6 Steps Guide Of How To Clean An Air Compressor

How To Clean An Air Compressor?

How To Clean An Air Compressor

Air compressor is the prudent requirement of every DIYer or professional contractor. This useful product helps various industries to inflate pneumatic tools which are because of its standardization. This versatile tool is the best one-time investment for people. 

For that matter, we in our guide break down and address all the important queries to you people. In this, you’ll learn: what this tool is about? How does it work? How to clean an air compressor?

It is of chief importance that maintains your air compressor health which includes draining and replacement of some of its damaged parts. So, just scroll down and have a look at this guide!

What Is an Air Compressor?

Hot Dog Air Compressor

Air compressor is a manifestation of human inventiveness. I mean hats-off to such ingenuity who is versatile enough to do any tedious task.   

So, what air compressor is? So, as the name suggests air compressor operates when it pushes air into its tank and builds up some pressure. Think of a balloon when you blow it, the air compressed, and when you hold off how it releases energy. This betokens that air compressor’s single-engine metamorphose electrical energy into kinetic energy. It is exactly like the combustion engine’s function with the assistance of a crankshaft, piston, valve, head, and connecting rod. Now, what is the purpose of this compressed air? It is harnessed in multiple gears like impact wrenches, sanders, or even paint sprayers. 

Do you know what is the most multifaceted yet pivotal tool of any garage or workhouse? It is surely an air compressor. In recent times, due to technological evolution, some huge improvisations have taken place in the orthodox air compressor. What’s new then? Well, now they’ve come in compact shape and lightweight form. These features heightened their vitality in work shops air compressor. Its single-engine doesn’t entail much in its maintenance if did regularly. Just a little bit of oiling, replacing its broken valves or checking the pressure switch, and you’re all set to go! 

On What Grounds Do You Find Your Air Compressor Tank Dirty?

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This question comes to our mind often and yes, it is instructional that we must know the causes of the dirty air compressor. Otherwise, it becomes a ticking time bomb that explodes at any moment. 

 So, what happens is: over time the tank of your air compressor is accrues condensation. This is because when the air compressor sucks in the atmospheric air from the surrounding it also includes water vapor. When you pump the pressurized air from the air compressor into the inflatable material, water dews from the air remain and are set in your compressor tank. 

When you don’t clean or extract out this rising level of water, then the moisture contacts with metal and can incur rusting and degradation. If you don’t drain for a long period the air compressor’s rust will go from inside to out which causes cracks or leakages of the outer surface. You need to know that you have to clean the dirt from your air compressor otherwise your compressor’s longevity will be reduced.  

What is the vitality of spring-cleaning an air compressor tank?

The more frequent your use is the more you need to take care of your air compressor. If you don’t maintain it regularly it will not serve you the way you want it to be. The most vital thing in an air compressor is its tank, for sure. You need to clean it regularly if you use it consecutively. You should follow our steps so it works for the longest period. Just scroll down and give this a read!

How many steps do you need to follow to clean the air compressor tank?

Now, cleaning your air compressor tank isn’t a string theory. Just follow some simple steps that we’ll tell you. These steps if follow properly will boost your compressor’s longevity and it will last forever.

Step1: Track down the cracks and a way to oversee them

Some leaks are least obvious and some are least audible for those to be seen you need to be very careful regarding your air compressor. Such leaks are so minor that even PSI indicators get puzzled. These kinda leaks eventually slow the operationalization of your air compressor. Thus, making your compressor consumes more energy with extra heating and then less or gradually no output. You need to carefully listen to the sound of your air compressor system and then double-check areas having potential leaks. Like hose, pipe networks, tubes, disconnects, and shut-off valves. Because leaks like oil or fluid can be detectable if scrutinized thoroughly for the above-mentioned leaks accumulating your capital on an ultrasonic leak detector is the best possible option. But its downside is not its expensiveness but it also requires proper training. 

You can apply soapy water to detect air leaks. How it is possible? Well, apply a liquid or detergent mix with water on the surface of your air compressor tank and see the magic. You’ll notice bubbles forming on the places which have a minor leak.

