Do you need to fix your spray tan machine? Let me walk you through the most common reasons why your spray tan equipment may not be working properly. Along with my expert tips for how to troubleshoot your spray tan gun. And add in my over 20 years of experience to help you avoid the stress of malfunctioning equipment.

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Why Is My Spray Tan Machine Not Working?

In a busy spray tan business, there are a number of things that can damage your spray tan equipment. But the main issue is actually the spray tan solution. Let me explain all the ways that spray tan solutions can damage your spray tan equipment.

A spray tan machine not working is often because of a dirty spray gun, a clogged filter, or a broken hose.

Overusing a lightweight spray tan machine for heavy volume is also a common cause of spray tan equipment failure.

Faulty spray tan equipment can be frustrating when you have a client waiting for their sunless tanning appointment. There are a number of methods for fixing your spray tan machine.

Best Ways To Maintain Your Spray Tan Machine

Maintaining your sunless tanning equipment is the most important way to keep it in good working order.

What’s that saying? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Clean Your Spray Tan Equipment

First things first! Keep your spray tan machine and spray room super clean. This is the MOST important way to keep your equipment running smoothly.

Spray tan solution is the number one reason that your spray tan machine is not spraying properly. That doesn’t sound logical. But it’s true. Protecting your spray tan equipment from getting spray tan solution inside is paramount.

Your spray tan machine is pulling in air and pushing it out through the gun creating a suction. That air drags with it anything that is floating in it. Dust, dirt, hair, and spray tan solution overspray. These are pulled into the equipment causing a sticky mess that will gum up the moving parts. This eventually will cause the compressor to overheat and seize up to spray no more.

The way to limit the impact that the spray tan solution has on your spray tan equipment is easy. Keep the parts of your equipment that come into contact with the solution clean. And set your compressor as far away from the source of the spraying that is possible.

Clean Your Spray Tan Filter

If you can keep your machine under a counter or around the corner even better. Regularly clean any spray tan solution off your machine. Clean the filter routinely to keep the spray tan solution overspray out of the inside of your machine.

If you are a mobile spray tan business make sure that you have a sealed bag for your liquids. Don’t toss your spray tan solution and PH sprays into a travel bag with your spray tan kit. It’s not worth the risk that a bottle could leak and ruin your spray tan machine.

Lastly, is your spray tan gun set properly?  This reduces the amount of overspray significantly. Leaving less spray tan solution in the air that can be sucked into your compressor.

Are You Working In A Dusty Space?

Keeping dust and dirt out of a spray tan machine is important. Compressors have moving parts and getting dust inside them can quickly put your compressor out of action. Air moving through the spray tan gun and compressor creates the perfect environment for dust to get sucked into your equipment.

Clean sheets and tape are always in my mobile spray tan bag. And my shop floor is cleaned daily. Remind your mobile clients that you need a clean area to work in.

Always be aware of your surroundings when you get to a location and begin setting up. Places like basements, garages, and laundry areas tend to not be the cleanest and may have dust in large quantities.

Cover up the area where you will be spraying. Taping down sheets can create a clean space for your spray tan machine to sit.  Make sure your filter is clean before you start spraying. And clean your filter again when you are done for the day. This will help to keep as much dust (mixed with sticky spray tan solution) out of the inside of your spray tan machine.

Keep reading to learn what I carry in my spray tan artists repair kit for quick repairs.

Moisture Can Damage Your Spray Tan Machine

Moisture can harm your spray tan compressor in numerous ways. Water in the form of a spill or leak can quickly end the life of your compressor.

I never leave my compressor sitting on the floor anymore. I always unplug it and put it on the counter when I am done with my last spray tan for the day. This keeps it dry in case an accidental leak happens.

I had a leak in my basement a few years ago after heavy rain. My home unit was on the floor and she got wet. We have lived in our home for 18 years and had never had water in the basement before or after.

Better safe than sorry, and I was sorry.

