How to Clean an HVLP Spray Gun? A Step-by-Step Guide

HVLP spray guns are widely used by automotive, woodworking, and furniture professionals to apply paint and finish to surfaces. However, paint residue and debris can build up inside the gun over time, leading to clogs and inefficiency. Proper cleaning and maintenance of an HVLP spray gun are essential to ensure it works effectively and produces high-quality finishes.

Cleaning an HVLP spray gun may appear daunting, but it does not have to be. You can quickly and efficiently clean your gun with acetone, lacquer thinner, or gun cleaning solution, ensuring it is ready for use the next time you need it.

You can find detailed instructions on cleaning an HVLP spray gun here to keep your gun in good working order and achieve the perfect paint job for your project.

How to Clean an HVLP Spray Gun?

If you’re a serious painter or hobbyist, you’ve probably purchased an HVLP (high-volume, low-pressure) spray gun. Paint, stains, and other coatings are applied with these guns.

The spray gun, however, requires more cleaning the more you use it. Cleaning and maintaining your HVLP spray gun is critical to keeping it in top condition. Here’s how:

Step 1: Disassemble the Gun

Begin by following the manufacturer’s instructions to remove the nozzle, needle, air cap, and any other detachable parts. Exercise caution not to apply excessive force or cause harm to any fragile components.

Step 2: Soak the Parts in Solvent

After that, select a suitable solvent, such as lacquer thinner or a gun cleaning solution, and fill a container with it. Submerge all disassembled parts in the solvent, ensuring they are fully covered. Allow them to soak for the recommended duration, typically 15 to 30 minutes, to loosen any dried paint or residue.

Step 3: Clean the Gun Body

During the soaking process of the parts, it is necessary to clean the gun body in a professional manner. Use a soft brush or cloth dipped in solvent to gently scrub the exterior and interior surfaces to eliminate any paint or debris. Focusing on the areas around the air and fluid passages is essential.

Step 4: Rinse & Dry

After the designated soaking time, extracting the components from the solvent and conducting a comprehensive rinse with clean water to eliminate all residual traces of solvent and paint is recommended. Drying the components with a lint-free cloth or compressed air is advised to ensure optimal results. Ensuring complete evaporation of any moisture is imperative, as it can initiate corrosion.

Step 5: Reassemble the Spray Gun

After allowing all the parts to dry completely, proceed with reassembling the spray gun. Ensure that each component is fitted correctly and tightened in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply the specified lubricant to any necessary components for proper functioning.

Why Clean Your HVLP Spray Gun?

Keeping your HVLP spray gun clean is crucial to maintaining its performance and increasing its lifespan. Over time, paint and other materials can build up inside the gun, causing blockages and reducing the efficiency of the spray pattern. A dirty spray gun can also result in uneven coverage, leading to a poor finish and wasted material.

Cleaning your HVLP spray gun is essential for several reasons:

Maintaining Optimal Performance

As time passes, the accumulation of paint and residue inside the spray gun can negatively impact its functionality. To ensure that the spray gun operates at its maximum potential, it is important to clean it on a regular basis. This practice guarantees consistent spray patterns and prevents clogs or uneven paint application.

Prevent Cross-Contamination

To minimize the risk of cross-contamination while using different types of paint or coatings, it is imperative to clean your spray gun thoroughly. Failing to do so can result in undesirable color variations or compromised finish quality. Residual paint or chemicals left in the gun can mix with the next material you spray. Hence, it is recommended to follow proper cleaning procedures diligently to maintain the highest level of quality and consistency in your work.

Prolong the Lifespan of Your Spray Gun

Appropriate cleaning and maintenance practices are essential in significantly increasing the longevity of your HVLP spray gun. The accumulation of paint and debris inside the equipment can result in corrosion, blockages, or harm to delicate parts. This can lead to reduced efficiency or the requirement for untimely replacements.

Ensuring Safety

Proper maintenance of the spray gun is essential in minimizing potential hazards. Cleaning the gun thoroughly removes any residue of flammable or hazardous substances, reducing the risk of accidents. It is crucial to eliminate any paint or solvent remnants that could ignite during future use or storage.

The Best Spray Gun Cleaning Solvent

There are many different solvents on the market designed for cleaning spray guns, and it can be challenging to determine which is best for your needs. In general, however, the best solvent for cleaning a spray gun is one that will quickly and effectively remove all paint, debris, and other build-ups without damaging or eroding any parts. One popular option is mineral spirits, often used as a paint thinner.

Mineral spirits quickly dissolve most paint and other build-up types, making them ideal for cleaning spray guns. However, they can also be harsh on delicate parts like seals and O-rings. Another option is denatured alcohol, which is less likely to damage these sensitive parts but may not be as effective at dissolving paint and other build-ups.

Ultimately, the best solvent for cleaning your spray gun will depend on its specific make and model and the paint or other material you use. Be sure to consult your gun’s owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website for specific recommendations before selecting a solvent.

Should You Clean Your HVLP Gun Between Coats?

Yes, an HVLP gun should be cleaned between coats. This is an important step in the painting process as it helps to ensure a professional, high-quality finish. Failing to clean the gun between coats can lead to a wide range of issues, including paint build-up in the nozzle, an uneven finish, and poor adhesion.

It’s also important to ensure the gun is free from dust, grease, and other contaminants that can cause problems with the paint job. Before applying each coat of paint, it’s essential to use a good-quality gun cleaner and solvent to clean the gun thoroughly. This will help ensure the best possible finish and reduce the risk of problems arising from improper cleaning.

Can the Same Cleaning Method for HVLP Spray Guns be Used to Remove Dried Paint from Window Frames?

Yes, the same cleaning method for HVLP spray guns can be used for removing dried gloss paint from UPVC window frames. Use a combination of warm soapy water and a plastic scraper to gently remove the dried paint from the surface without damaging the window frames.

Should I Use an HVLP Spray Gun to Paint Vinyl Shutters?

Yes, using an HVLP spray gun for painting vinyl shutters is a great choice. The paint vinyl shutters tutorial recommends this method for achieving smooth, even coverage and avoiding the risk of brush strokes. The HVLP sprayer offers precision and control, making it perfect for this type of project.

Can Acetone Be Used in a Paint Sprayer?

Yes, but with a few caveats. Running acetone through a paint sprayer is possible. Still, it is crucial to remember that acetone is a very volatile solvent and can cause damage to the pump and internal components of the sprayer if not used correctly.

Before using acetone with a paint sprayer, consult the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure the sprayer is compatible with the solvent.

If the sprayer is compatible, adding acetone in small amounts is recommended, and cleaning the sprayer immediately after each use. Use the appropriate protective gear when using acetone, such as eye protection, a respirator, and gloves for safety reasons.

How You Can Clean Your HVLP Spray Gun


Cleaning an HVLP spray gun is a simple process that should be done regularly to ensure the best results. Taking the time to disassemble the gun, use solvent and an air compressor to blow out any remaining solvent, and then reassemble the gun can help to ensure that your HVLP spray gun is always in good working order.

You can use various cleaning solvents such as mineral spirits, lacquer thinner, or acetone to clean the gun. Cleaning the gun between coats is critical to avoid problems with the spray pattern and finish. You can keep your HVLP spray gun clean and ready to use by following the steps outlined in this article.

Leave a Comment