Also, if you don’t have an ultrasonic leak detector then we’ll tell you another method by which you can detect its other issues. For that technique, you need to inspect the differentiation of PSI of your filters. Be mindful of the fact that your PSI which you put in is exactly of the same amount which is extracted out. If there is a minute gap in it, then the time has come where you need to observe the parts of your air compressor.

Step 2: The location of an air compressor is very important

After proper placement of the air compressor make sure that you affirmed it accurately so that you didn’t slip the air compressor. Such small drop-offs can emaciate the physical integrity and cause it to shatter. Also, cognizant of the fact that that you unplug your air compressor from the power outlet or the power switch is in OFF setting mode.

Before initiating the cleaning step, you need to condense the pressure of the air compressor tank to 10 PSI. To lessen the pressure, you need to fear protective gear like safety googles first. Then, you need to pull the ring on the safety valve. While doing this step you need to shield the pressure valve with one hand and pull the ring by the other. To deflect the air, you need to persistently pull the ring until the air compressor tank becomes empty.

Step 3: Uncluttered the drain valve with a first go

So, the first and foremost thing you need to find out is the drain valve spot. In most the air compressor it is placed at the bottom. But there are some scarce models of air compressors where the drain valve is set on the sides. 

Drain vales located on the sides are indeed handier to uncluttered and close. But it is also correct that they are not much proficient to drain the water fully. The sole purpose of side valves is to release water with air pressure. This means that if there isn’t any air pressure then you’re not able to drain the water in such a sort of design. 

Moreover, the side valves can cause corroding which eventually clogged up the opening. For that matter, it is recommended that you should go for the air compressor which has bottom placement.

Step 4: Clear up the tank with erosion, oil, moisture, or muck

After locating the drain valve unfasten its nut. The more you open the valve, it started to moisten up. Then gradually open the valve so that water instantly starts to release out from the tank. 

Remember to put a non-usable dip or bowl to hold the dripping water. If you do not hold the water maybe you need to clean up your messed floor. Slant the air compressor a little to let the cocktail drain out from the tank. 

But keep in mind that if you have side placement of drain valve then it already contains an air pressure. Otherwise, the junk didn’t come out of your compressor. 

For such air compressors, you need to burgeon some air pressure. After accumulating some just turn off the compressor after some time. Then open the drain valve to see that water is being pushed out. In that case, too, grab a futile ampule to catch the filth, sludge, oil, or rust.

Step 5: Open the drain valve for about a few hours

After emptying your air compressor tank, it is time to leave it for a few hours so the moisture or liquid dries out. To not make the process so long you can use an electronic automatic drain valve. Now, what is it?

This method is a perfect match for those who strain to do drain their air compressor often. For that matter, this electronic automation drain is widespread among many people. But mostly, this additional tech is used by those people who are professionals and have a heavy-duty air compressor.  

For them, the conventional method is automatic draining. What do you need to do? Just replace the existing manual drain valve with an electronic one. For the electronic one, you need to check out its frequency and set a timer so it drains every single day. 

You need to also set the frequency at which you need to drain your compressor. In addition to this, the electronic automation drain valve must be powered by 12V power. In this method, you need a useless bowl to collect all the gunk cocktail which is drained out. Remember: vacant it before the drain water overflows.

These methods end here but to maintain the longevity of your air compressor (so it remains in a good position) you need to be careful and follow these techniques as well.

Step 6: Observe that no traces of sludge remain within the tank

Spot the debris minutely if single filth or gunk is left in the air compressor tank then it will assist in waiting for a ton of your hours which you spend on its cleaning. So, check again and again that whether all the debris is taken out or not. 

Also, if you’re in doubt that your heavily invested air compressor is in severe need of a professional then you can also go for a Hydrosol system. This is a chemical cleaning technique that is internationally recognized and is based on proper guidelines and standards. This method flushed and extract out all the debris from the air compressor’s internal covering. 

It is specifically for those whose air compressor didn’t go through a proper cleaning for a very long period. If you do this it will help you in the future and prevents your air compressor from future potential damages. 