Humidity is a quiet little demon when it comes to your spray tan equipment. Noticeable when you move from one temperature to another with your compressor. Going from air-conditioning to your hot humid car can cause condensation.

Every compressor I’ve had that has stopped working has happened in the middle of the summer when it’s very humid.  Keeping your compressor in a stable temperature environment is important to the life of your equipment. Never store your equipment in your car.

Bumps and Drops

Many spray guns and hoses are broken when they are dropped or stepped on. Some spray tan machine hoses come with protective coverings, but many hoses do not and can crack if stepped on or kinked.

I always have an extra spray gun and cups on hand just in case of an accidental drop. I also have electrical tape on hand at the studio and in my mobile bag for patching a cracked hose. Keeping your hose neatly coiled and out of the walkway and using a hook to store your spray gun helps to keep your equipment safe.

General Wear and Tear 

Improper use of a spray tan machine will most definitely shorten the life span of your equipment.

Heavy use of a machine that is rated for light use can cause it to overheat and seize.  Know the rating of use for your equipment. It is listed in the manufacturer’s description as light, medium, or heavy use. This will correspond to the motor sizes and recommended running times.

A very important part of keeping your spray tan equipment running is washing and COMPLETELY drying the filter regularly. There’s that water issue again.

Not regularly cleaning the filter will restrict the airflow to the internal parts causing them to overheat.  Spray tan machines need air to breathe and cool properly when they are running.

How To Clean A Spray Tan Machine Videos

How To Clean A Fuji Spray Tan Gun

How To Clean A Standard MaxiMist Spray Tan Gun

How To Clean A MaxiMist Lite Plus

Troubleshooting A Spray Tan Machine That Won’t Spray

Is your spray tan machine is leaking or sputtering? There is no airflow, or the unit won’t power on? You could have a problem with either your spray tan gun, the hose, or the compressor.

Let’s go over some of the typical problems that happen. And learn how to troubleshoot and fix your spray tan machine.

I have personally encountered many situations where my equipment was not working properly. Usually, it ended up being something simple to deal with. I had basic repair supplies on hand to help me solve the problem.

Sharing equipment with other people may mean that a co-worker changed a setting on the equipment. The equipment wasn’t assembled properly. Or that something was damaged that you are unaware of.

Spray Tan Machine Not Powering On

First, check all connections/power supplies.

  • Is the machine plugged in properly?
  • Does the outlet in the space you are spraying in work? The outlet may be wired to a switch.
  • Is the machine plugged into a power strip with an on/off switch?
  • Is the power switch on the spray tan machine fully on/fully off?
  • Is there more than one power switch on the equipment–I’m looking at you MaxiMist Pro TNT

Was the spray tan machine in use and then suddenly quit? Or make a strange noise and you shut it off and now it won’t power back up?

This is normally a sign of overheating. Sometimes if you let the equipment cool off it will restart. But sometimes sadly it means that the equipment has seized and won’t work again. If you are under the warranty period for your spray tan machine contact the manufacturer.

You registered your equipment when you got it for the warranty right?!

No Airflow/Too Much Airflow

If your spray tan machine is powering on but not spraying solution out of the spray tan gun- first check the airspeed setting. Set it to push the right amount of air through the spray gun.

Too little airflow and the spray gun won’t spray out the solution.

If your spray gun is spraying too much solution there will be a lot of overspray. This wastes spray tan solution. Dial the airspeed setting down till you get to a smooth spray with minimal overspray.

Spray Tan Hose Cracked Or Loose

If the spray tan machine is not pushing the air out of the spray tan gun, check the hose. Make sure the hose is secured and not leaking air on both the compressor and spray gun end. Check for cracks or splits, sometimes splits can hide so go over the whole hose.

Some of the newer designed spray heads snap into a handle on the hose. I have seen the handles work their way loose from the hose. I have also had a hose split inside the handle causing an air leak. This made my spray gun not spray properly. So check the hose carefully.

Why Is My Spray Tan Gun Not Spraying?

