Clogged Spray Can Nozzle – Here’s What to Do!

unclogging spray paint can nozzle

Just headed towards your garage to start your first big painting project of the season and you find that your spray paint can nozzle has clogged. Or maybe you’re in the middle of your project, and the paint just won’t come out of the nozzle anymore.

Don’t worry – we’ve all been there. Luckily, there is an easy way to fix a clogged spray paint can nozzle.

  1. Remove the nozzle from the can
  2. Place the nozzle in a cup of mineral spirits or paint thinner
  3. Let it soak for a few hours (or overnight if the clog is really bad)
  4. Use a needle or wire to clear the opening in the nozzle
  5. Rinse it with warm water, dry it, and reattach it to the can.

Test the nozzle by spraying it on a piece of cardboard; if it’s still clogged, you may need to repeat the above steps. By following the simple steps, you’ll hopefully be back to painting in no time.

But if you have already tried this time-tested method to unclog your Rustoleum spray paint can and haven’t seen any success, below in this guide, I will be discussing a few other excellent ways that can possibly help.

So, be sure to stay with me right till the end.

Unclogging Spray Paint Can Nozzle

A spray can stop working when the nozzle becomes clogged with paint or other gunk. The most obvious sign of the clog is if the paint isn’t coming out in an even stream.

Another hint may be that the container feels unusually difficult to shake. You’ll typically need to unclog the tiny hole at the end of the nozzle to fix such issues.

Follow these simple steps and methods, and you are good to go…

Method 1- Use a Sewing Needle

This is one of the easiest starter methods you should try with. Simply take a sewing needle or a safety pin and try to insert it into the nozzle’s tiny hole.

Try to unclog the nozzle by running a needle several times in a swirling motion. However, this method will be less effective if the nozzle is obstructed significantly.

Method 2- Use the Heat of Your Hairdryer

If the first method to unclog the stuffed nozzle and clear up the dried paint inside doesn’t work you can try this.

  • Place the clogged spray paint can on a newspaper.
  • Take your hairdryer and adjust it on high heat.
  • Hold the nozzle close to the stream of hot air for about 30 seconds.
  • See if the dried paint or dust is coming out of the nozzle. If yes, then great. Your task is done.
  • If the dried paint doesn’t seem to come out, keep the nozzle in the hot air stream for a few more seconds and try again.

Remember not to hold the nozzle valve very close to the stream, as this could melt it and ruin your spray paint can.

Method 3- Dissolve the Nozzle’s Paint in Boiling Water

If the methods above don’t work, you will most likely need to use boiling water that can help dissolve the dried water-based paint inside the nozzle very fast.

But remember, if it’s an oil-based spray paint can, you should use a solvent (such as paint thinner, mineral spirits, lacquer thinner, acetone, vinegar, or alcohol) instead.

This is the most effective method, especially if the paint has hardened significantly inside the nozzle.

  • Remove the nozzle of the can by rotating it in a clockwise direction.
  • Pour some boiling water (or solvent thinner) into a bowl and place your clogged paint can nozzle in it.
  • Allow the nozzle to sit and soak in it for about 30 to 45 minutes.
  • After that, take it out and use an old toothbrush to scrub away any loosened paint from the nozzle.
  • Now, rinse the nozzle with clean water and let it dry naturally.

Most likely the dried oil paint has softened and has come out of the nozzle. If not, you can try this method again or proceed to another method.

spray paint can won't spray

Method 4- Shake or Hit the Paint Can

It’s always good to shake up whatever is left in the container before putting it away for later use. This way, it won’t clog the can and nozzle.

But even after you followed the above tip, the spray paint can have clogged gently shaking it can help. Do not try to overdo it, as the paint can then leak or come out or bubble inside, which would cause your paint job to be ruined.

You can also use your hands or a hammer to bang the can from the bottom. Do this gently (not too hard) a few times to loosen the dried paint inside the nozzle, which can ultimately fix the blockages.

But remember, the viscosity of paint from different manufacturers varies considerably. For example, Rust-Oleum spray paint is slightly thicker than Krylon, so you should shake it up more.

Method 5- Try to Spray the Can Upside Down

This method is also similar to the above. But here, you will be hitting the can on the surface and then trying to spray the paint from the can in an upside-down position.

  • Hit the bottom of the can on a hard surface like a table.
  • Hold it so the nozzle faces downwards to let gravity do its work.
  • Spray gently; hopefully, it will unclog the clogged spray nozzle as the liquid forces out to find its way.
  • If it doesn’t work on the first attempt, try to do this 3-5 times and see if the nozzle is unclogged.
  • If it’s still clogged, apply pressure on the can by pressing it with your thumb while holding it in an upside-down position.
  • Now, try to spray the paint. Hopefully, it will work.

If the nozzle is still clogged after repeated attempts, you may need to buy a new spray paint can from the store. This will be easier, rather than wasting your time and effort cleaning the nozzle.

If you want to change only the nozzle, be very careful when doing that. The nozzle is surprisingly easy to misplace, and its jagged edges can pose a severe threat.

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