As discussed already the air compressor is one of the most versatile innovations of humans. It operationalizes several pneumatic tools at home, in workshops, and industry. This powerful gear incredibly compresses and keeps the air at massive pressure.

Therefore, such intense tools need to be taken care of well for that matter we come with this guide of how to clean air compressor. A tank blast can cause massive injuries so remember to be careful about that.

Manufactures have considerably taken safety points seriously so do you. For that matter, you need to take mini periodic steps and maintain the air compressor’s health. Follow our how-to tutorial and don’t fret ever!



From the above-mentioned facts, it surely crystalized the fact that the intense concoction of dust, water, and other potent chemicals can inflict mayhem in your air compressor’s tank. To abstain from that peril, you contemplate that How Often Should You Drain Your Air Compressor?

Don’t worry it is simple though! If you recurrently use an air compressor, then remember you need to drain it after every use so the water vapors or any moisture don’t set to prolong. This not just triggers the rusting process but sternly impacts the performance of your compressor and pneumatic tools.

Further, if you are not a frequent user of air compressors then a single drain after two or three uses is best of your gear. But if you didn’t operationalize for an extended period then make sure you drain it holistically. This proper cleaning removes the hazardous cocktail from the tank and prevents it from corroding.  

After ensuring that all debris is come out just pop on to the next step which is to tighten the drain valve. You might be thinking what’s the big deal? Dear folks, it is!

It is cautious to apply thread tape which secures the drain valve and ensures that it doesn’t leak. Another pro tip to ensure the tightness of your drain valve is to use soapy water along with the drain valve fitting.

How come the soapy water, right? This is the best way to check out that there isn’t leaking going on. Right at the drain valve fitting if you see bubbles, it is a sign that you need to squeeze the valve more with a wrench. You can go for this soapy water again and again until you didn’t see any bubbles.

Okay, there’re cases where if after this step you see bubbles popping up again. Well in that situation you need to replace the drain valve with a new one or use more thread tapes. As the damaged drain valve is behind the continuous leakage.

We already mentioned almost three methods by which you can clean your air compressor tank. The first one is manual where you just open the drain valve so all the extras will leave the tank space. Then there is also an electronic method by which you need to replace your manual valve with an automatic one. One thing more which you can use is an Evapo-Rust formula. It is a water-based and environmentally safe solution to remove rust. Specifically, for those who are facing rust issues in their tank. Lastly, we have guided you to a hydraulic cleaning system which is done with chemicals.

There are several methods to maintain your air compressor.

  1. First, inspect the vibration of your air compressor pump or airend. Don’t know what probably it is? Okay, so there should be standard vibration levels. If it exceeds the limit then you must be in trouble. Thus, checking out your motor vibration must be consistently done. So, what happens is that the vibration pads are located right below the stationary air compressor. These vibration pads help to lessen the vibration and stop the tank from shaking or some other damages. If you felt excessive vibration noise it generally infers that you need to take care of your worn pads. The worn pads are causing the tilt and triggering the casing or mountain bolts to lose.  
  2. Remember to take out your air compressor oil samples. Just replace it over the year or in between 5-6 months. If your oil contains an excessive amount of sludge, grime, or other metal flakes then I point out that it is showing warning signs. So, keep in mind that change its oil with synthetic compressor oil and drain the previous oil completely.
  3. Now there is a need to check out its intake vents and the hose. If it is congested with filth then you seriously consider washing away from it. Just do a proper scrubbing so that the passageways remain clean and neat. This is not just about dust accumulation around your hose or vent but you need to be aware that it does not have any sign of cracks or rust. If you find any leak recommend that you should replace it without a doubt.  
  4. A thorough cleaning is all the part of its maintenance procedure which you should consider. We have already mentioned the due step-by-step guide; please follow them.
  5. Then there is a need to turn your stares at your air compressor filters. You need to clean them. How to do it? So, to clear out the filters you need to unscrew the filter cover. Gradually pull out the filter from its base and find out anything which seems odd. If there is a need to blow the filth then do it. And if you find some parts cracked them immediately replace it.

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