Do I Need to Strain Paint Before Spraying? Tips and Benefits Explained

Is it necessary to strain your paint before you start spraying it onto surfaces? This is a question that many DIY enthusiasts and beginners in painting often ask. The answer may seem simple, but the truth is that straining your paint before spraying it can make a world of difference in the quality of your work. If you want to achieve a flawless and professional-looking finish, then there’s no doubt about it: straining your paint is a must.

From my extensive experience as a painter and DIY enthusiast, I’ve come to realize that not straining paint can lead to a wide range of problems. Issues such as clogging in the sprayer, uneven texture on surfaces, and even poor adhesion are just a few of the potential complications that can arise if you fail to strain your paint before use. Therefore, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to this crucial process. If you want your paint job to look clean, precise, and polished, then straining should always be an essential part of your painting process.

So, do you really need to strain your paint before spraying it? The answer is yes. With a little bit of effort and patience, straining your paint can help you avoid many of the problems that beginners may encounter when attempting to paint surfaces. By removing all the impurities and lumps from your paint, you can achieve a more consistent and uniform texture, making your finished product look more professional and high-quality. So the next time you’re wondering whether to strain your paint or not, remember that it’s always worth the extra effort.

Paint Sprayer Equipment

Painting using a paint sprayer has become more and more popular due to its efficiency and convenience. However, before using your paint sprayer, it is important to have the right equipment to achieve the best results.

Here are some of the basic equipment you will need:

  • Paint sprayer: There are different types of paint sprayers available in the market, each designed for specific projects. Some are suitable for small DIY projects, while others are ideal for large commercial projects.
  • Nozzle tips: Nozzle tips are interchangeable parts of a paint sprayer that determine the type of spray pattern. Choose the nozzle tip that is suitable for the type of paint and the surface you will be painting.
  • Hose: The hose is the component of a paint sprayer that connects the machine to the paint container. Make sure the hose is long enough for your project and durable enough to withstand pressure.
  • Paint container: A paint container is where the paint is stored before it is sprayed. Consider the size of the project and choose the appropriate container size.
  • Masking tape and paper: Protect surfaces that you do not want to paint by covering them with masking tape and paper. This will also give you clean edges and lines.

Do I Need to Strain Paint Before Spraying?

One question that is frequently asked by those who are new to painting with a sprayer is whether or not they need to strain their paint before spraying. To answer that question, the answer is yes, you need to strain your paint before spraying.

The reason for this is that paint can contain small particles such as clumps, dried paint, and debris. If these particles are not removed, they can clog the nozzle tip of your sprayer, causing the spray to be inconsistent and even stop completely. Straining your paint will remove these particles, making it easier for the paint to be sprayed.

Strainer TypeBest For
Mesh StrainerLatex and acrylic paints
Cone StrainerThicker coatings and oil-based paints

When it comes to straining paint, there are a few different types of strainers you can use. The two most common types of strainers are mesh and cone strainers. Mesh strainers are ideal for straining latex and acrylic paints, while cone strainers are better suited for thicker coatings and oil-based paints.

Ultimately, straining your paint before spraying is an investment in the quality of your paint job. It prevents unwanted particles from getting into your equipment and ensures a smooth, consistent application.

DIY Paint Spraying Tips

Paint spraying is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to paint a surface. However, it requires proper preparation and a few DIY paint spraying tips to achieve the desired results. One of the important tips is to strain the paint before spraying.

Why Do You Need to Strain Paint Before Spraying?

  • Remove Clumps: Straining the paint removes any clumps or impurities that may clog the spray gun nozzle. This ensures an even and smooth spray pattern.
  • Homogenous Mixture: Straining the paint also helps in achieving a homogenous mixture. This ensures that the paint will spray evenly and produce a uniform finish.
  • Avoid Bubbling: Straining the paint ensures that there are no bubbles in the paint. Bubbles in the paint can cause an uneven finish and may require redoing the entire coating.

How to Strain Paint Before Spraying?

Straining the paint is easy, and it only requires a few simple steps:

  • Get a strainer specifically made for paint. These come in different mesh sizes depending on the paint type being used. The finer the mesh, the more effective the straining process is.
  • Place the strainer over a clean and empty paint bucket or container.
  • Pour the paint through the strainer. This may take some time, especially if the paint is thick. It is important to ensure that all the paint goes through the strainer to avoid clogging the spray gun.
  • Once all the paint has gone through the strainer, discard any impurities that may have accumulated in the strainer.
  • Your paint is now ready for spraying!


Straining the paint before spraying is an important DIY paint spraying tip that ensures an even and uniform finish. It helps remove any impurities, clumps, and bubbles that may clog the spray gun nozzle, thus producing a quality finish. Remember to use a paint strainer specifically designed for paint and strain the paint into a clean paint bucket or container.

The Pros and Cons of Straining Paint

If you’re gearing up for a painting project, you might be wondering if you need to strain your paint before spraying it on. Straining your paint can help you achieve a smoother finish, but it’s not always necessary. Consider the following pros and cons of straining paint to decide whether it’s right for your project.

