How to Clean Your Spray Gun When Using Water Based Paints and Products | Video Tutorial
Hi, creative friends! Do you love shooting paint but hate cleaning your sprayer? Last week in the comments, Kathy W K asked me how I clean my paint gun and what products do I use? Today I’m sharing how I clean my spray gun when using water-based products. I’m also sharing a big NO-NO when it comes to cleaning products and what to do with your gun in between coats so you DON’T have to clean it. Believe me, it’s a huge time saver!
For those of you who don’t spray, I have a take-two on an Ikea dresser I found exactly one year ago and I’d love to hear which version you like best. 😊
Here’s what the dresser looked like originally. It’s a twenty+ year old IKEA Narvik Dresser with the original bunt feet.
You may remember this dresser from last October. I had stenciled the entire piece in a bold black and white design and added hairpin legs. It hasn’t sold yet because I never listed it. I was three knobs shy of a full set.
It says a lot that I’d rather paint an entire dresser all over again rather than head out to buy three matching knobs, right?
For my take-two, I sprayed it with a custom color (a 50/50 mix of Palmetto and In The Navy) and added some satin nickel hardware.
Here’s the restyled look…
I’m guessing this gorgeous color with this sleek finish might sell a little faster anyway.
THIS POST IS SPONSORED/CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS TO PRODUCTS I USE. YOU CAN SEE MY FULL DISCLOSURE HERE.
HOW TO CLEAN A SPRAY GUN
This one’s for you, Kathy! 🙂
As I work with water-based products (paints & topcoats) my main source of cleaning my gun is with water, brushes, and elbow grease. I’ve had the same sprayer since 2013 and it still works amazing. When I first got it, I was clueless about how to properly clean it. I found a video explaining that using solvent-based cleaners with a waterborne gun/products can clog and cling some of the paint to the gun because the two should never be mixed. I’ve included this video in the Related Posts below if you want to see the two different results. It’s a technical video but very informative.
A spray gun cleaning kit is helpful. They are inexpensive and make the task much easier. But as you’ll see in the video, you can also use really inexpensive tools from the dollar store. Like wire brushes, toothpicks, and rubbing alcohol.
Here’s the full video tutorial. If you have any trouble viewing it in your browser, feel free to click on my Youtube Channel here… and don’t forget to subscribe! 🙂
- Empty paint cup of leftover product
- Fill paint cup 1/3 with water (with lid) and shake to loosen extra paint
- Repeat while spraying until the spray runs clear
- Block the air holes and reverse the airflow up into the cup to loosen the paint on the inside
- Remove and clean the cup with a brush removing ALL paint
- Take apart the gun and clean each individual part with a brush and Dawn if necessary
- Let the parts dry and reassemble
BONUS TIP ~ I don’t empty my spray gun between coats of paint or between coats of sealer. All I do is use some water and a brush to clean off the nozzle. Then I wrap it in plastic wrap and/or a plastic bag. It’s the same concept of wrapping a paintbrush in plastic between uses. So long as the air can’t get to it, it won’t dry out. You can come back in an hour or so to spray your next coat. This saves SO MUCH time!
BONUS TIP#2 ~ Use household rubbing alcohol to clean off stuck-on paint on your spray gun. Rubbing Alcohol will also clean your paint-splattered clothes too!
Here’s another look at the before and after…
I HOPE YOU’VE FOUND THIS HELPFUL. LET ME KNOW WHICH VERSION OF THIS DRESSER MAKEOVER YOU PREFER. ALSO, IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR TIPS YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE FEEL FREE TO CHIME IN… I ALWAYS LOVE HEARING FROM YOU.
Thanks for reading. 🙂
Wishing you a beautiful day filled with inspiration and Happy Spray Painting friends!
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Do Not Clean or Chase with Solvents! (reference video)
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Only now looking into buying a sprayer. What are the main things I should be looking for? I ‘m not ready to spend on a top quality one, but I don’t want a dud either. what do you suggest I look for? Also, do you have to rinse it out from the paint before you fill it with sealer? Or can I just put the varnish inside and have it mix in with the paint residue? Thanks so much for all of your tips, tricks and info!
