Preferred brush/airbrush cleaner - HobbyTalk
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2009, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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Preferred brush/airbrush cleaner

Hey all;
I've been model building for a while and have experimented with a number of cleaning agents to clean up brushes and my airbrush (turpentine, mineral spirits, brush cleaner, denatured alcohol, etc) with varying results. I am wondering what you all prefer to use to clean up your brushes and airbrush after use? I know Testors makes their own stuff, but there's got to be something more cost effective.
Thanks!
~Sam
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2009, 05:47 PM
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Alot of it depends on what you are spraying.

Enamels, I clean it with regular turpentine and then follow it with a windshield washer fluid rinse.

Acrylic.... I use W&N Brush Cleaner and Restorer followed with a rinse of windshield washer fluid.

Tamiya.... I use 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol and.... you got it, windshield washer fluid.

Why I end the session with the windshield washer fluid is because of the O rings. I want to make sure that they don't fail due to the main cleaner.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-19-2009, 11:02 PM
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When I spray acrylics, I clean up with shooting 409, then water. Remembering to backwash the flow, to loosen anything inside.

For final cleanup, I break down the airbrush and soak parts in 409, rinse them in water,then rubbing alchahol, dry them and rub machine oil on the parts, before reassembly. The oil helps keep the mechanism operating smoothly, and the coating protects it from water mineral buildups.

I love 409, the product's ammonia, will break down even year old acrylic.

Don't forget, Q-tips are your friend, when it comes to airbrush cleaning.

Last edited by lunadude; 06-20-2009 at 07:48 PM.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-21-2009, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback guys! I'll give those a shot.
I never thought about using washer fluid as a rinse, does it try fast?
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-21-2009, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by lunadude View Post
Don't forget, Q-tips are your friend, when it comes to airbrush cleaning.

Make sure there are no stray Q-tip fibers left in the brush if you stuck one in. Otherwise Q-Tips will not be your friend if you don't. Some cheap brands of these can and will shed fibers if not the entire cotton bud! I always unscrew the airbrush hose and with the compressor running blow air into the cavity that I had used the Q-Tip. This way I am somewhat sure I did not leave anything behind that will be sucked into the guts of the tip at the next spray session.

Max Bryant
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-21-2009, 07:18 PM
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Make sure there are no stray Q-tip fibers left in the brush if you stuck one in. Otherwise Q-Tips will not be your friend if you don't.
Oh, so true. Low grade Q-tips can be an airbrush's nemesis.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-21-2009, 07:22 PM
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Cellulose lacquer thinner is the best cleaner but make sure your airbrush is one that's rated to use it. It can be pretty harsh on some plastic bodied airbrushes or ones with cheaper rubber o-rings.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-22-2009, 04:55 PM
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What he said, Lacquer Thinner. It cleans just about everything and smells nice too...
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-22-2009, 06:09 PM
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I never thought about using washer fluid as a rinse, does it try fast?
Yeah, no problem. I rinse it with the washer fluid and go right into the next color no problem.

I use it for clean out the lacquer thinner or turpentine to protect the O rings.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-22-2009, 06:59 PM
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I went looking at the varieties of windshield washer fluid, on Wikipedia. There are a couple types, one is hazardous to our health, so buy the right kind.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-23-2009, 05:41 AM
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when cleaning my paasche h or my badger 350 (both single action, external mix) i use dills pipe cleaners dipped in strypeez water rinsing brush cleaner (liquid, not paste). this is potent stuff. dont let parts soak in it, or it will strip the nickle plating off along with the paint! but theres nothing better for taking off any sort of paint, no matter how dry or thick. this stuff will even take off PAX and rubber cement based mask paints.

do not use it in any airbrush with internal plastic or rubber gaskets.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-23-2009, 09:42 AM
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Am I the only one who uses carb cleaner?

Carb cleaner from your automotive store. Dissolves paint. Cleans metal, comes with a handy tube so you can spray it through the airbrush. Works on cleaning regular brushes too.

The downside is that it stinks (use in a ventilated area) and it will attack plastic (but it's OK on metal body airbrushes like Paasche and Badger).

It's great for a between color clean and I also use it with a cloth and pipe cleaner for the regular strip down clean.

Costs about $3 a can. Lasts for about 100 quick cleans.

Jim
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-25-2009, 01:50 PM
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I'm a die hard EZ Air Airbrush Cleaner user. For acrylics (99% of what I spray) it works beautifully, 30 seconds between colors, 60 seconds for end of day.

The other 1% is lacquers, which plain old lacquer thinner works fine to clean out and take care of any acrylic residue.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2010, 09:14 PM
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Am I the only one who uses carb cleaner?

Carb cleaner from your automotive store. Dissolves paint. Cleans metal, comes with a handy tube so you can spray it through the airbrush. Works on cleaning regular brushes too.

The downside is that it stinks (use in a ventilated area) and it will attack plastic (but it's OK on metal body airbrushes like Paasche and Badger).

It's great for a between color clean and I also use it with a cloth and pipe cleaner for the regular strip down clean.

Costs about $3 a can. Lasts for about 100 quick cleans.

Jim

Do you have any problems with the carb cleaner deteriorating the o-rings? Thanks.

mike
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-29-2010, 07:45 AM
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I don't think you would. Carbs and fuel injection systems are full of rubber gaskets and o-rings.
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