How To / How Much Cleaning After Practice?


Double Actioner
Greetings & hope everyone is well.

Planning to do detail practice with my HP-CS Eclipse, about 20 minutes per day. Using Createx Illustration mixed 1:1 with their 1104 reducer. Plan to use just one colour for brushing dots and lines. What's the best & easiest way to clean the brush afterwards for this kind of daily practice?

When I eventually get to multi-colour projects, what's the best & easiest way to lean the brush between colours?

What are some good cleaning supplies one should have on hand at the workspace?

Thanks for the tips, as always!
In general, I am going to tell you that people worry too much about cleaning their airbrush(es). Especially in the beginning!
That said, my normal practice while working is to keep a glass of water, a small squeeze bottle with water, a soft bristled paint brush, a paper towel, and a little airbrush cleaner on hand.
Working with one color - I work as long as I please. I read elsewhere that you may be experiencing a small bit of blotching, or spotting when initiating paint flow. For these cases, if I suspect dry is starting to develop I keep a cotton swab wetted with cleaner on the edge of my desk. I just stick the cotton bud right onto the needle tip, and give it a light twist every so often to clean the tip of the needle. When I am done with color, I dump out any remaining. I will normally squirt some water into the cup, give it a good swirl with the paint brush that has been sitting in the glass of water, and dump it out. I will then add more water and spray it out. Add water, swirl with the brush and spray it out back flushing a little during the spray out. You can back flush by wadding the paper towel around the tip, while spraying. After a few back flushes spray into the paper towel to check for remaining color. If there is, add more water, and spray again - you may also at this point want to loosen the needle and work it back and forth with your fingers just enough to aid in cleaning the area around the needle packing - maybe 1/8" back and forth.. Spray on the paper towel to look for color. If at any time you are still seeing more color than you would thin, you can also ad the same reducer you used to the cup, and swirl with the paint brush to help break up any thicker deposits of remaining paint. Follow with water. When I stop seeing a lot of color on the paper towel, I will usually add cleaner to the brush, spray a little, then draw the needle out and wipe it clean. I repeat this with liquid in the cup until the needle comes out clean, then finish the spray out...
It took way longer to type this, and most probably longer to read than the actual practice will take when you do it. I usually will not take a brush apart to clean until I see performance decline. For someone just starting, it may be difficult to tell when it is user error vs. declining performance - most often is user error. It is part of the process of learning.

Not much to add to Dave's excellent reply.
I want to mention that the type of paint you use is also a factor. I use solvent based automotive lacquers and enamels. These dry very fast and really hard. As an example, yesterday I sprayed some lacquer automotive primer and noticed a small flaw. Within 90 seconds of spraying, I was sanding the area to re-spray. I'm not suggesting or recommending anyone to do this but it illustrates the point of how fast they flash.
If I put an uncleaned empty airbrush down for 10 minutes, the paint will harden to a point that almost guarantees the need for a teardown for cleaning.
I run lacquer thinner (generous amount) between fill-ups regardless if same color or not. But in my case, from experience, after a few uses, deep cleaning is eventually needed. I "grew up" doing a full teardown cleaning of the airbrush after each use. That is an overkill but that's how I developed my muscle memory. I buy lacquer thinner by the gallons.

As a newbie, it's quite perplexing how and why problems come up as they do so your input is essential to helping me solve & move on.
Thanks so much Dave & Corvette. Appreciate your replies, gentlemen.
Dave and Tatocorvette have you covered with the cleaning, it's not always necessary to completely dismantle the airbrush each time.

once you've mixed your paint don't forget to strain it before putting it in the airbrush and don't be surprised if you need to reduce it further to get a good flow.

I will add though, as a newbie I would highly recommend getting some Createx restorer (4008) because I can almost guarantee you'll need to soak the nozzle at some point. I had to soak my nozzles A LOT when I first started. It's reusable so keep a small amount in a sealed small pot. These are great, you can also use them to mix your paint / reducer in and keep it capped, they're easy to clean.


Cleaning supplies ?
cotton tips,
tissues, (Kleenex type tissues)
paper towels,
long bristle artist brush, just a cheapy
Spray out pot.... that can be the brand name ones or you can simply use an ice cream tub (like below) stick a dollar store sponge in it and cut a small hole in the lid / upper side.

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