parts of paint sprayer

How to Clean Dried Latex Paint from Paint Sprayer

Perhaps you forgot to clean your paint sprayer after your last project, or you’ve been given a second-hand sprayer from a friend. There is a problem, you’ve got dried latex paint stuck in it. Can it be saved? And if so, how? Yes, it can, and we explain how.

Cleaning Dried Latex Paint

The end of a long day of dedicating hours into your painting project has come to a close. Before the job can be considered done, the proper cleaning process for your equipment must be followed. By always cleaning your equipment after a job, you will ensure the quality, reliability and long life of your sprayer. If the sprayer is not cleaned correctly, you risk an ill-functioning tool that may clog and not work as it is designed to. 

That is all well and good but what if we accidentally forget to clean it? What do we do then?

Faulty equipment is not going to get any job done, efficiently, or at all. Therefore, it is important to follow the right steps to clean the dried paint from your sprayer to get it working again, while also telling ourselves that we won’t do it again!

So, how to clean dried latex paint from paint sprayer, you should ask?

The task is not difficult, but will take some time and care. For cleaning dried paint out of your latex paint sprayer follow the steps below.

Step by Step Guide: How to Clean Dried Latex Paint from Paint Sprayer

Tip #1 | Understand Properties of Latex Paint 

Latex is thick water-based paints that have an natural potential for clogging the gun nozzle. The name latex came from the original makeup of the product—a rubber base. No longer used, latex paints are now a water-soluble base, built on vinyl and acrylics.

These paints are primarily used to paint homes and other structures. The makeup of the color allows durability, flexibility, sustainability, and resistance to mildew and wear-and-tear. The application comes on smooth and is generally easier to clean and maintain in comparison to oil-based paints. Drying time is rather quick, which allows for a second application coat the same day.

If you are interested in learning more about latex paint properties, see our article on the difference between enamel and latex paints here.

 Tip #2 | Identify the parts of the sprayer

 Before you can clean the device, you must know the parts that need to be detached so each can be cleaned separately. In the cleaning instructions below, proper terminology will be used to identify parts. It is recommended to refer to this image as often as needed to ensure appropriate identification.

parts of paint sprayer

Tip #3 | Gather Tools to Clean 

Before cleaning your paint sprayer, gather the necessary supplies listed below to do so:

  • Soft bristle brushes; stiff (not a wire brush)
  • 5-gallon buckets of clean water
  • Scrap bucket to store the dirty water
  • Rubber gloves
  • Goggles
  • Graco Pump Armor storage fluid

Tip #4 | Use Caution 

It is vital to keep your eyes and hands safe from cleaners and the splashing of paint. It is recommended not to rush and avoid distractions while cleaning your painting device. Further guidelines include the use of gloves and goggles for your protection. Should irritation occur, immediately flush your eye and remove any contact lenses. Following, be sure to seek medical attention.

Cleaning Process Step-by-Step

Step 1: Unscrew the tip housing from the gun and pull the tip out. 

Step 2: Take the soft bristle brush and scrub the tip housing. 

Step 3: Take the dirty sprayer and put it into the clean bucket of water to rinse. 

Step 4: Take the brush and scrub the primer tube and siphon hose. 

Step 5: Set sprayer to prime and let the paint drain into the paint bucket until it is running water. With the water still running, put the sprayer into the scrap bucket and let it run for a few minutes to ensure the device has been thoroughly rinsed, free of paint. 

Step 6: Run the rinse through the line of the gun. Repeat step 5 while cleaning the line. 

Step 7: Take a rag and wipe off the device. You are now done with your paint, so securely place the lid on the can. 

Step 8: Set the sprayer to prime. Run the water through the pump until clean water comes out of the end. 

Step 9: Clean the line by setting the pump on spray and pulling the trigger until water appears. The line and the pump are now clean. 

Step 10: Turn off sprayer. 

Step 11: Blow out the tip of the sprayer by blowing clean water through it. Screw the tip housing back on the gun with the attached tip. Begin spraying the tip forward and then reverse the tip. Make sure to stick the tip in the bottom of the bucket to prevent splashing. Repeat this a few times. 

Complete the process by winding up the hose and putting the sprayer away if you will be reusing the device within a reasonable time. For storage purposes, add anti-corrosion chemicals and Pump Armor storage fluid in the water as you run it through the pump and the line. Repeat steps 8—11.

Your sprayer is now officially clean! Lucky for you, dried latex paint is not as hard to remove in comparison to other bases.

But, you’re still not off the hook…

Consider the damage done by leaving the paint drying for too long on the device. This may well ruin our once capable paint sprayer. If we do not follow this process carefully, we will undoubtedly be spending insurmountable dollars for a technician who can perform a thorough clean or replace fittings or new hose parts.

It is pretty cheap (or might I say, free) to do it yourself the first time, wouldn’t you think? This is why we avoid the risk and clean the spray the gun after use. Still, have questions about the process? No problem. For additional questions, refer to your product-specific instruction manual for directions.


You’ve now added another know-how to your list of handy tasks you can adequately perform. The next time your handyman asks, let him know you have him covered—how to clean dried latex paint from paint sprayer is easy.

So, spread your knowledge about paint compounds, safety precautions, and paint dispenser cleanliness! You now know, just as crucial as applying paint correctly, is how you remove and store your equipment aids. Not only are we getting the task done, but we are also getting the job done right. 


  • Todd Davis

    A jack of all trades, Todd has been a DIY enthusiast, traveler, and writer for many years. He has a deep understanding of all types of painting tools and door hardware, and has shared many articles on these topics throughout the years.

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