How to Clean Your Airbrush After Use?

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Airbrush is an artist’s tool used for spray painting onto a surface. The spray painting uses the mechanism of air pressure. It’s a tiny tool that frequently sprays die with ink, used for affecting foundation through a process described nebulization. 

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How to Clean Your Airbrush

Design Of An Airbrush

Airbrush design

It works on the air pressure machine that is compressed air is passed through the cylindrical tube, which creates suction that allows the paint to come from the stored container attached with the tool at normal atmospheric pressure. 

The paint atomizes due to the high velocity of the air and comes out in the form of tiny droplets. There is a variable trigger which is controlled by the operator. The operator controls the amount of paint to be sprayed on the desired surface. There is a needle attached at the end, which paints onto the surface. The needle controls the atomization level of the liquid coming from the container.

This technique allows the blending of two or more colors and results in the one new color coming out. There is a different level of pressure adjustment for the different types of coating required, and it also depends on the kind of color used. 

When using an airbrush, the artist should be aware of not inhaling the fumes coming out or the atomized paint because these particles can go and settle in the lungs, which can give you some serious diseases. Operators/artist should wear a mask while using the airbrush.

Identification Of An Airbrush

Three characteristics can identify airbrushes. Depending on the action performed using the trigger, the second is the feeding of paint to the airbrush, and the third point is mixing.

Trigger In Airbrush

There are two types of airbrush single-action and double-action trigger. The single-action mechanism is where the depression in trigger actuates the flow of the paint, and the needle attached controls the atomization level of paint. The color volume and spraying pattern remains constant until the airbrush setting is changed. Single action brushes are easy to use and generally cheap and affordable.

This Dual-action adjustment comes handy when there are various patterns to be painted on a single screen. We can adjust the width of the painting. The coating density can be adjusted without stopping the painting process. This saves time and more accurate than single-action airbrushes. The downside of these airbrushes is that they are expensive than the single-action airbrushes.

Feeding Process

There is storage at the top of the gun. Also, where the paint is fed into the brush by gravity. The tools need low air pressure, which allows you to control more fine atomization of the paint flow and less overspray, thus saving the wastage of the material. When there is a large amount of liquid stored, then the bottom-feed airbrush is used, which utilizes the bottom feed mechanism.


There is a mixing of air and the paint inside the airbrush, creating a mist of the paint. When the mixing is done externally, then achieving fine atomization is hard and time-consuming. The external mixing airbrushes are cheaper than the internal mixing brushes. Where there is a requirement of painting large surface area, then external mixing airbrushes are used. When fine patterns and accurate painting are required, then internal mixing airbrushes are used.

The Cleaning Process For Airbrushes

airbrush clearning

This is the new technology of painting, so it is essential to learn every aspect of the airbrush. The cleaning kit bundled with the airbrush contains suitable cleaning equipment. The quick tip for cleaning the airbrush is to clean it when it is wet. In that case, the paint will not harden up, and the cleaning will be more comfortable and faster. 

Here are some methods explaining how to clean your airbrush after using them-

Color change rinse process for the brushes which use gravity or side or bottom-feeding mechanism.

Deep Cleaning

This process is useful and highly recommended to prevent clogging in airbrushes. Methods for deep cleaning are as follows-

  • Disassemble your airbrush gun accordingly.
  • I am soaking the nozzle and needle cap and body in isopropyl alcohol.
  • Wiping should be done after the soaking process.
  • You are reassembling the gun according to your model specification.

Deep cleaning is a time-consuming process, and the common question is “how often to disassemble your airbrush and clean. The answer can vary according to an individual usage pattern and the quality of liquid products you are feeding into the airbrush. Always use high-quality paints in your airbrush so that it will be less sticky and can be cleaned easily. 

It also depends on the frequency of using the airbrush. If you are an occasional painter, then it is not required to do multiple deep cleaning sessions. Still, if you are a profession where airbrushes are regularly used, then various airbrushes should be used to keep your work going.

How To Clean Your Airbrush When Using Acrylic Paints

Acrylic paints are very stubborn if you don’t clean your airbrush when it is wet, and it should be cleaned regularly; otherwise, it would clog up your holes, and paint won’t be coming out any further.


  • Open your airbrush (all the parts)
  • Use 91% alcohol for soaking the gun.
  • Then wipe it using cleaning cloths
  • Fit it as per the given specifications.
  • Ultrasonic cleaners can be used for cleaning, but this is expensive than the above methods.

How To Clean Your Airbrush After Varnishing

To clean your airbrush, alcohol, or lacquer thinner with Vallejo can be used. Mixing a drop of Vallejo and a drop of alcohol can look like a mess, but it will surely help you to clean your airbrush correctly. Following the in-depth cleaning process and using this mixture is a way to clean up the spots and to remove dirt or the dried-up paint, which is clogging up your gun.


Airbrush has surely made painting more accessible, but it needs proper care because once it holds up the rust, it will damage your airbrush gun completely, and you will end up investing more and more. Always clean up your airbrush after the use when it is wet and use authentic paints and tools for operating the airbrushes.

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