What Solvent To Use To Clean Hvlp Spray Guns?

If you’re using an HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) spray gun for painting, you know how crucial it is to keep the equipment clean and well-maintained. A clean HVLP spray gun ensures optimal performance, extends its lifespan, and delivers flawless paint finishes.

However, the question of which solvent to use for cleaning HVLP spray guns often arises, as using the wrong solvent may lead to damage or inefficient cleaning. In this article, we’ll explore the ideal solvents for cleaning HVLP spray guns and provide you with the necessary information to make informed decisions.

The Answer: The best solvent to use for cleaning HVLP spray guns is a specialized gun cleaner or a mixture of water and solvent designed for paint gun cleaning. These solutions are formulated to effectively remove paint residues and ensure proper maintenance of your HVLP spray gun.

In simple terms, use a gun cleaner or a mixture of water and solvent specifically meant for paint gun cleaning to ensure your HVLP spray gun stays in top condition. 

Why Specialized Gun Cleaners?

Specialized gun cleaners are engineered to dissolve and remove paint residues and other contaminants from HVLP spray guns without causing damage to delicate internal components or the spray gun’s surfaces.

These cleaners are usually a blend of solvents that effectively break down and clean different types of paints, including water-based, oil-based, and solvent-based paints.

The Benefits of Using Water and Solvent Mixture:

A mixture of water and solvent can be an effective alternative to specialized gun cleaners. It can be more economical, and the water component helps in reducing the amount of solvent required.

However, it’s crucial to use the right proportions of water and solvent to ensure effective cleaning without compromising the performance of your HVLP spray gun.

Now, let’s delve into a detailed discussion about specialized gun cleaners and water-solvent mixtures for cleaning HVLP spray guns.

Specialized Gun Cleaners: Specialized gun cleaners are formulated to handle the residues left by various types of paints, including acrylics, enamels, lacquers, and urethanes.

They are typically available in aerosol cans or liquid form, and some are even designed for use in ultrasonic cleaning machines, providing a thorough and efficient cleaning process.

Advantages of Specialized Gun Cleaners:

  1. Paint Dissolving Power: These cleaners have excellent paint-dissolving properties, effectively breaking down dried paint and making it easier to clean your HVLP spray gun.
  2. Compatibility: They are designed to be safe for use on all types of HVLP spray guns, ensuring they do not damage seals, gaskets, or other components.
  3. Convenience: Aerosol can versions are easy to use, allowing for direct application into hard-to-reach areas.
  4. Time-Saving: Specialized cleaners often work faster, reducing the cleaning time required for your spray gun.

Using a Water and Solvent Mixture:

Cleaning your HVLP spray gun with a water and solvent mixture can be a viable option, especially if you have limited access to specialized gun cleaners. However, it’s essential to follow the correct guidelines to ensure optimal cleaning results.

Guidelines for Preparing and Using a Water and Solvent Mixture:

  1. Proportions: Prepare a mixture with approximately 60-70% solvent and 30-40% water. This proportion helps in maintaining the cleaning power while reducing the concentration of solvent to minimize harmful effects on the environment and your health.
  2. Water Quality: Always use clean, distilled water to prevent any impurities or contaminants from affecting the cleaning process.
  3. Thorough Cleaning: Completely disassemble your HVLP spray gun before cleaning and ensure all parts are submerged in the mixture for effective cleaning.
  4. Soak and Scrub: Let the components soak in the mixture for a few minutes to loosen the dried paint, and then use brushes or soft cloths to scrub away any remaining residues.
  5. Rinsing: After cleaning, rinse all parts thoroughly with clean water to remove any leftover solvent or residue.

Additional Questions:

Q1: Can I use regular paint thinner or acetone to clean my HVLP spray gun?

Regular paint thinners and acetone should generally be avoided for cleaning HVLP spray guns.

While they may be effective at dissolving paint, they can be too harsh on the internal components of the spray gun, leading to damage over time.

It’s best to stick to specialized gun cleaners or the water-solvent mixture specifically meant for paint gun cleaning.

Q2: How often should I clean my HVLP spray gun?

The frequency of cleaning your HVLP spray gun depends on how often you use it and the type of paint you’re spraying.

As a general rule of thumb, clean your spray gun immediately after each painting session, especially if you’re using oil-based or solvent-based paints.

For water-based paints, cleaning after every few sessions should suffice. Regular cleaning ensures optimal performance and longevity of your HVLP spray gun.


Cleaning your HVLP spray gun with the right solvent is essential to maintain its performance and extend its lifespan.

  • While specialized gun cleaners are the best option, a water and solvent mixture can serve as an alternative, provided you follow the correct guidelines.

Remember to prioritize safety and proper maintenance to ensure your HVLP spray gun continues to deliver professional-quality paint finishes.

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