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How to clean Airbrush – How to clean an Airbrush Gun

how to clean airbrush


An airbrush gun is a precision tool that consists of finely tuned components. If you want to enjoy your airbrush gun for a long time you should treat it carefully and clean it regularly. Only in this way will it provide an attractive spray pattern and can be used for a long time for its intended purpose. Cleaning airbrushes is very simple. 




How often should the Airbrush Gun be cleaned?

An airbrush gun should be cleaned thoroughly after each use. In any case, however, if a longer break in work is imminent.

For thorough cleaning, it is necessary to disassemble the gun into its individual parts and to remove really all paint residues carefully.

If there is a color change during a work cycle, it is usually sufficient to rinse the airbrush gun briefly with water or cleaner to avoid unwanted color mixtures. Before the new paint is filled in, the water/cleaner should be completely sprayed out, otherwise, the first paint mist of the new paint is too diluted.



How to clean an Airbrush Gun properly?

The following utensils are necessary for thorough cleaning:

  • Airbrush cleaning kit and/or water
  • Kitchen roll, cellulose cloth, or old cloth
  • Cotton swabs
  • Airbrush cleaning breasts in different sizes
  • Brushes
  • Nozzle cleaning needle
  • Tools for disassembling the airbrush gun
  • Cleaning the ink channel


Product recommendation follows


Product recommendation follows


airbrush cleaner


Start by emptying the ink container. The remaining paint, if any, can be easily stored in an empty cup. Now fill some water into the paint cup and remove all paint residues with a cellulose cloth or cotton swabs. You can also use an old brush for this work. This water should be emptied and not sprayed through the gun. When spraying, paint residues that are not completely dissolved could clog the nozzle.

In the clean container you then add a few drops of airbrush cleaner or water. Spray the gun thoroughly with this. It is best to spray on a cloth / kitchen roll to see when no more paint comes out of the airbrush gun.

If you don’t have an airbrush cleaning pot at hand and normal water is not enough to completely dissolve the paint crusts, you can help yourself with a little window cleaner or alcohol.

If the spray mist is then free of paint, the remaining water/cleaner is emptied and compressed air is sent through the paint channel until the expelled air is dry.



Clean Airbrush Gun – Step by Step Guide


Important tips before cleaning


  • Set the compressor pressure to approx. 4 bar to spray the paint channel really freely
  • When using airbrush cleaner, vapors are produced which can damage your health. It is best to wear a mouthguard and ventilate your workshop sufficiently.

Disassembling the Pistol

Once the ink channel has been blown through and freed of the coarsest ink residues, the individual components are cleaned.

Before the first thorough cleaning, you should read the operating instructions of your airbrush gun. There you will find a detailed description of the parts that can be disassembled and the tools that are necessary to do so.

If you need tools to disassemble the gun, in most cases they were delivered with your airbrush gun. Some models can also be taken apart without tools.

To avoid losing any of the small parts and seals, it is advisable to collect the individual parts in a bowl. This way you will find them all again later for the assembly.

The first thing that is usually done is to remove the needle and put it safely aside. Pull the needle out to the front to avoid unnecessary contamination of the gun interior.

Then follow the airhead and nozzle. If the nozzle does not have a plug connection, it must be removed with a special tool. Finally, the paint container, needle chuck, and operating lever are removed.

The individual parts are now carefully cleaned with cleaner and cotton swabs, brush, and cloth. As little pressure as possible should be applied to the fine parts. Metal parts can also be placed in a cleaner to remove stubborn paint crusts.


Clean Needle

To clean the needle, put some cleaner on a cloth, and pull the needle through from the back to the front with a slight twisting motion until all paint residues are removed.

Do not clean the needle from front to back. There is a risk of injury for you and the needle!


cleaning airbrush


Clean Airbrush Nozzle

To clean the nozzle thoroughly from the inside, you can use a fine brush or a nozzle cleaning needle. Here absolute caution is necessary to avoid damaging the nozzle.


Ink Duct, Airhead, and Nozzle Connection

The airhead can easily be cleaned of paint with a cotton swab soaked in cleaner. The paint channel can be worked on with a fine brush.

For optimal maintenance of the functionality of all seals, they should also be thoroughly cleaned of paint residues.


Pistol Body, Paint Container, and Needle Chuck

The color cup is cleaned with a cloth or cotton swabs. In the rear part of the gun is the needle channel which is cleaned with a brush.

The needle chuck does not have to be completely disassembled for cleaning.


how to clean an airbrush


Assembling the Airbrush Gun

After the ink reservoir, needle chuck, and operating lever are mounted and installed again, the needle is inserted from the front to the rear. Please never push in from the back to the front: the needle tip could get stuck inside and bend.

Insert the needle until it protrudes out of the needle chuck. If the needle tip is also visible in the paint container, it has been pulled back far enough to place the nozzle.

Once the nozzle is in place and tightened, the needle can be pushed forward again until the tip is visible on the nozzle. The pistol body is screwed on last.



Maintenance of the Airbrush Gun

Once the airbrush gun has been disassembled, it is a good idea to take a quick look at the seals and threads during assembly.

Checking whether all seals are intact and firmly seated, as well as checking the fine threads and any set screws should become a fixed part of airbrush cleaning.

So your airbrush pistol is always in top condition and will give you pleasure for a long time.

airbrush cleaning pot




Tips and Tricks


Cleaning Sets

Special airbrush cleaning kits are available for cleaning the airbrush gun. These contain a cleaning agent optimally matched to the airbrush, a brush set, and usually a small bowl for storing small parts.

The components of a cleaning set can also be replaced by commercially available agents. So you can also use a normal window cleaner instead of an expensive cleaner.

The airbrush cleaning brushes can be replaced by dental brushes. Admittedly not quite optimal, because the cleaning brushes are a bit longer, this has its big advantage when cleaning the needle channel. Only they are long enough to clean the canal completely. Dental brushes are often too short.


Solvent as a cleaning Agent

In general: when using solvents, caution is required: not every airbrush gun can tolerate this treatment. Even solvent-resistant seals can be damaged in continuous use.

The use of acetone is clearly not recommended. Acetone dissolves dried-on paint in no time at all, but also very quickly decomposes the sensitive rubber seals of the airbrush gun. Furthermore, there is a high risk of poisoning when spraying acetone.


Ultrasonic Bath

The individual parts of the airbrush gun can be cleaned in an ultrasonic bath. This often takes only 3 to 5 minutes to loosen all paint encrustations and thus saves a lot of cleaning work. Ultrasonic cleaning reduces the risk of damage to the fine parts.



Our Conclusion

The correct cleaning of the airbrush gun is absolutely necessary to achieve a beautiful spray pattern permanently. Even if it may sound time-consuming and complicated at first, you will see after only a few exercises that the hand movements quickly become routine. The more regularly you clean your spray gun, the less time you have to plan for a cleaning appointment.


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