How To Avoid Spray Paint Nozzle From Clogging

spray painting art

You feel excited and pumped up when you start a new painting project. Unfortunately, this excitement quickly fizzes out when you find that your spray paints won’t work because of blocked nozzles. But there are different ways to keep your spray paint nozzles clean, so whenever you pick up a can, it’s ready to paint.

To avoid your spray paint cans from clogging, clean the nozzle after each use. You can achieve this by spraying the paint can upside down for a while before storing it in a warm place. Apart from the nozzle, keeping the tube inside the can clean also helps your nozzle from getting blocked. 

Here are a few tips to keep the spray paint nozzle from clogging.

Tip 1- Spray the can upside down

Once you’ve completed painting a surface and it’s time to put the spray paint can away, turn the can upside down and spray until the paint stops coming out. This way, you can be sure that all the leftover paint in the tube and the valve system of your can has emptied.

When the tube inside the can is clean, the chances of paint drying inside it or on the nozzle are minimal.

Tip 2- Clean the nozzle after each use

After you have sprayed the paint can upside down, you might notice traces of paint on the nozzle’s exterior. Don’t leave any paint marks on the nozzle because once it hardens fully, it will end up blocking it.

You should allow any leftover paint on the nozzle to dry slightly and simply pick it off with your fingernail or a sharp tool before you store the can away. The paint should come off quickly without much hassle.

Tip 3- Store your paint cans upside down

Have you noticed the goopy texture of spray paint when you start painting? That’s because when you leave paint sitting for too long, the pigment separates from the liquid agent and sinks to the bottom. So when you start using a paint can, the collected pigment enters the tube first and may end up clogging the nozzle.

However, if you store your paint cans upside down, the tube inside will not pick up the thick pigment first. So, give the can a good shake whenever you want to use it and spray away.

Tip 4- Use a large nozzle to get the paint can started

If you are using a spray paint can after some time, check the nozzle size before you begin painting. If the nozzle is too narrow, the initial pressure inside the can may be too much to handle. You may end up clogging the nozzle in the process.

Instead, use a large nozzle in the beginning so it can increase the pressure within. Once your spray paint can is running smoothly, switch the nozzle back to the narrow one and start creating your masterpiece.

Tip 5- Store your paint cans in a warm place

Storing your paint cans in a warm spot can make all the difference in maintaining their formula, finish, and spray mechanism. If you allow your paints to sit in the cold for long, they will freeze. While they will eventually thaw, the nozzles might not be as forgiving as the paint’s formula.

Therefore, store your spray paints in a warm area to keep the nozzle from clogging up. Trust me you will never get yourself into a ‘my spray paint can won’t spray’ situation.

How To Unclog A Blocked Nozzle?

Aerosols are brilliant when they work, but once the spray paint stops spraying, it can get more and more frustrating by the minute. The tricks mentioned above will help you keep your spray paint nozzle from getting blocked. However, other elements, such as storage temperature, and paint type, can also affect the spray paint’s usability.

If you encounter a blocked paint nozzle, the first thing you should try is shaking it vigorously. This should jump-start your nozzle in the following cases:

  • The paint is too thick, and the pigment has separated from the liquid part
  • The spray paint was stored in a cold area which affected its consistency
  • The can hasn’t been used for a while

Shake the can for a good 2 to 5 minutes to mix its contents with the propellant and try spraying. If it still doesn’t spray, you can take a look at how to unclog a spray paint nozzle and let us know if that works for you.

Keep Spare Nozzles Handy

While it is deeply satisfying to unclog a nozzle and watch it spring back to action, sometimes, you are pressed for time and want a quick solution. It always helps to keep extra spray paint nozzles handy if the need arises.

You can either buy spare nozzles of different sizes and add them to your paint DIY arsenal or save the nozzle of empty spray paint cans.

If you plan to reuse a nozzle, remember to clean it thoroughly before storing it away because the last thing you want when looking for a replacement is another clogged nozzle.


Should you store spray paint upside down?

Always store your spray paints upside down. It helps clear the can’s tube and prevents the nozzles from clogging up.

Why is spray paint clumping?

Spray paints have propellants that need to be mixed properly before you spray. If they are not evenly distributed, the color can come out in varied proportions causing your paint to clump.

How to fix chunky spray paint?

Sometimes, paint can get clogged in the nozzle causing your spray to spit out the paint in chunks. You can avoid this by cleaning your blocked nozzle or replacing it with a spare one that works.

Should you warm up the paint can before painting?

Ideally, your spray paint should always feel warm to the touch. You can warm up the can by placing it in warm water or heating it with a hair dryer.


A blocked spray paint nozzle can be a bummer when artistic inspiration strikes. The best way to avoid running into one is by storing your paint cans properly and cleaning the nozzle after each use. 

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