The following explanations are about cleaning the paint spray guns. This includes, at the same time, pointing out what materials are needed for this. They are essentially the same, as the spray guns are similar in their structure.
Subsequently, it is about the individual work steps how a thorough and gentle cleaning is carried out. In the process, 6 main steps crystallize out.
Why is it necessary to clean the paint spray gun?
Regular maintenance and prevention are cleaning the airbrush gun after use. It protects the individual components from getting clogged and broken and ensures the best user experience in the long run.
On the other hand, negative consequences can happen if you use it only once and then put it away dirty. The paints can stick and become encrusted. Especially the application in industrial colors and spray fillers requires careful and prompt cleaning.
Relevant suppliers of spray guns are similar on the market, and cleaning applies to all spray guns.
This is not necessarily a matter of surface and corrosion protection because the guns are primarily stainless steel. It is mainly about the spray pattern, which is negatively influenced using contamination.
Nevertheless, an expert for corrosion protection would always want to object, also about a rust danger, to carry out the cleaning regularly.
When and how often should you clean the spray gun?
It would help if you cleaned the gun in principle and at least after use and before a more extended period of non-use. An application on the following day, for example, would be this because the time is too long for a possible incrustation of the paint.
In addition, if you want to change the color or even wholly replace the paint with another medium or primer, you must also first clean them of all residues.
On the other hand, you should not simply leave the parts in a thinner antifreeze with corrosion protection or other chemical agents overnight. The seals, in particular, are susceptible and can be damaged.
What do you need to clean a paint spray gun?
Now we will move on to the cleaning process and show you what materials you need for this:
- Protective equipment: first of all, you must have suitable protective equipment to protect your health. This includes respiratory protection masks, safety glasses, gloves, and protective clothing. At the same time, a further application of the cleaning fluids of the face, eyes, and skin is recommended.
- Cleaning liquid: Here, the liquid depends on the paint or primer. Washing thinner is suitable for 2K acrylic paints, conventional basecoats, and most primers. On the other hand, there are special alcohol-based cleaners for water-based coatings. You will usually find the corresponding instructions in the technical datasheet in case of doubt.
- Container for cleaning liquid: either use a plastic container or a stainless steel container to pour the cleaning fluid.
- Cleaning brushes for spray guns: There are different sizes in a set to clean the air duct, nozzle, and air holes.
- Waterproof tarpaulin: here could be applied a so-called industrial construction tarp or another protective film to protect the surface of the workplace during cleaning.
- Nozzle cleaning needles: These are used for special cleaning of the small air holes on the air cap.
- Silicone-free grease: Basically, applying oil or silicone-free grease is always essential. You will need this to reinsert the needle later, and it serves as a kind of marine surface protection for the hand and the return spring.
- Brush set: A coarse round bristle brush and a slightly more delicate hairbrush for the hand are recommended.
- Tool of the gun of the scope of supply: You need at least the wrench of the supply size to unscrew the nozzle.
- Magnifying glass: You should also have a magnifying glass with you to recognize defects on the nozzle.
Cleaning a paint spray gun in 6 steps (instructions)
Below, the following 6 steps will show you what you need to do and pay attention to at the same time when cleaning the guns. This is a crucial part isolated in itself.
But it is also a part of the damage analysis because, at the same time, you can find out if something is defective on the gun. For this reason, always work with perfect lighting.
Step 1: Disassemble the spray gun
First, you should disassemble the entire spraying system. First, unscrew the paint funnel. Then carefully loosen the air cap at the front.
In the next step, pull the trigger and hold it as the selected setting to pull the needle back. Then you should use an appropriate wrench, which should be included in the gun set, to carefully unscrew the nozzle at the front.
After that, you can remove the needle at the back with the spring by unscrewing the stepless material volume control.
Step 2: Clean the body
Clean the body with the respective brushes and cleaning fluid. However, avoid this penetrating into the air duct.
Therefore, always tilt and hold the gun correctly and use gravity. To do this, penetrate from below with the brushes so that the liquid runs out immediately.
Step 3: Clean air hood/air cap
Here you work with a coarse bristle brush and clean it with the cleaner. For the air holes, use the tiny brushes that should be dipped.
Then clean the air cap with the nozzle cleaning needles on the holes. In the end, you should again wipe everything with the coarse brush.
Step 4: Cleaning the spray nozzle
Clean the spray nozzle in the channel with a small brush and the cleaner. Use a slightly smaller brush for the air ducts, which you have to run through with a damp cloth.
On the outside, clean everything with the coarse bristle brush and again the cleaning liquid. Also, pay attention to possible contamination of the nozzle opening, which you should rub flat or horizontally with the brush.
Check the nozzle to ensure it is not defective and may have fine cracks. This is sometimes difficult to detect, so use a magnifying glass that magnifies intensively.
Step 5: Clean the needle
Carefully wipe the needle with a hairbrush and the liquid cleaner. Always check if it is still intact, as it is one of the most vulnerable parts of the gun, just like the nozzle.
Step 6: Assemble the spray gun
When reassembling, basically follow the steps backward as you disassemble the gun.
Be especially careful when inserting the needle and tighten the nozzle with the wrench. All suitable gun suppliers usually only allow a working pressure of about 14 Newton meters, which is not much.
3 Tips for cleaning the paint spray gun
- Tip 1: Never leave the spray gun in thinner overnight. Otherwise, the paint residue will spread to all areas of the weapon, from which you may never be able to get it out again.
- Tip 2: You should never air-dry the paint gun. Even with declared rust-free guns, rust can always occur. Always dry it immediately with a cloth to create a clean surface. This will stop rust even before it forms.
- Tip 3: Never forget the complete respiratory and work protection product when cleaning. Because toxic gases can always rise, which can be harmful to health.
What to do if the cleaning was forgotten?
If you have forgotten to clean the gun, you should do it at your leisure after following the above steps. It does not have to be that the weapon will immediately be totally unusable, and the delayed cleaning cycle would not be enough.
As a rule, the areas where the paint passes through are clogged. These are the nozzle, needle, and paint channel. Here, you may have to do several cleaning passes to restore a better user experience.
Where should you dispose of the dilution after cleaning?
The thinner is harmful to the environment. Therefore, you must not simply dispose of it in the residual waste or even the sink. The liquid is considered hazardous waste.
Therefore, you should dispose of it at the hazardous waste collection points of the municipalities or cities and take it there. So that this does not have to be so constant, you should collect it in a large container, keep it closed and store it safely until disposal.