  • Pro: Straining removes impurities. If your paint has been sitting on the shelf for a while or has been transferred between containers, it can collect dust, debris, and even chunks of unmixed pigment. Straining your paint ensures that all impurities are removed, which can lead to better coverage and adhesion.
  • Pro: Straining can improve your finish. By removing impurities, straining can also help you achieve a smoother and more consistent finish. This is especially important if you’re using fine finishing tools, such as an airless sprayer or a high-quality brush.
  • Con: Straining can be time-consuming. Depending on the size and viscosity of your paint, straining it can take several minutes or longer. If you’re working on a large project, you might not have time to strain all of your paint.

So, how do you decide whether or not to strain your paint before spraying it on? Consider your project’s specifications. If you’re using high-end equipment or want a flawless finish, straining your paint is likely worth the extra effort. If you’re working on a smaller project and don’t require a perfect finish, you might be able to get away with skipping this step.

It’s also worth noting that not all paints need to be strained. Acrylic paints, for example, are typically free of impurities and can be used straight out of the container. Consult your paint manufacturer’s instructions to determine if straining is necessary.

Removes impuritiesCan be time-consuming
Improves finish

Ultimately, the decision to strain your paint depends on your project’s specifications and your personal preferences. Consider the pros and cons outlined above to make an informed decision and achieve the best possible results.

Best Techniques to Get a Smooth Finish When Spraying Paint

When spraying paint onto a surface, a smooth and even finish is key. No one wants a bumpy or uneven paint job, especially when it comes to furniture or cabinets. Here are some of the best techniques to achieve a flawless finish when spraying paint:

  • Strain your paint: Before spraying, it’s important to make sure your paint is free of any debris or clumps. Straining your paint through a mesh strainer or paint filter will catch any impurities and make for a smoother application.
  • Select the right tip: Choosing the right size tip for your sprayer is crucial in achieving a smooth finish. Generally, smaller tips are better for finer finishes and larger tips are better for thicker coatings.
  • Work in thin coats: It can be tempting to spray on a thick coat of paint to finish the job faster, but this will actually result in a bumpy and uneven finish. Instead, spray in thin, even coats, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next.

Using a Paint Strainer

When it comes to spraying paint, using a paint strainer is an essential step in achieving a smooth finish. Strainers come in different mesh sizes, generally ranging from 100 to 600, with 600 being the finest. The size of the mesh you choose will depend on the type of paint you’re using and the type of sprayer you have.

Paint strainers work by trapping any debris or clumps in the paint before it enters the sprayer. This ensures that the paint is clean and well-filtered, and will result in a smoother and more even finish on your project.

Mesh SizeUsesRecommended Sprayer Tip Size
100-200For thicker paints such as latex or oil-based paints1.8mm-2.0mm
300-400For interior walls and ceilings1.5mm-1.8mm
500-600For finer finishes and lacquers1.2mm-1.5mm

Using a paint strainer can save you time and frustration in the long run, as it will prevent clogging of your sprayer and ensure a smooth and professional finish on your project.

Common Mistakes Made When Using a Paint Sprayer

Painting with a sprayer is a time-saving and efficient way to cover large surfaces. However, if not used properly, a paint sprayer can lead to poor results and frustration. The following are common mistakes made when using a paint sprayer:

  • Not preparing the surface properly. One of the most common mistakes when using a paint sprayer is not preparing the surface adequately. The surface should be clean, dry, and free of any loose paint or debris. Failing to remove old paint or sanding down rough spots on the surface will result in a bumpy finish.
  • Not thinning the paint. Not all paint is formulated for spraying, and failing to thin the paint will result in clogging of the sprayer nozzle and poor coverage. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions or consult with a paint expert.
  • Not testing the equipment. Before starting a paint project, it is essential to test the equipment to ensure it’s correctly working. Test-spraying the surface on a scrap or testing a small area will allow the user to adjust the settings for the paint flow and pattern.

Before spraying the surface, it’s essential to put measures in place to prevent overspray and protect surrounding areas. Cover the surrounding surfaces and objects, including floors, windows, and fittings. Failing to do so will lead to the need to spend extra time and resources on cleaning and repairing damages.

Another common mistake made when using a paint sprayer is spraying in poor weather conditions. Rainy, windy, and humid conditions can negatively affect the finish and may cause dripping and streaking. Checking the weather forecast before starting is advisable.


Painting with a sprayer can be an easy and efficient way to achieve professional results. However, avoiding the common mistakes outlined above will ensure a smooth and successful project. Take the time to prepare the surface correctly, test the equipment, protect the surrounding surfaces, and spray in ideal conditions.

Not preparing the surface properlyBumpy finishClean, dry, sand or strip the surface before spraying
Not thinning the paintClogging of the sprayer nozzle and poor coverageFollow the manufacturer’s instructions or consult with a paint expert.
Not testing the equipmentPoor coverage, overspray, and paint patternTest-spray on a scrap or testing a small area
Spraying in poor weather conditionsNegatively affect the finish, dripping, and streakingCheck the weather forecast before spraying.

