Introduction: Unclogging Rust-Oleum Nozzle

I love Rust-Oleum spray paints because of the wide range and quality. Most of the cans can even spray at any angle, even upside down. But I quickly encountered one big problem: The nozzles get blocked easily.

Getting spare nozzles is not that easy, and not cheap either.

So I devised a way of unclogging the blocked nozzles, which seems to work quite well.

But before you try my invasive method, maybe also try some other methods mentioned in the comments section and on the web:

1. Use a can of brake or carburetor cleaner to clear the nozzle.

2. Soak it in mineral spirits/white spirits/mineral turpentine or paint thinners to soften up the gunk, and then try to blow it out with an air compressor, or clean it with a thin wire.

If none of these methods work, I hope mine will do the trick, as described in the following steps.

Step 1: What You Will Need

1. A small awl

2. 1 mm drill bit

3. A thin needle with a thickness of approximately 0.7 mm (2nd picture)

4. A pair of pliers to grip the needle with.

5. A blower bulb or something similar to test the flow of air through the nozzle.

Step 2: Remove the Jet From the Nozzle

With a sharp object (I use a small sewing awl) pry out the black jet from the white nozzle body (1st picture). A miniature screwdriver should also work. Be careful, the awl can easily slip and hurt you! The jet can also shoot out unexpectedly and land you don't know where.

Things should now look like the 2nd picture: the jet on the right and the nozzle body on the left.

See if the jet is clogged or not, as shown in the 3rd picture. If the orifice is not clean and round, it should be cleaned with the needle. It is important not to dig around with the needle, because that will destroy the spray pattern of the jet. Force the needle straight through the jet as seen in the 3rd picture, and slide the jet along the needle a few times to clean it.

If the jet is clear, you can now test the flow through the nozzle itself using the blower with air or water. If the flow is non-existent or weak, the problem probably lies with the horizontal canal/passage between the jet and the vertical opening into which the can's spout fits (last picture).

Step 3: Cleaning the Blocked Canal

We're going to clean up/rebore the canal with the 1 mm (1/32 inch) drill bit (1st picture).

As shown in the 2nd picture, we just drill down the canal. You'll feel when the drill bit reaches the vertical opening inside after about 6 or 7 mm, and that also means the canal is now cleared.

Blow any swarf out with the blower, and just pop back the black jet (3rd picture). The nozzle should now be working perfectly again (last picture).

Step 4: Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Of course, best would be if the nozzles do not get clogged in the first place, and this can supposedly be prevented by removing the nozzle each time after you've used it, and placing it in a container filled with mineral turpentine (white spirits). I've only just started using this method after getting the tip on the internet, and still have to see if it is 100% effective.

Of course, if you go to the trouble to blow some mineral turps/thinners through the nozzle after each use, you'll probably have the best results in maintaining your nozzles.

And of course, always wipe the nozzle's jet after using, as stated in the instructions on the can (you did read that, didn't you?)