How To Clean Your Spray Tan Gun

Apr 07, 2022

Keeping your spray tan gun clean and clear is a must-do as a spray tan artist. Not only will it benefit the life of your gun, but it will ensure that you don’t have any irregular spraying or gun malfunctions during an appointment that will trigger a panic moment! One thing to remember is that keeping solution in your gun after a long day of spray tanning can affect the way the gun functions, and therefore, can potentially affect the outcome of your client’s spray tan. We definitely don’t want to do anything that will decrease the client experience in any way, so as the Glow Boss that you are, let’s learn about cleaning your spray tan gun so that you can continue offering the most pristine, luxury service to all of your clients!

1. Empty & Label

The first thing you want to do when you finish up your busy day as a spray tan artist is empty your gun of the solution you have left over. The important thing to note: do not dump the remaining solution in your gun back into the original container of solution. Dumpin the solution back into the container can cause the entire bottle of solution to oxidize and turn bad more quickly. What you’ll want to do is get a few empty containers to store your excess solution into and then label them so you remember what you put in each container. This will allow you to grab that excess solution for the next day and cut down on wasted spray tan solution overall! If you use multiple brands, make sure to be specific with your labels with the name of the brand and the name of the actual solution.

2. Rinse

Now that you have your excess solution tucked away in a labeled container, it’s time to rinse your spray tan gun! I don’t generally use soap on the container, but instead, will rinse the bottom with water and set aside. I will then go ahead and rinse the gun by running water through the the straw. One thing that I recommend doing, is pulling the trigger on the gun while you’re rinsing to remove and unclog any solution that may still be inside the gun. When rinsing the gun, make sure to rinse water through the area that the hose connects to as well. It’s normal to see excess solution come out of the gun during this process. This is actually what you want to happen! Continue to rinse these areas of the gun until you see the water run clear.

3. Set Up Shop 

After the rinse you will lay your gun out to air dry. Once dried, you can move forward with deep cleaning your gun. I recommend laying a towel over a flat surface on a table, not near a sink. There will be small pieces being removed from the gun to be cleaned separately and you don't want them falling down the drain.

4. Removal

To start the removal process you’ll need to set aside a pair of pliers, a clean towel and some gun cleaner. The front air cap ring will be the first part of the gun you will detach by turning it counter clockwise. When unscrewing this piece of the gun, it’s important to be careful not to drop anything. It’s helpful to hold the gun facing upward toward the ceiling so that nothing falls when the pieces are being detached. Once this part is completely unscrewed it will release two separate metal pieces composed of the adjustable spray nozzle. Next you’ll want to grab your pliers to gently loosen the fluid tip. You can continue carefully unscrewing the fluid tup with your fingers to ensure that you do not lose any parts. There’s a small gasket attached to the fluid tip, that if lost, could cause the gun to leak. Next you will move to the opposite side of the gun where the air adjusting solution knob is located. In order to make sure you know where the knob was placed when you put the gun back together, it can be helpful to mark it before taking it completely out. You will then unscrew the solution knob completely. Once the knob is unscrewed, there will be a spring that pops out which is held between the solution knob and the needle of the gun. Next, you will pull the trigger of the gun so that the back end of the needle pops out. Take your pliers once again and tightly grip the back of the needle and pull it out completely. You may notice some solution residue on the needle. This is where you’ll utilize your gun cleaner. Put a small amount of cleaner on your clean towel and twist the needle onto the towel to remove the residue. Continue to wipe each piece of the gun that was taken apart with the clean towel until all of the residue is cleaned off. 

5. Reassemble

Now that every piece of the gun has been thoroughly wiped clean, you can move forward with putting all the pieces back together. The first piece you will want to put back into place is the needle! It’s important to be careful when placing the needle back into the gun in order to not bend or damage it in any way. When the needle is pushed into place, you will then take the spring and place it over the back end of the spring. You will follow that by screwing the air adjuster solution knob back into place behind the spring. Moving to the front of the gun, the fluid tip will be placed into the tip of the needle. Gently twist the fluid tip to secure it into place, being careful to not secure it too tightly. Lastly, you will position the adjustable spray nozzle on the front of the gun and secure it in place by screwing on the air cap ring.

To go the extra mile in ensuring your gun is completely cleaned out and ready to give your clients the flawless sunless tan of their dreams, you can put some of the gun cleaner in the composite cup, attach the gun to your compressor and then spray out all of the gun cleaner so that it runs through the entire inside of the gun’s system. As we mentioned previously, it’s important to do this process on a regular basis! Most spray tan solutions that you use are sugar-based. Therefore, if the gun is not cleaned regularly or thoroughly, you may experience your gun sticking, spraying intermittently or not spraying enough solution. This is something you definitely don’t want to experience during an appointment!

I hope this instruction on cleaning your spray tan gun was helpful! To get a visual interpretation of this process and watch me perform a spray tan gun cleaning, head over to our Youtube channel to watch the video now!