Can Water be sprayed through a paint gun?


Hello folks. New member here who is trying his hand at automotive spray painting.

I am looking to learn the correct position of a gravity feed HVLP spray gun while spray painting, I would practice daily on one of my cars with water for several months while prepping the body for final paint. My reasoning for doing this is to learn how to keep the gun fan pattern level, or plumb, to the perspective surface. It will also teach me to keep a constant distance away from the surface to be sprayed.

My questions are:
1) can water be sprayed through a paint gun without damaging the gun?
2) if water can be sprayed through a paint gun, should I run acetone through the gun after spraying water?

Thank you,


Paint Fanatic
Staff member
Just after doing your test run, a fast or medium urethane reducer through the gun to get water out.
Lacquer thinner would work also.


Top Banana
I did it mjm yrs ago. Sprayed water/iso prop alchohol mix at my sliding glass patio door.
Last yr i mixed up some universal clear, poured into med container cap with hole & timed how long it took.
Then i mixed house paint with water till same drip time/viscosity to play spraying cardboard.
Clean afterwards as Barry said. No problems.


evil painter
I've used water to let younger guys get a baseline feel of things. Water would be good to walk around an actual car with, since spraying a whole car is a different skill than parts spraying. I've also used same basic automotive gun for many a waterbase acrylic paint jobs on residential &commercial doors before having dedicated guns. Clean with water, then denatured alcohol or straight to lacquer thinner before solvent use. Thinned down acrylic waterbase paint & actually spraying something with it would be better practice to really see what you & the gun are doing. There are also cheaper enamel & lacquer paints that you could spray a real object with for further practice.


Gentlemen, thank you for the confirmation and additional information. I will take your advise and walk around the car spraying water so I can get some type of muscle memory for a level fan pattern, and a constant distance away from the surface to be sprayed. I really like the idea presented about using a water based paint thinned out, and spraying that for practice. I have some 4x8 sheets of plywood I'll hang on the wall and use in place of cardboard.

Many more questions to come, so bare with me. Oh, and just to let you know, I have been reading past threads here to educate myself.

Thanks again