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

unclogging spray paint nozzle

Just headed towards your garage to start your first big painting project of the season when 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 paint spray can nozzle.

  1. Remove the nozzle from the can
  2. Place the nozzle in a jar 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 the nozzle with warm water
  6. Dry the nozzle and reattach it to the can
  7. Test the nozzle by spraying it on a piece of cardboard; if the nozzle is still clogged, repeat steps 2-7

Just follow these simple steps, and you’ll 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 you.

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.

A sign that the nozzle on your paint can is clogged 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- Using a Sewing Needle

This is one of the easiest starter methods you should try with.

Simply take a sewing needle and try to insert it into the nozzle’s tiny hole. If the needle doesn’t fit, then grab a safety pin or any other sharp object that can fit through the hole.

If the paint has not clogged up in the nozzle heavily, you can unclog the nozzle by running a needle through several times in a swirling motion.

However, this method will be less effective if your nozzle is obstructed significantly.

Method 2- Using Your Hairdryer

This is another excellent method to unclog the stuffed nozzle and clear up the dried paint inside.

Try this if the first method doesn’t work or in case you do not have a needle.

  • Take your clogged spray paint can outside
  • Place it on a newspaper or any other piece of paper to avoid making a mess.
  • Now, take your hairdryer and place it on high heat.
  • Hold the nozzle close to the stream of hot air for about 30 seconds.
  • Now, try to 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 the valve and ruin your paint can.

Method 3- Dissolve the Paint in Boiling Water

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.
  • Take a pot of boiling water and place your clogged paint can nozzle in it.
  • Allow the nozzle to sit and soak in the boiling water for about 30 to 45 minutes.
  • After that, take it out and allow it to cool down for some time.
  • Now, try to see if the dried oil paint has softened and come out of the nozzle. If not, you can try this method again or proceed to another method.

Method 4- Dissolve the Nozzle’s Paint in Solvents

If the methods above don’t work, you will most likely need to use solvents that can help dissolve paint faster.

One of the most effective solvents is paint thinner. But you can also use mineral spirits, lacquer thinner, acetone, vinegar, or alcohol.

  • Pour some solvent thinner into a bowl and place the nozzle of your paint can in it.
  • Leave the nozzle in the solvent for a couple of minutes to allow the paint to soften and dissolve.
  • Use an old toothbrush to scrub away any loosened paint from the nozzle.
  • Rinse the nozzle with clean water and dry it before checking and using it again.

Remember that solvents like paint thinners, mineral spirits, and acetone are more powerful, so do not soak the nozzle for long in them.

If, however, you are using vinegar or alcohol, you can soak the nozzle for a bit longer to get the desired nozzle cleaning results.

a spray might stop working when the nozzle clogged

Method 5- Shake or Hit the Paint Can

Another practical approach to unclogging a sprayer paint container is gently shaking it.

In fact, 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 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.

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.

Method 6- 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 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 the nozzle 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 about 3-5 times and see if the nozzle is unclogged.
  • If the nozzle is 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 now work.

Method 7- Replace the Clogged Nozzle

If the nozzle is still clogged after repeated attempts, you may need to buy a new nozzle or the spray can from the store.

This will be easier, especially if the nozzles are too heavily soiled, rather than wasting your time and effort cleaning them.

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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