Can I Clean Spray Gun With Denatured Alcohol?

Cleaning your spray gun is essential to maintain its performance and prolong its lifespan. In this article, we’ll explore the effectiveness of denatured alcohol as a cleaning solution for your spray gun, backed by reliable sources, and offer some valuable tips to ensure proper maintenance.

Answer: Yes, you can clean a spray gun with denatured alcohol. Denatured alcohol can be used effectively to clean your spray gun. It is a solvent that is commonly used in various cleaning applications due to its ability to dissolve residues and contaminants.

When used correctly, denatured alcohol can help keep your spray gun in top condition and ensure optimal spray patterns. Its solvent properties make it an effective cleaner for paint, coatings, and other substances commonly used with spray guns.

Can I clean a spray gun with denatured alcohol?

Denatured alcohol, also known as methylated spirits, is ethanol mixed with denaturing agents to render it unsuitable for human consumption.

The denaturing process does not affect its ability to serve as a powerful cleaning agent. Its solvency properties make it an effective cleaner for various substances, including paint, ink, grease, and oil residues commonly found in spray guns.

Denatured alcohol evaporates quickly, leaving behind little to no residue, making it a convenient and efficient cleaning solution.

Advantages of Using Denatured Alcohol for Spray Gun Cleaning

Using denatured alcohol to clean your spray gun offers several advantages that make it a popular choice among painters and professionals in the coating industry.

1. Effective Solvent

Denatured alcohol’s ability to dissolve various substances makes it a potent cleaning agent for spray guns. It can effectively break down paint and coating residues, ensuring the proper functioning of the spray gun and preventing clogs or uneven spray patterns.

2. Fast Evaporation

One of the key benefits of denatured alcohol is its rapid evaporation rate. After cleaning, the alcohol quickly evaporates without leaving behind any significant residue, reducing the risk of contaminating future coatings or paint jobs.

3. Cost-Effective

Denatured alcohol is relatively affordable compared to specialized cleaning solutions. Its cost-effectiveness makes it an attractive option for regular spray gun maintenance.

4. Readily Available

You can find denatured alcohol in most hardware stores, paint supply shops, and online retailers. Its easy availability makes it a convenient choice for spray gun cleaning, especially if you run out of your usual cleaning solution.

Proper Cleaning Procedure Using Denatured Alcohol

While denatured alcohol is an effective cleaning agent, it is crucial to follow the proper cleaning procedure to ensure the best results and prevent any damage to your spray gun.

1. Disassemble the Spray Gun

Before starting the cleaning process, disassemble your spray gun following the manufacturer’s instructions. This allows you to clean each component thoroughly and prevents any residue from remaining in hard-to-reach areas.

2. Use the Right Tools

Use soft brushes, cotton swabs, or lint-free cloths to clean the spray gun components. Avoid using abrasive materials that may scratch or damage the gun’s surfaces.

3. Apply Denatured Alcohol

Dip the cleaning tools in denatured alcohol and gently wipe off any paint or coating residues from the spray gun’s internal and external parts. Take your time to ensure thorough cleaning.

4. Rinse with Water

After cleaning with denatured alcohol, rinse the spray gun components with clean water to remove any remaining alcohol and residue. Make sure to dry the components thoroughly before reassembling them.

5. Lubricate Moving Parts

If your spray gun has moving parts, apply a suitable lubricant recommended by the manufacturer to ensure smooth operation.

Precautions When Using Denatured Alcohol

While denatured alcohol is a useful cleaning agent, it is essential to take some precautions to ensure safe and effective cleaning.

1. Proper Ventilation

Always clean your spray gun in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling the fumes from denatured alcohol.

2. Use Safety Gear

Wear appropriate safety gear, such as gloves and eye protection, when handling denatured alcohol and during the cleaning process.

3. Test Compatibility

Before using denatured alcohol on your spray gun, test a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it does not damage the gun’s materials or finishes.

4. Follow the Manufacturer’s Recommendations

Always follow the spray gun manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and recommendations. Some spray guns may have specific cleaning requirements to maintain their warranty.

Can I Use Denatured Alcohol on Any Type of Spray Gun?

Denatured alcohol is generally safe to use on most types of spray guns, including gravity feed, HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure), and conventional spray guns.

However, it’s essential to check the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations for cleaning agents. Some spray guns may be made from materials that are not compatible with denatured alcohol, and using them may cause damage.

What Are the Alternatives to Denatured Alcohol for Spray Gun Cleaning?

If denatured alcohol is not suitable for your specific spray gun or if you prefer alternatives, there are other cleaning solutions available. Some common alternatives include water-based cleaners, specialized spray gun cleaning solutions, or acetone for tougher residues. Always ensure the chosen alternative is compatible with your spray gun’s materials and finishes.


In conclusion, denatured alcohol can be a reliable and cost-effective solution for cleaning your spray gun. Its solvent properties make it highly effective in dissolving paint and coating residues, ensuring your spray gun functions optimally and provide consistent spray patterns.

However, it’s crucial to follow the proper cleaning procedure and take necessary precautions for safe and efficient cleaning. If denatured alcohol is not compatible with your spray gun, explore alternative cleaning solutions recommended by the manufacturer.

By maintaining your spray gun regularly and using appropriate cleaning agents, you can extend its lifespan and achieve excellent results in your painting and coating projects.

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