Overall, avoiding these costly mistakes will add professionalism and enhance the final outcome.

Choosing the Right Paint for Your Sprayer Job

When it comes to spraying paint, there are a variety of options available on the market. Choosing the right paint for your sprayer job is critical for ensuring a successful outcome. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Type of surface: Different surfaces require different types of paint. For example, a glossy enamel paint may be suitable for metal or wood, but not for drywall or plaster.
  • Type of sprayer: Not all paints are compatible with all types of sprayers. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s specifications before purchasing paint for your sprayer.
  • Desired finish: The type of paint you choose will determine the finish you get. For example, a high-gloss paint will create a shiny finish, while a matte paint will create a flat finish.

Do I Need to Strain Paint Before Spraying?

When it comes to spraying paint, many people wonder if they need to strain the paint before using it. The answer is: it depends.

If you are using a high-quality paint that is designed for spraying, chances are you won’t need to strain it. However, if you are using lower-quality paint or paint that has been sitting for a while, it’s a good idea to strain it to remove any impurities or lumps that may clog your sprayer.

Here are some steps to follow if you need to strain your paint before spraying:

  1. Pour the paint into a clean container.
  2. Place a strainer over the container and pour the paint through it.
  3. Use a stir stick to push the paint through the strainer.
  4. Repeat until all the paint has been strained.
Tools NeededMaterials Needed
Stir stickContainer to hold the paint
StrainerClean container to strain the paint into

Overall, straining your paint before spraying is a good practice to ensure a smooth and even application. It’s also an easy step that can save you time and frustration in the long run.

Safety Tips When Using Paint Sprayer Tools

Painting with a sprayer can save you time and give you a professional-looking finish, but it’s important to keep safety in mind. Here are some safety tips to follow when using paint sprayer tools:

  • Wear protective gear, such as goggles, a respirator mask, gloves, and long-sleeved clothing to avoid inhaling or getting paint on your skin.
  • Make sure the area you’re painting is well-ventilated to minimize the risk of inhaling dangerous fumes.
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before using the sprayer to avoid injury or damage to the machine.

Preparing Your Paint for Spraying: Do I Need to Strain Paint Before Spraying?

Yes, it’s important to strain your paint before spraying to prevent clogs in the sprayer. Straining the paint removes any impurities or chunks that could clog the nozzle of the sprayer and cause an uneven finish.

You can strain the paint by pouring it through a paint strainer or a mesh sieve into a clean container. This will remove any foreign particles and ensure that the paint is smooth and easy to spray.

Cleaning Up After Spraying

Cleaning up after spraying is important to maintain the quality of your sprayer and prevent it from clogging or malfunctioning. Here are some tips for cleaning up:

  • Flush the machine with water or solvent, depending on the type of paint you’re using.
  • Clean the sprayer thoroughly by removing the nozzle, filter, and other parts, and clean each part separately with a soft brush or cloth.
  • Allow the machine to dry completely before storing it in a cool, dry place.


Using a paint sprayer can be a great way to achieve a professional-looking finish on your home’s interior or exterior surfaces. However, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take proper safety precautions to avoid injury or damage to your sprayer. Straining your paint before spraying and cleaning up properly after each use will help maintain the quality and longevity of your machine.

TipWhy It’s Important
Wear Protective GearTo avoid inhaling or getting paint on your skin
Read the Manufacturer’s Instructions CarefullyTo avoid injury or damage to the machine
Strain Your Paint Before SprayingTo prevent clogs in the sprayer and achieve an even finish
Clean Up Properly After SprayingTo maintain the quality and longevity of the machine and prevent clogs or malfunctions

FAQs About Do I Need to Strain Paint Before Spraying

1. Can I use unstrained paint when spraying?

Yes, but you risk clogging your sprayer or having an uneven finish. Straining your paint before spraying will remove any debris that may cause issues.

2. What do I need to strain my paint?

You can use a paint strainer or a mesh filter to strain your paint. Both are available at most hardware stores.

3. Do I need to strain all types of paint?

It is recommended to strain all types of paint before spraying, including latex, oil-based, and even stains.

4. How often do I need to strain my paint?

It is best to strain your paint every time you refill your spray gun to ensure there are no debris or dried particles in the paint.

5. What happens if I don’t strain my paint?

If you don’t strain your paint, you may experience clogs in your spray gun, uneven coverage, or even bits of debris on your painted surface.

6. Can I strain my paint if it’s already mixed?

Yes, you can strain your paint even if it’s already mixed. It’s best to strain the paint in a separate container before adding it to your spray gun.

7. Is straining my paint before spraying worth the extra step?

Yes, straining your paint before spraying is a quick and easy step that can save you time and frustration in the long run. It ensures that your finish is smooth and even without any clogs or debris.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for taking the time to read about whether or not you need to strain paint before spraying. By following this simple step, you can save yourself time and frustration in the long run. For more home improvement tips, come back and visit our blog again soon!