HVLP spray gun is one of the most important tools for different painting projects. It has made painting a fun task, and you can do it by yourself easily. And if you have proper knowledge, you can paint any projects like woodworking, walls, furniture, or automotive.
Cleaning the spray gun immediately after every use is very important, and definitely, it is not a difficult task. It helps to maintain the gun’s quality for a long time. Proper and on-time cleaning of the spray gun will ensure working like a new sprayer.
But if you are late for a few hours to clean it after use, the paint will get dried inside the sprayer and clog easily. So you will not get your desired spray pattern next time even if you clean it thoroughly or soak it in cleaning solvent because there must be some paint residue inside the gun.
So it is recommended to clean the gun immediately after you use it every time to keep the working efficiency the same as a new one. Once you clean the gun properly, it will be easier to repeat it next time.
Disassemble the gun carefully.
There are various types of hvlp guns in the market, and most of them consist of the same components. So the cleaning or disassembling process is almost the same. But it would be best if you were very careful during the process. You should read the user manual properly or do online research on the disassembling process.
While taking the gun apart, it is important to handle the small and delicate parts like needles or tips very carefully so that these don’t bend or break otherwise. It is not possible to reassemble it like earlier and get the same painting effect.
Keep tracking of all the parts.
People’s most common fault is that they disassemble the spray gun system and keep all the parts, including the delicate ones, in the sink. And then, fill the sink with soapy water and start cleaning them.
As a result, sometimes some parts get lost, bent, or broken down. So it is recommended to develop a process where you will keep small and delicate parts of the spray gun away from the larger parts and clean them separately and carefully. As I mentioned earlier, cleaning a spray gun is not difficult; you need to do it carefully.
Necessary things to clean hvlp paint sprayer
To clean a sprayer, you should have some items ready at hand. Maybe you already have some of those things. So while buying a paint sprayer or before buying a sprayer cleaning kit, you should check the below things if you already have those.
- Cleaning solvent
- Soapy water
- Brush (complementary with almost all spray systems)
- Plastic bucket
- Gun wrench, which is also complimentary with almost all spray gun systems.
Do not forget to use protective equipment like gloves or goggles while cleaning the sprayer as the cleaning solution can cause harm to your skin or eyes.
7-steps hvlp gun cleaning procedures:
- Detaching the air regulator
- Removing the residue
- Cleaning out the cup
- Disassembling the spray gun body
- Submerging the parts carefully in cleaning solvent like paint thinner.
- Wiping everything with rags
- Reassembling the spray gun
Step 1- Detaching the air regulator:
The first thing you need to do is detach the air compressor. Then the air regulator needs to be detached from the spray gun.
Step 2- Removing the residue:
Now, you have to remove all the paint residue from the gun. You should not return the paint to the paint can if you have added a hardener because it will set the paint balance in the can.
If you were only doing base-coat without any hardener, you could return the remaining paint into its can and use it later on. Then wipe the gun and its parts with rags to remove the residue as much as possible. This will help to clean the gun easily with the paint thinner later on.
Step 3- Cleaning out the cup:
The paint cup needs to be cleaned up first as it contains most of the paint material on it. So start by filling up the container with the paint thinner or other solvent. Then screw in the cap on the cup.
Do not forget to put your hand on the top over the air-hole. Then shake the gun thoroughly so that the thinner covers almost the whole inner surface and dissolves excess paint residue. Then pull the trigger and spray the thinner in a plastic bucket. This will allow the thinner to run through the gun’s mechanism and clean deep inside the gun.
Then screw the cap off and pour the balance paint thinner into the bucket by pulling the trigger to ensure that everything is cleaned out.
Now take some thinner on the paper towel or rag and wipe the cup and the lid inside and outside. While doing all these tasks, you must have to use gloves and goggles.
Step 4- Disassembling the spray gun:
Now unscrew the paint cup off the spray gun body and keep both the cup and cap aside on a paper towel to dry it. Now you will disassemble the rest of the parts. Unscrew the air cap and soak it into a pot of thinner.
Now unscrew the fluid adjustment knob and pull out the needle very carefully as it is spring-loaded. The spring may shoot out if it is under any pressure, and it can get lost. Press the trigger while pulling out the needle as it prevents the needle from bending or damage. Then place the knob, spring, and needle aside carefully as these are tiny but essential parts.
With the complementary wrench, you have to unscrew the air cap’s inner part and carefully keep them with other tiny parts.
Step 5- Submerging the parts carefully in cleaning solvent:
Now the spray gun is fully disassembled, and you have to submerge the comparatively bigger parts like spray gun body, inner and outer air caps in a cleaning solvent like paint thinner and wait for half an hour to one hour. Within this time, the paint residue will break up, stay for a longer time inside, and make it easier to clean the parts properly.
If you keep the tiny and delicate parts in the same bucket, then there is a possibility of bending or damaging, even losing the parts. So it is recommended to rinse the small parts in the thinner and clean these with the rags once or twice. For this purpose, you can use soapy water instead of thinner if you prefer.
Step 6- Wiping everything with rugs:
After half an hour to one hour of soaking in paint thinner, now it is time to take the spray gun parts out of the cleaning solvent and wipe them down properly.
Now you can use the brush to clean the gun equipment. You can scrub the gun with the brush in the thinner if there are any additional residues in the fluid tip or air caps that can be easily cleaned with this.
Even after cleaning with the brush, if you still notice any paint residue in the air cap holes, you can carefully use a toothpick to get those out.
After cleaning well, you need to take the rags or paper towels with a small thinner to thoroughly and carefully wipe all the gun body parts. Then the entire gun needs to be dried with compressed air. It would be best if you were sure that there are no excess water drops in any holes or parts of the gun as any residual drop of water may hamper the gun’s mechanism for the next time use.
Step 7- Reassembling the spray gun:
Now, you have to reassemble the spray gun. Firstly you need to place the needle and spring at their places; you can use some lubricant with the needle to make placement easier. After that, screw the inner air cap on, then the external air cap.
Finally, attach the paint cup with the body. Then it is complete.
Tips and tricks to keep your hvlp spray gun clean
- The most important part of cleaning the hvlp paint guns is to choose the right cleaning solvent. As there are different cleaning solvents available in the market, you need to know which is perfect for the hvlp spray you have. You can learn this by searching on the web and reading reviews of people having the same sprayer. Most of the available paint thinners are not heavy-duty enough to clean the enamel-based or oil-based paints. An automotive-grade lacquer thinner or paint gun cleaning solution is good for better cleaning.
- Your paint sprayer needs to be cleaned well between the coats. It is important to disassemble all the parts and clean them thoroughly to get better functioning next time. And it is a must to dry all the parts of the spray gun.
- There are some ready-to-use cleaners available in the market. They are comparatively cheaper and can save money.
- If you change the color or lacquer or switch to one from another, then, as usual, you need to clean and dry all the parts of the spray gun very carefully to get the desired efficiency next time.
Cleaning your paint sprayer properly is the main trick to use it for a longer period with satisfactory efficiency. You need to learn the full cleaning process as it is a mandatory part of the painting process. When you do it for the first time, it may seem not easy to you, but it will be easier if you continue doing it after each use.
If you take proper care of your hvlp spray gun, it will last longer. You won’t need maintenance costs, and you don’t need to buy a new one for every project.