Finishing, Spray Techniques Spray Gun Cleanup

How well you maintain your equipment has a lot to do with the quality of your finish and the life of your equipment.

Spray Gun Clean-Up

Your finishing department is only as good as your maintenance program. How well you maintain your equipment has a lot to do with the quality of your finish and the life of your equipment. Equipment that is not clean will be more problematic and waste a lot of a finisher’s time either fixing the equipment or the poor spray job.

Dirty guns simply do not spray as well or as efficiently as equipment that is taken care of. You should establish a set of procedures for cleaning and maintaining your equipment and make sure that everyone that uses them follows the rules.

  • Clean equipment right after use. Once a finish dries on something, it is much harder to clean off.
  • Remove as much coating from the gun or system as possible before cleaning with a solvent. This will keep the excess material from diluting the cleaning action of the solvent.
  • Flush equipment with dirty solvent first, then again with a clean solvent.
  • Save the solvent from the second cleaning cycle so it can be used for the next “first” cleaning cycle.
  • Re-use solvents until they are saturated and lose their cleaning ability.
  • Keep tanks covered when not in use.
  • To clean siphon feed guns, turn down the air pressure about 5 PSI. Loosen the air cap and point the cup away from your face or finished product in case thinner sprays out of the cup. Pull the trigger to cycle thinner through the inside of the air cap.
  • NOTE: The top of the material cup on gravity feed guns tend to pop off if you try this procedure and the pressure is too high. ·

  • Normal cleaning does not require the removal of the needle valve.
  • Never soak the entire gun in thinner. The first inch of the head is all you need to get wet.
  • Soak your air caps in some thinner when you are not using them for any length of time. Blow them out with some air before re-installing on the gun.
  • A one gallon paint can fits nicely inside a two gallon tank. Pull it out and put a lid on it when you are done. Makes clean up easy. Keep clean up thinner in another can; drop it in, and flush out the line. There are also disposable liners that you can get for tanks.
  • Leave thinner in your hose after you clean the tank to keep any material left lining the hose from drying out and then flaking off when you run through your next batch of finish.
  • Lubricate the lid gasket on your tanks with a little flax soap to help maintain their resiliency and to keep them from sticking to the rim of the tank and then ripping.
  • After cleaning the insides of the guns, wipe down all gauges and exterior surfaces as well.
  • Clean up all measuring cups and mixing items.
  • Dispose of all spent solvents properly. Cap all cans and containers.
  • Soak all used rags with water and then remove them from the building.