Are you looking for an electric or one that runs on a compressor? And yes, I always clean the paint out before using my paint gun to spray the clear coat. 🙂
An electric one.
The only electric one that I’ve ever tried was a Wagner and I didn’t have much luck so I use a paint gun hooked to a compressor. But I know a few furniture painter colleagues that use this HOmeright one here and they love it. Hope this helps. 🙂
My biggest takeaway from this is your paint color. I love it! And I would absolutely not ever think of mixing the Palmetto with In The Navy. Genius! Now I want to start my own little lab of paint mix trials. 🙂
Hi Carol!! I’m so glad you like it. 😊 It’s fun to experiment with color especially if you’re on a budget. You can buy a few different colors that you love… and then mix to create your own color line!
Hi Denise. I am new here. Did you use chalk paint in the sprayer?
Hi Barb and WELCOME! 🙂 Yes, I’ve used Chalk Paints in my sprayer. They spray nicely if they are thinned by 10-15% with water. 🙂
Marie-Interior Frugalista says
I have almost the identical paint sprayer and appreciate your video tutorial. I have to admit that I’m shocked you repainted that pretty stenciled dresser! It was one of my favorites. The new-look is very pretty too – love the color!
Sometimes I shock myself Marie…lol. 😉 Have a super week my friend. XOXO
They are both beautiful, but second one would go with more decors so great call. Sad to see all the work you did be taken away.
Thanks, Robin! The second one would go more with my decor too. I hope it sells quickly. 🙂
Kathy W F says
I’m just now catching up. Denise, Thanks so much for the spray gun video. It’s just what I needed. I was a little intimdated to use one. Now im ready to spray awaway. I kinda felt famous that my name appeared in your blog! LOL. I think it depends on what type of room you want to place tbe dresser but i do love the blue. And…blue is back again. Thanks again for the great tips. Your videos are great teaching tools.
Spraying is a lot of fun but I remember when I first started I was SUPER intimidated… so I get it. I’m so happy you found the vid helpful and it’s encouraged you to give it a try. 😊
Joanne H. says
The black and white is beautiful but I love the blue. I echo the person that wrote about the calming effect. It’s amazing how one piece can have 2 such different looks.
Thanks for the video on cleaning paint sprayer . I first used mine this summer and it was great for painting 2 chairs. Always so helpful to get your tips.
I’m always amazing at how a piece can look SO different too. Paint is amazing, isn’t it!? And ya… I find chairs are a pain-in-the-you-know-what without a sprayer.😉
Both versions are beautiful, but I prefer the blue. It’s very calm and soothing.
It is, isn’t it? 🙂 I really like those two colors mixed together!
Mary Loveland says
I like the “take 2” but those legs (angle) are concerning. That is a very large dresser, did the legs have a weight capacity? Thanks for the spray gun tips, they’re great.
I’m so glad the tips are were helpful Mary! And yes, it’s a large dresser but surprisingly light for its size! These hairpin legs can hold MUCH more. 🙂
I have to admit that I like the black and white the best. All of your projects are always so nice. You are an inspiration!
Thanks so much, Barbara! XOXO
I’m not sure I have a favorite between the two because they are very different looks. Both are beautiful. And thank you for the video Denise! ~ Nicki
They are very different. Thanks Nicki! 🙂
Do Dodson says
Great tutorial! I’ve only used my sprayer a couple of times but watching you spray reminded me how quick and easy it really is. Thanks for sharing. 🙂 xo
Thanks Do! I love spraying and it’s a nice break from brushing sometimes. Plus it gives the piece a totally different finish, doesn’t it? 🙂
Hi Denise. I love when you show the same piece of furniture re-done two ways. It really exemplifies how such different looks can be achieved with some paint and imagination. Both are absolutely beautiful.
Thanks Monique! It is fun to see how the same piece can be totally transformed. 🙂