Airless Paint Sprayer Cleaning Guide

Cleansing your airless sprayer properly and after every spray job is of the utmost importance! Proper care and maintenance is what is going to make your paint sprayer last and work for you trouble free. Probably half our repair work is due to lack of and/or unsatisfactory cleaning.


These general how-to cleaning instructions apply to most Graco (piston pump) airless sprayers as well as many others with slight variations such as filter types and locations as well as brand-named parts. This way to Graco Magnum cleaning instructions.

  1. Turn power OFF.
  2. Turn pressure to lowest setting. Trigger spray gun to relieve pressure.
  3. Turn prime valve down (to open position).
  4. Remove filter assembly and assemble airless spray gun without filter.
  5. Remove guard and SwitchTip.
  6. Clean filter, guard and SwitchTip in flushing fluid (water, paint thinner etc.).
  7. Remove siphon tube set from paint and place in flushing fluid. Use water for water base paint and mineral spirits for oil base paint.
  8. If sprayer has a filter, unscrew bowl, remove filter assembly. Assemble bowl without filter. Clean filter.
  9. Turn power ON and prime valve horizontal (to closed position).
  10. Hold spray gun against paint pail. Take trigger safety OFF. Trigger gun and increase pressure until flushing fluid appears.
  11. Move airless gun to flushing pail. Hold spray gun against pail and trigger gun to thoroughly flush system (until flushing fluid runs clear). Release trigger and engage trigger safety.
  12. Turn prime valve down (open position) and allow flushing fluid to circulate for 1 to 2 minutes to clean drain tube.
  13. Raise siphon tube above flushing fluid and run sprayer for 15 to 30 seconds to drain fluid. Turn power OFF.

    Note: If flushing with water, flush again with mineral spirits or Pump Armor, but do not repeat 8. or 14. This leaves a protective coating in the system to help prevent freezing or corrosion.

  14. Install filter bowl and filter assembly. Hand tighten filter bowl. Install filter assembly into spray gun. Hand tighten gun handle.
  15. Wipe sprayer, hose and spray gun with a rag soaked in water or mineral spirits.
  16. See airless spray gun manual for additional gun cleaning information.

If you want to see some pictures of paint sprayers that have not been taken care of, see The Airless Wall of Shame.