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Airbrush flushing (not cleaning) protocol

7 replies
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  • Member since
    June 2021
Posted by rocketman2000 on Friday, July 23, 2021 7:47 AM

I consider a flush to be a cleaning technique.  I flush after each airbrushing session.  I do a a partial disassembly cleaning after about six sessions, and a full disassembly cleaning only when required.

My flush routine is as follows ( I use a bottle style brush).  I take off the paint bottle (clean out later) and spray until there appears to be no paint left. Then I put on a bottle containing thinner.  I usually paint with enamel, and keep a bottle with paint thinner just for cleaning.  If I have just used lacquer or acrylics I pour out the paint thinner and clean bottle, then replace with appropriate thinner.  I then start with a forward flush, and while doing this I place a q-tip in front of the nozzle tillit is wet, and then clean any paint off.  After the spray in clear, I backflush for 25- 30 seconds and hang up brush, with the thinner bottle still on.


Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Friday, July 23, 2021 7:35 AM

For me that's overkill I use an Iwata and it's never happened to me when I simply flush as described above.

Try simple,if you find you are having a problem then use the deep cleaning,if not,then go easy.

  • Member since
    September 2020
Posted by VintageRPM on Friday, July 23, 2021 7:19 AM

If I were using the same airbrush for arylic & lacquer, I would do a complete teardown between paints, including using an ultrasonic cleaner. And even this has not always worked for me with my Iwata airbrush. Any lacquer thinner left in the brush will cause the acrylic paint to gum-up the brush. I bought a second airbrush - one is strictly for acrylic and the other strictly lfor acquer - and haven't had a problem since.

Enamel I can't talk about as I have never used it in an airbrush.


  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Thursday, July 22, 2021 3:35 PM

Quick flush,back flush,a shot of the next paint types thinner, fill and spray. No tear down, I only do that about every 3 months anyway except with my fussy double action brush which I rarely use or rarely have need of at all.

I say every three months but I do now and then soak a nozzle assembly overnight in Lt. That's not a full tear down though.

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Thursday, July 22, 2021 12:51 PM

Let's say I'm using lacquer or enamel based paint,I will clean with the appropriate thinner,if I'm immediately switching to an acrylic like Mission or Vallejo, I will do a quick shot of their thinner before adding paint to the cup.So far so good,no problems.

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Thursday, July 22, 2021 12:44 PM

Since my AB (Badger Anthem) is so ridiculously fast and easy to clean, I just clean fully between separate paint types. Like EC867, flushing seems wasteful to me, and ultimately needless.


George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Thursday, July 22, 2021 11:13 AM

As for me, I have a Paasche H which is an external-mix siphon-feed airbrush.  I give that a complete cleaning between every color just by dropping the needle, air cap, and color cup into a relish jar with MEK in it and put the jar in an ultrasonic cleaner.  I only have that one airbrush that gets any use, but I have 3 needle/air cap/color cup sets, so I can immediately switch to the next color while the previous color's parts are in the cleaner.  I use enamels and acrylic lacquers and have never kept segregated airbrush parts for the two types.  No issues.

I don't like flushing because it seems wasteful and throws a lot of extra stuff into the air.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    February 2021
Airbrush flushing (not cleaning) protocol
Posted by MJY65 on Thursday, July 22, 2021 11:03 AM

What is your protocol for flushing your airbrush when switching from lacquer to acrylic and back?  I was watching a video where the modeler talked about keeping a separate airbrush for the two to avoid cross contamination.  So far, I've just been flushing sequentially with solvents, cleaner, etc and finally the thinner for the next product in line.


Is that how most do it, or do you go the dedicated lacquer airbrush route?


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