There are so many things that can go wrong with your spray tan gun. Often it is something related to maintenance and cleaning. Keeping your spray tan gun cleaned regularly will go a long way to ensure that it will work smoothly.

Below I will list out the most common complaints related to spray tan guns and what to check to troubleshoot.

Spray Tan Gun Trigger Not Working

  • Check the setting screw on the trigger–is too tight adjust it so the trigger can be moved
  • Is the spray gun seated into the hose handle correctly –if not remove and reattach

Blocked Spray Tan Gun

  • Clean spray tan gun and reassemble
  • Check solution consistency–I have seen spray tan solution that has particles that clogged a gun.

Spray Tan Gun Leaking

  • Clean spray gun
  • Replace cup seal
  • Make sure spray tan cup is screwed on evenly
  • Check that gun is assembled correctly–I had a new tech that flipped 2 pieces around causing the spray gun to leak
  • Don’t overfill the cup with spray tan solution

Spray Tan Gun Sputtering Spraying Spotty

  • Clean spray gun
  • Check hose connections for a split
  • Check the solution level-is it too low?
  • Check that the pickup tube is attached and not clogged–I have seen the foil or paper liner in a spray tan solution bottle fall into the spray tan solution cup as it was being filled.

There are many different styles of spray tan guns. Some of them completely disassemble for cleaning and have replacement parts and some of them don’t at all. I personally don’t like spray guns that don’t come apart. A dirty spray tan gun is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mold. So clean your spray tan gun and let it dry thoroughly before reassembling it.

Cup seals, check valves, and needles are all good to have on hand for on-the-fly repairs.

Related Articles:

Supplies You Need On Hand To Repair Your Spray Tan Equipment

Hopefully, you’re feeling a little more prepared to take care of your spray tan equipment.

Below are the tools that I keep on hand in my repair kit to fix my spray tan machine. Yes, I have a spray tan equipment repair kit. If I can’t finish my spray day because of a broken hose or cracked gun housing, then I am losing money and possibly clients.

I always have a backup compressor with me in case I have a machine go down. This way I still get to finish out my day and I don’t have any disappointed clients.

Here are the supplies and tools to keep on hand to fix your spray tan machine:

Spray Tan Equipment Repair Kit

Electrical Tape To Fix Cracked Or Split Spray Tan Hose

Electrical tape to fix your spray tan machine and hoses
  • temporarily patching leaks in my spray gun
  • sealing up a cracked lid on my solution bottle

Plumbers Tape To Fix Leaking Spray Tan Gun

Plumbers tape to repair leaking spray tan gun

Duct Tape To Fix Broken Spray Tan Hose

Duct tape to fix your spray tan machine hose
  • fixes everything LOL
  • tent repairs
  • tape down sheets
  • hold filter to fan,

Extension Cord—For Mobile Spray Tan

Extension cord

Plug Adapter–For Mobile Spray Tan

Plug converter
  • Old homes and buildings sometimes don’t have 3-prong outlets. If you are a mobile spray tan business it’s a good idea to toss one of these into your travel bag.

Needle Juice To Recondition A Spray Tan Gun

Spray tan gun lubrication

Spray Tan Gun and Equipment Cleaner

Zip Ties For Spray Tan Tent Repairs

Cable ties to fix your spray tan machine
  • tent repairs
  • travel bag repairs
  • holding things together
  • holding up a sheet for a makeshift barrier

Clean white sheets To Keep Floors Clean During Spray Tan

Sheets to keep spray tan area clean

Conclusion: Fix Your Spray Tan Machine

I hope you found some great troubleshooting tips and tricks to fix your spray tan machine. Keeping your equipment and supplies clean is the best way to keep your spray tan kit maintained and running smoothly. Keeping a spray tan machine repair kit on hand in case you need to fix your spray tan machine quickly can be super helpful during the busy spray tan season. Happy Spraying!!

As a small business owner, I can’t stock all the amazing products that are available in the world of sunless tanning.  I can give you my professional opinion.