There is nothing worse than a clog for an airbrush artist. They are frustrating, time consuming, and often cost money to replace or repair parts. But the good news is that you can reduce those frustrations and costs by cleaning your airbrush every time you use it and regularly lubricating all the moving parts.
Step One: Rinse It
The first step for cleaning your airbrush is to run water or cleaner through it to get the last of your paint out. It is a good idea to do this simple cleaning method throughout the time that you are painting, such as quickly cleaning/rinsing it between two colors.
Step Two: Break It Down
You will want to fully take apart your airbrush, being careful not to lose any of the small pieces. I typically use a bowl of water or cleaning fluid to keep the small parts together while cleaning them, and always have plenty of paper towels available.
Step Three: Remove Obvious Paint
Remove any obvious paint on the outside of your airbrush. You can also gently clean the inside with a q-tip or paper towel now that your needle has been removed.
Step Four: Clean Each Piece
Clean each piece of your airbrush, and be sure to use your cleaning brushes to get inside. You will want to push the smallest brush you have through the opening the needle usually sits in to clean all the paint between the cup and main opening. Make sure that all the paint is off the inside of your airbrush and that all the pieces are clean and new before moving on to the next step.
Step Five: Lubricate and Reassemble
Now you will want to lubricate all of the moving pieces, as well as the threads where two or more parts screw together. This will help them to avoid damage and prevent wear/tear on your airbrush plus make the parts move more fluidly so that you can enjoy painting more. This step is extremely important, but be aware that the lubrication breaks down over time so you will need to clean it again if you intend to store it for long periods. For best results, clean your airbrush immediately after use and be sure to lubricate it regularly.
Good luck and happy airbrushing!