How to clean air compressor tank

When did you last clean your air compressor tank? If you don’t remember, then it’s been too long. It is very important to clean the air compressor tank and filters regularly (at least once a month) to keep the compressor running smoothly.

The frequency of cleaning the air compressor tank will vary depending on several factors, including type, frequency, and duration of usage. Cleaning the air compressor tank is quite a simple process. You just need to know what to do and how to go about it.

We have crafted a detailed guide about how to clean an air compressor tank. Read on to learn about cleaning the compressor tank to ensure the smooth running of your compressor.

How to clean air compressor tank

The average lifespan of an air compressor tank is about 10 -30 years. If you do not clean your air compressor tank regularly, dirt, grease, and grime will creep up over time and eventually damage your compressor.

To ensure that your air compressor operates smoothly for a longer time, you should schedule regular cleanings of the tank. Here are the steps to help you do that.

Step 1: Turn off the power

When cleaning the air compressor tank, it is important to turn off the power. This will ensure that you are safe while working on the compressor. It will also prevent any accidental damage to the compressor.

Step 2: Disconnect the air compressor from the power source

Disconnecting the air compressor from the power source is another important step in cleaning the tank. This will prevent the compressor from turning on while working on it.

Step 3: Locate the drain valve

After disconnecting the air compressor from the power source, It is important to discover the drain valve. The drain valve is a screw-type fitting used to release the compressed air and fluid from the tank. It is typically located at the bottom of the tank.

In some cases, the drain is located at the back of the compressor. You can also read your manual to determine the location of the drain fitting.

Step 4: Open the drain valve to release air pressure

Now it’s time to open the drain valve to release air pressure. When doing this, make sure you are away from the tank.. Because of the sudden release of compressed air, some oil mist may be released when you open the drain valve.

You must wear gloves and protective glasses while working with the air compressor.

If you’re confused about draining process read this article: How can I drain my compressor.

Step 5: Remove dust or debris from the tank

Now check inside the tank for any harmful debris stuck in the air compressor tank. If you notice any debris or dust, then it is necessary to remove it, because rusting debris can hamper the performance of your compressor.

Note: In addition, it is also necessary to check the pump head for blockage. If you find any blockage in the pump, it is necessary to remove it. If you do not remove the blockage, it can stress the compressor components.

Step 6: Check for leaks before closing the drain valve

Before you close the drain, you should check for leaks. This is one of the most important steps in cleaning the compressor tank.

When cleaning the air compressor tank, if there is a leak, then the dirt and grime from the tank will go into the pump, causing a clog. So, find and fix any leaks first before you start cleaning.

Leakages are common in air compressor tanks, especially when you have not properly maintained the compressor. If you find a leakage, you need to either repair it or replace the tank.

To check for leaks, insert a soap solution into the tank. If there are any leaks, bubbles will form. Look for sources of the leaks, especially around the tank joints. Some common causes of leaks are loose bolts and faulty gaskets.

To repair or replace the tank, refer to the user manual. If you do not have the manual and want to do it yourself. Then read this article: Guide on Fixing the compressor leak tank.

Step 7: Close the drain valve

Finally, you can close the drain valve. Ensure that the drain valve is completely and tightly closed. This will prevent any leakage of air from the compressor tank. It is advisable to use thread tape on the valve to ensure tight sealing and no leakage.

Why should you clean your air compressor tank?

Why should i clean the air compressor tank

Cleaning the air compressor tank is an important task that needs to be done regularly. It will help ensure that your compressor runs smoothly for a long time. Aside from that, there are other reasons you should clean your tank regularly.

First of all, it will prolong the life of your compressor. Because dirt and grime can decrease the performance of a compressor, it is necessary to clean the tank regularly so that your compressor can work in optimum conditions.

Also, cleaning the tank will help you discover any problems in the air compressor system. So you can fix them as soon as possible, which will help increase the life of your compressor.

Cleaning the tank regularly will also ensure more savings on your part. Because you will not need to buy a new compressor due to work-related problems. In fact, for some tasks, you may even need to rent a new compressor. So cleaning the tank will help you save money in both the long and short run.

In addition, it is also necessary to keep your compressor tank clean for safety purposes. When you work with the compressor, any leak in the tank can be fatal. So it is important to clean the tank regularly to work with your compressor safely.

What causes dirty air compressor tanks?

When you look inside your air compressor tank, all you see is dirt and grime, So it may be difficult to understand what caused the build-up of grime and dirt inside the tank. But in reality, many reasons can cause dirty air compressor tanks. Here are some of the causes:

  • Firstly, the dirt in the air gets into your compressor when it is used. So when you use your air compressor to drive nails and bolts into wood and metal, the dirt and grime from those materials get deposited in your compressor tank.
  • Secondly, some oil residue gets into the air when you compress the air inside the tank. This is because while compressing air, some oil forms droplets in it.
  • Thirdly, when your compressor is not maintained properly, it will develop leaks. Leaks are a common problem in air compressor tanks, especially when they are not properly managed.
  • Fourthly, you may have used an inferior quality oil with dirt particles. This allows the grime to accumulate in your compressor tank.

What are the causes of oil leaks?

Oil leaks are common in air compressors, especially those that use an oil lubrication system. There can be several causes for oil leaks. But some of them include faulty gaskets and blockages in the oil pump head.

So, if you see any oil leaks in your air compressor, it is important to stop using the pump immediately. If you use the compressor with oil leaks, serious damage to the internal components can be costly to repair.

In addition, oil leaks can also cause dirt and grime to enter your air compressor. This can be hard to clean. So, make sure you check for any oil leaks in your compressor before using it. It’s also important to change the oil regularly to prevent this problem.


Keeping your air compressor tank clean is very important for the proper functioning of the pump. So make sure you clean the tank regularly to ensure that your air compressor always runs smoothly.

After reading this article on how to clean an air compressor tank, we’re sure that all your doubts about the air compressor tank have been cleared. If you want to know more about air compressor tanks, read our knowledge base articles to learn more about air compressor usage, repairing, and maintenance.

By Matthew

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