Most paint sprayer manufacturers advise that their machines should be cleaned immediately after use. Dried paint could interfere with the unit’s functionality and performance.
Q: Will Acetone Remove Dried Latex Paint?
Acetone will remove dried latex paint, but only use it as a last resort. Prolonged use of acetone could cause components to wear out faster than normal. Since latex is a water-based coating, the majority of the time, it can be cleaned with normal water and a soft scrubbing brush.
Q: How Do You Clean a Paint Gun After Use?
It depends on both the type of paint gun and the paint that was used. For example, procedures are different with airless sprayers than they are with HVLP units. If you’re not sure how to clean your paint gun properly, click here for all the essential details.