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How to Make Paint Clean Up Easier & Faster - A Complete Guide

Whether you're a contractor, manufacturer, or weekend warrior cleaning up after a painting project can be time consuming and many times the worst part of any paint project. While paint clean up is not a fun task, the good news is there is a variety of ways to make your clean up quicker and easier. We are going to provide you those ideas in this guide so you can make your clean up faster and easier.

Tip 1 on How to Make Paint Clean Up Easier - Minimize Paint You Get On Yourself

Being that I work with paint most days with customers, I know first hand the headaches that can be caused (not to mention hands that are a new color) from paint getting over you or your clothes. No matter how clean of a painter you are it can be difficult to not get your clothes and hands covered. Three simple ways to reduce the amount of paint you get on you include dedicating clothes to painting, using throw away gloves, and considering a painters suit. Nitrile gloves are an excellent option to minimize any paint build up on your hands that may happen from mixing, transferring, or applying paint. Popular clothing options for painters include options like Dickies or beat up jeans. Painter suites, which are often called Tyvek suits, can help keep any underlying clothes from getting paint on them. Especially if you opt in for a Tyvek suit with a hood and covering for your feet like this suit here.

Tip 2 on How to Make Paint Clean Up Easier - Use Liners with Paint Storage Containers and Equipment where Possible

If you will be working out of a paint pressure pot, bucket, or paint can there are a variety of lining options you can use that will allow you to throw away the liner when your work is complete. This can make paint clean up much easier because when finished with your project you can simply remove the liner and be done cleaning whatever you used to hold your paint. Common options include this 5 gallon bucket liner or 2.8 Gallon pressure pot liners. If your using a gravity feed spray gun you can use a system like Devilbiss Dekups which will prevent you from having to clean your gravity spray gun cup between coatings.  

Tip 3 on How to Make Paint Clean Up Easier - Use Water Based Products if Possible

While this tip may not eliminate the amount of paint clean up you will have to do, it will make clean up a lot easier. Water based paints are easier to clean up than solvent based paints as you can use tap water rather than a thinner to clean up the paint you use. Water based coatings may not always be an option or depending on your application may only work for a portion of your project (for example automotive paints usually have base coats that are water based but the protective top coat is typically solvent based). Either way when possible, water based paints are generally simpler to clean up and do not require you to have an additional hazardous material on hand (an appropriate cleaning solvent). 

Tip 4 - Follow Best Practices with Cleaning Your Spray Gun & Airless Paint Sprayer

 A final tip to help make paint clean up faster is to use best practices when it comes to cleaning your airless paint sprayer or spray gun. One best practice is to limit your airless and paint fluid hose to shorter lengths if possible. Long airless hose lines require significantly more solvent to clean when your done working. A second best practice is to flush the fluid section then the airless hose of your airless sprayer. By flushing the fluid section first, the material you start flushing the airless line with will be cleaner, which will reduce the overall amount of cleaner and time required. You can learn more about this technique here. If your using a paint pressure pot you can back pressure the fluid line to force any residual material back into the pot before beginning to use cleaner, this will reduce cleaner and clean up time needed. You can see this technique at the end of this video. Ultimately cleaning up after a paint project can be one of the least enjoyable parts of painting. However by following the ideas outlined here, you can help make clean up after painting less time consuming and easier.
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