My Airbrush Cleaning Routine

Bill Welch

As we have witnessed, painting our models is a very personal choice. With the advice of a plastic modeling magazine editor about 56 years ago, I purchased a Binks "Wren" airbrush and a small compressor with no way to control the PSI or know what it was. However the combo worked well with the paint of the day, in 1964 probably Patra or Testors, but definitely solvent based. I opened my bedroom window and sprayed into a cardboard box. I remember even then struggling to keep the airbrush clean. Some of my problems were from a lack of discipline to clean completely after each paint session.

In 1992 when I began modeling freight cars I decided to go "water based Acrylics" only because they are not toxic, secondarily because of ease of cleanup, but by then I had learned to clean as I go. I have been pretty disciplined with this. BTW I Paint w/Badger's Modelflex paint

The greatest assist in keeping my airbrushes clean is 91% Isopropyl Alcohol. My routine after painting is to initially flush with Distilled water, including back-flushing, and then spraying/flushing w/the Isopropyl. Then I pull the needle out and wipe it w/a paper towel wetted with Isopropyl to remove any paint buildup. That is all the "disassembly" I routinely do. Once the needle is back in place, I spray more Isopropyl and finish with more water. My cleaning station is a brown paper bag with crumpled paper to catch the water and Isopropyl.

Bill Welch


Join to automatically receive all group messages.