How to Clean Spray Tips on Spray Paint Cans

Spray tips from spray paint cans soaking in a jar of mineral spirits.

To prevent the spray tips on cans of spray paint from clogging after use, turn the can upside down after using and spray until no more paint comes out.

To clean spray tips that have become clogged:

    1. Remove the spray tip from the can by pulling it off.
    1. Soak the spray tip in mineral spirits to soften any paint residue.
    1. Use the thin wire from a twist tie to clean any remaining paint out the holes in both ends of the spray tip.
  1. Put the tip back on the spray can.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Joe Truini: There’ve been some great advancements in spray paint recently, but the one problem they’ve not solved is, how to keep the tip from clogging with paint after you’ve used it.

Now, the first rule is whenever you spray paint, at the end of the project, turn it upside down and spray it until it comes out clear. Just like that. That’s all it takes, just a couple of seconds. And that one tip alone will keep paint from clogging up the tip of the spray can.

Then the other thing is take it off, and soak it in mineral spirits. That will soften any remaining paint that’s stuck in there. Now, sometimes that’s not enough, and you need to clean the tip.

Now, there’s a hole at the bottom and at the top where the paint comes out. And the only wire I’ve found that can fit in that hole is from a twist-tie. This is from a loaf of bread. Just pull off the paper or the plastic to expose the wire. And that will fit right in that little hole. Small as that hole is, this is the only wire I’ve found. Let me see, right there, it fits right in there.

You can use that to clear out what’s left of the paint. And that paint’s usually soft, so it comes out pretty easily. And then you can just put it back on the spray can, and finish spraying the paint.

Now, when you’re done and you’ve emptied the can, before tossing out the can, take the tip off, save it and soak it, and you can use it on another can.


  1. Use a box cutter blade to pry between the white plastic tip, after taking it off the can, and the center black actual small nozzle in the tip, working around the black insert until it pops off. Then, one can see where the paint goes into and out of the white plastic. Tip: it’s not in the center, so a needle will not unclog they spray can sprayer. So, now you can see where the paint is coming out of the white and then going into the black center. Now, clean that out with a needle (may take some scrapping with the needle), and put the black center spray part back in the spray head (white plastic) and it will work. The clog is not in the spray head center (that you think you can clean by poking a needle in it, but the part (white sprayer finger push). So, clean that. This becomes easy once you have done it a few times.


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