How to Clean a Plugged Graco Airless Spray Tip

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Things You'll Need

  • Wire or pin

  • Toothbrush

  • Crescent wrench

  • Solvent

Graco airless sprayers make fast work of hard-to-paint surfaces and big jobs, but the spray tip is a weak link in the system -- the smallest piece of grit can plug it. Most Graco guns come with Reverse-A-Clean (RAC) spray tips, and you can clear a plugged tip in seconds with one. If you have the older style flat tip, it's a bit more of a nuisance, but having a couple of basic tools on hand enables you to clear a plugged tip within minutes and get back to work.


Step 1

Twist the lever on the side of the spray tip clockwise if it's a Reverse-A-Clean tip. Direct the gun into a waste bucket and briefly pull the trigger. This will blow out the plug from the back side of the tip. Turn the lever back and resume spraying.

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Step 2

Turn the power switch off at the pump and engage the trigger lock on the gun for a blocked flat tip. Use a crescent wrench or the Graco wrench to unscrew the tip housing and remove the tip.


Step 3

Run the tip under hot water. The force of the water alone may dislodge the plug. Try brushing it away with a toothbrush. Hold the tip up to the light; if you can see through the orifice, the plug is gone.

Step 4

Use a small piece of wire or a safety pin to push the plug out from the back side of the tip. Never attempt to pry the plug away from the front of the tip because you can easily scratch and ruin it.


Step 5

Soak the tip in very hot water or solvent if it's firmly plugging the orifice and you can't remove it with a pin. Acetone or lacquer thinner will dissolve most kinds of dried paint.


Strain all paint into a clean 5-gallon bucket before running it through the sprayer.

Drape clean plastic sheeting over the spray rig to prevent the paint from drying out or debris falling in while you work.

Keep a selection of spare spray tips in your tool box.


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