How to Clean Latex Paint From Spray Equipment

Spray Guard and Tip
Spray Guard and Tip

Cleaning latex paint from spray equipment is extremely important. If the sprayer is not properly cleaned it will not work as it is designed to. Paint can quickly build up and dry in the pump causing the bearing to become stuck. Paint will also dry in the spray tip. A spray tip has a very tiny hole that the paint is forced through. If this becomes clogged the paint will not come through the tip at all.

Things You'll Need

  • Small soft-bristle brush
  • Garden hose
  • Two 5 gallon buckets
  • Pliers

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Remove the spray guard and tip from the end of the gun. The tip slides inside a hole on the side of the spray guard. Pull the tip out of the guard. Thoroughly clean the spray guard and the tip with warm water. A soft bristle brush can help quickly remove dried paint from both parts. After washing the tip, hold it toward a light source and look through the larger hole on the tip. You should be able to see daylight through the tiny spray hole.

Spray Guard and Tip
Spray Guard and Tip

Unscrew the top of the gun from the handle. Inside of the handle is a filter. Remove the filter from the gun and rinse it with water until it no longer has any paint on it. Temporarily put the gun back together without the filter. Use a pair of pliers or channel locks to grip the handle and turn the top of the gun by hand if you cannot get it apart.

Spray Gun
Spray Gun

Fill a 5 gallon bucket with clean water. Place the siphon tube set located on the front of the sprayer into the bucket. Turn the sprayer on in the prime position for a few seconds. Turn the sprayer to the "on" position after allowing the sprayer to prime or draw water to the pump. Aim the gun into the second 5 gallon bucket. Spray into the bucket until the paint is completely removed from the sprayer and the hose.

Airless Sprayer
Airless Sprayer

Refill the the water bucket with clean water. Turn the sprayer back to the prime position. Allow the sprayer to prime until the clear plastic siphon tube attached to the siphon is clear and has no paint in it. Turn the sprayer back to the "on" position and once again spray water through the hose and the gun until it sprays clear, clean water.

Remove the inlet strainer on the end of the siphon hose by turning it counterclockwise. Wash the inlet strainer in water and put it back in place. The inlet strainer looks like a screen. Unscrew the top of the gun from the handle and put the filter back inside the handle.

Use throat seal liquid after every use. There is a hole on the front of the sprayer to squeeze the liquid into. The instructions that come with the sprayer will specify exactly how much to use. Many sprayers require three to five drops after each use. Throat seal liquid protects the packings and the pump rod from excessive wear, and from becoming encrusted with dried paint.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are using an oil-base paint you will need to use a paint thinner to clean the gun and the sprayer. There are no shortcuts to cleaning a sprayer. Periodically rinse the spray tip while you are painting to help reduce dried paint buildup.
  • Do not allow the sprayer to sit without properly cleaning it. It will clog up and not work the next time that you try to use it. Do not use paint thinners to try to clean latex paint out of a sprayer. Do not use water to try to clean oil paint out of a sprayer.
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