How to Clean Up After Spraying a Clear Coat

Written by paul miceli Google
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to Clean Up After Spraying a Clear Coat
Safety equipment must be used when cleaning spray guns. (safety at work image by Paula Gent from

Automotive clear coats are applied to provide a tough protective shell over coloured paint while promoting a high level of gloss retention. Many modern materials are urethane-based or acrylic-based and use fast-acting hardeners to help them cure quickly. The emergence of water-based materials provides a safer working option but these are mainly used for aftermarket colour application instead of clear coats. Cleaning tools and equipment can help avoid them becoming clogged or contaminated.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Spray gun cleaning machine
  • Safety goggles
  • Latex gloves
  • Airline
  • Compressor
  • Paint brush
  • Cellulose thinners
  • Approved waste receptacle
  • Retaining clip
  • Lint-free cloth

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Put on safety goggles and latex gloves.

  2. 2

    Add approximately 284gr. of clean cellulose thinners to the gun and spray through using an available airline to help remove all traces of clear coat from the chambers of the tool.

  3. 3

    Remove the air cap and air regulator from the spray gun and open the front of the gun cleaning machine. There will usually be two twist levers on the front of the machine. One will supply a flow of used, filtered cellulose thinners while the other will supply a sharp jet of unused cellulose thinners.

  4. 4

    Cover the spray gun with filtered thinners and use a paint brush to clean all traces of clear coat from the outside of the gun and the paint pot. Use short strokes with light pressure. Turn off the supply of filtered thinners once the exterior of the gun is clean.

  5. 5

    Remove the paint pot from the main gun assembly and use a sharp jet of clean cellulose thinners to clear any remaining clear coat material from the connection port between pot and gun. Take a retaining clip and fix it over the lever of the paint gun to ensure the chambers remain open. Open the internal lid of the spray gun cleaning machine and place the spray gun on one of the jet cleaners provided, ensuring the tip of the jet cleaner passes into the connection port. Close the lid and lower the front of the cleaning machine.

  6. 6

    Turn the twist timer on the front display to a setting of ten minutes and the machine will automatically pump filtered thinners through the spray gun. Leave the machine to run a full cycle and do not lift the lid until the pump has deactivated. Remove the cleaned spray gun from the jet cleaner and take off the retaining clip. Wipe dry with a piece of lint-free cloth and reassemble the gun.

  7. 7

    Wash all mixing pots and measuring sticks in the gun cleaning machine once the spray gun has been stored away safely. Dispose of as much waste material as possible before cleaning pots and sticks to help prolong the life of the cellulose thinners in the holding tank. Dispose of any consumable items such as latex gloves once equipment has been removed from the machine.

Tips and warnings

  • Clean spray guns immediately after use to help preserve effective operation.
  • Spray guns should be detail cleaned weekly using a compatible cleaning set. Ensure all ports and air cap holes are cleared of dried material using the rods provided.
  • Store waste product in an approved receptacle that only contains solvent-based materials.
  • Always wear safety equipment to prevent cellulose thinners from splashing the eyes and hands. If thinners is splashed in the eyes, wash with copious amounts of water and seek medical advice.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.