How to clean dried latex paint from paint sprayer

If you do “painting” as a professional or as a self-doer, owning a paint sprayer is a must. As you already know a paint sprayer is quite beneficial and expensive which requires proper maintenance. And for proper maintenance, you need to have insight as to how to clean dried latex paint from a paint sprayer.

If you do not clean the latex paint after every use of the paint sprayer, the paint will keep building up around the spray tip and it will get stuck which may hamper the performance of the paint sprayer.

The cleaning of the dried paint is necessary as that can be the reason behind many potential problems. If you are wondering how you can complete the task, the following methods might give you proper insight.

Is dried latex paint on a paint sprayer a problem? 

The painters need to be aware of their working tools and must have knowledge about the kind of paints and how they can affect the tools if not cleaned instantly. Latex paint is one of those which can cause problems to your paint sprayer. The problems are of the following types.

  • Strong adhesive

Latex paint has a strong adhesive. So, if you leave your paint sprayer uncleaned a couple of times, the paint will dry and keep getting accumulated. The strong adhesive in the latex paint makes the dried paint strong and the paint sprayer will lose its efficiency over time.

  • Stubborn paint

The latex paint becomes stubborn when dried. In addition, if the stubborn paint is stuck within the tiny paint sprayer’s tip, it becomes quite difficult for the painter or the owner to remove that. As a result, the continuous spraying ability of the paint sprayer is disrupted which is quite a problem.

  • Dries quickly

If you let the latex paint remain in the paint sprayer thinking that the paint won’t be dried within the small paint sprayer and you can remove that easily afterward, you are gonna regret it later. 


Well, that’s because latex paint dries easily whether it is applied on the wall or remains within the sprayer parts. This “dry quickly” feature can be a problem in the case of the paint remnants.

  • Use of harsh chemical

Sometimes when your paint sprayer has a lot of dried latex paint within it, you might need to use harsh chemicals to get rid of the dried paint. But the paint sprayers’ internal parts are sometimes vulnerable towards harsh chemicals. So, the dry latex paint is indirectly catastrophic to the paint sprayer itself.

  • Serious clogs

For the paint sprayer’s perfect and flawless performance, the tip needed to be free of clogs. But the dried latex paint inside the paint sprayer hinders the ideal shape of the tip by causing serious clogs.

  • Harder to use the next time
How to clean dried latex paint from paint sprayer?

When there is so much accumulated dried latex paint inside the paint sprayer, the tip becomes faulty and the “spraying” won’t come out smoothly. This makes further use of the paint sprayer harder and probably damages the other parts while trying to bring out the paint.

How to clean dried latex paint from paint sprayer 

It can happen that you hadn’t had time for the cleaning or forgot to remove the paint from the sprayer and this is being a problem now. So far, we have seen the reasons why dried latex paint can be a problem. And a problem always requires solving. 

You may or may not know the process through which a paint sprayer can be cleaned. If the answer is no, then don’t be in dismay. Here’s a detailed description for you.

At the very first, you need to have the necessary things in your hand so that the cleaning procedure can be carried out properly without any further inconvenience. They are:

  • Coveralls
  • Two 5 gallon buckets
  • Eye goggles
  • Drop cloth
  • Cleaning brush
  • Clothes for tidying
  • Pliers 
  • Garden hose

When you have collected the above materials, do as the following steps say…

Step 1: Removing and cleaning the nozzle

  • The nozzle is the very first place from where you should start the cleaning process.
  • There is a small orifice and most often the dried paint is hidden in there. So, take a close look at the tip and see how much-dried paint is within the nozzle.
  • Make the top nozzle wet by using the garden hose.
  • Now it’s time for taking the bristle brush and scrubbing the dried latex paint wherever they were left behind or accumulated.
  • When the outer part of the nozzle will be cleaned enough, look for any remains within it.
  • If there are any remnants inside, then you need the pliers for removing the bigger pieces.
  • Carefully clear all the paints from this area as this part is quite significant in the paint sprayer’s structure. Be vigilant while doing so.

Step 2: Cleaning the filters

  • Generally, the paint sprayer has a removable part called filters. The filters hold or store the paint and then are passed to the nozzle from where the paint comes out as spraying. The spraying is often referred to as being “atomized”.
  • So, remove the filter of the paint sprayer.
  • You will come across a lot of wet or dried paint inside the filter after removing it. If the latex paint is still not dried, then take the garden hose one more time and rinse off the paint from the filter.
  • Start and continue to flush the water through the filter until every leftover color is being washed away.
  • You might want to soak the filter to quicken the cleaning.
  • When you are finished cleaning the filter, put or join that with the sprayer again.

Step 3: Running water through the internal parts

  • You should not stop just after cleaning the nozzle and the filter only. It’s always better to clean the entire gadget while you are on the task.
  • So, run water through the entire system.
  • If you are using an HVLP tool, then put the water into the paint container and keep spraying until the last drop of water comes out as that will ensure the thoroughly clean. In case the water is finished spraying but still not as smooth as before, you had better repeat the process.
  • For the airless tool, refill one pail with water while the other one with a waste bowl and let the liquid circulate within the device for better cleaning.
  • After cycling off the liquid a couple of times, start the gun for spraying and relinquish it into the waste bowl. This will make the entire system almost clear and bring out the dried latex paint with the liquid.

Step 4: Cleansing of the Inlet strainer

  • If you complete the previous steps accordingly, then you might not need to clean the inlet strainer differently. Still, for being extra cautious about the maintenance, at least give a little bit of attention to this part.
  • Inlet strainer is seen on airless sprayers and located at the bottom part of the uptake hose. If you see any leftover dried paint on this part, use a brush for scrubbing and then rinse thoroughly using a garden hose.
  • This will finish the task.

Step 5: Wrapping up

  • Now it’s time for the final step. At this point your paint sprayer’s internal parts will be dried paint-free. So take a wet cloth and rub gently the outside of the machine 
  • By this, you will know if there is any damage on the exterior or not.
  • Now wrap up the task after air-drying the sprayer and keeping it in a proper place.


What will dissolve dried latex paint?

The dried latex paint removers are available in the market which can make the dried paint dissolve from the surface. Most often these paint removers contain alcohol like isopropyl, rubbing alcohol, denatured alcohol, etc. We are well aware that alcohol is capable of removing or dissolving almost any kind of stain which includes dried latex paint.

How do you get dried paint out of the Wagner paint sprayer?

Your Wagner paint sprayer can be stuck with the dried paint if not cleaned after use. No worry as you can get rid of the dried paint easily. All you need to do is put pipe cleaners or bottle cleaners inside the nozzle and that will make the dried latex paint dissolve. Dishwashers or soap water can also be used. Put them into the Wagner sprayer instead of paint and keep spraying like paint. At some point, all the dried paint will come out with the soap washer.


A cool gadget like a paint sprayer is always welcomed for applying the paint perfectly. But the “perfect” performance can be affected by the lack of cleaning and accumulation of dried paint in the spray tip.

So, to make your paint sprayer last longer and keep it in its optimum condition, ensure the cleanliness of the paint sprayer from dried latex paint. Even If you had little knowledge about it before, hope after going through the aforementioned methods, you will be able to do that by yourself.

Remember to clean your working tool on a regular basis for maintaining its working efficiency and expected lifetime.

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