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Tuesday, 17 May 2011

How to Unclog an Airbrush Gun

I had debated on getting an airbrush machine for the longest time and when I finally bought one, it was CLOGGED!  I bought it from a retired MUA and she didn't like the hassle of cleaning it so she used it one and a half times and then it just sat there.

Anyway, when I had the chance - hooked it up to the compressor and dropping in about 6 drops of foundation into the gravity feed cup.  I pressed down on the button and pulled back, and no foundation came out, only air.  I was sooooo sad at this's like bringing back a new toy and wanting to play with it but it's broken...

1)  I cleaned out the cup using alcohol and a q-tip.  The alcohol ran through the front so I don't think there was blockage there.  However, when I hooked it back up to the compressor, it still only blew out air, no product.

2)  I cleaned it out again using alcohol again but with a tiny pipe cleaner brush that the retired MUA had included in the kit.  She said you can only get these in the UK.  They fit further into the passage way and they're lint free so no threads get stuck up in there.  Unfortunately, it was still all air and no product.

3)  I took it apart and soaked all the parts in 99% Isopropyl alcohol according to the Temptu DVD.  I soaked it for 15 min, tried it again, but still just air and no product.  So I soaked it for the night, tried it in the morning...still no product spraying out!  Rawr!

I was so disappointed at this point.  I started researching which parts I needed to replace and what new airbrush guns that I could purchase here in Edmonton instead of online.  I wanted to play with the airbrush system immediately so I was going to head down to an art store or a hobby/toy store to pick something up. 

I also researched how to clean an airbrush machine and came across this girl's youtube video.  She was showing how she cleaned her Iwata airbrush gun at her salon.  She was moving the needle back and forth while having her airbrush gun on.  Mind you hers wasn't clogged, but I thought it would be a good idea to try it.

I screwed everything back on except for the back part (the shell that covers the needle) and I untightened the nut that holds the needle in place (so that it's movable).  I filled the gravity feed cup with alcohol and started spraying.  

Of course only air came out at that point, so I started moving the needle back and forth while still spraying, and it spurted for a mili-second and alcohol started spraying out!!  So happy!  I filled it again with water (twice) just to make sure and..yup, everything in the gravity feed cup drained dry and had been misted all out.  Sucess!  I guess the needle created enough pressure and disturbance, in conjunction with the alcohol, loosened whatever was clogging it.  

I hope this helps other "doh! my airbrush is clogged" users!


  1. thank you for sharing this!!! i couldn't find anything on how to clean the my airbrush gun!!! i have a question if you can help me - do I soak/dunk my airbrush gun in alcohol too if i am using the S/B foundations? can i just soak the front part of the airbrush gun without taking it apart (not past the cup)?

    1. Hi SKM! I use the Temptu S/B foundations, and I try to run 99% alcohol through the feed after every application. After awhile, I can tell that it doesn't spray as freely, so I take apart the entire gun and soak it in alcohol. You don't have to soak the parts that are on the back of the gun, but you'll have to take apart the back part of the gun to take the needle out anyway - the needle definitely needs to be cleaned! The most important parts to be soaked and cleaned are: the needle, gravity cup/body of the gun, and tip. Hope that helped!

  2. Good stuff!!!! My airbrush is now working BC of this!

  3. Wow!!! Thank you so much, I tried the tip of just removing the back and moving the needle back and forth slightly whilst the gun was on and it worked instantly. Like magic...clog free! Thank you

  4. Didn't work so I pushed a threaded sewing needle in the hole just under the needle at the front

  5. Hi! I was wondering if you knew where in Edmonton I could buy the luminess airbrush? They seem to sell it only online, and I'm actually needing one urgently, and cant wait for the shipping time. Thanks!

  6. Very nice job , Very useful information you have updated , thanks !
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