Cleaning Inside my Air Compressor Tank

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Forum topic by WoodToolsWorkshop posted 05-10-2018 06:55 PM 1188 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 1396 days

05-10-2018 06:55 PM

I bought a used Ingersoll Rand 24-gallon air compressor. Changed oil and air filter, tested for leaks and found the drain valve leaking. Decided to replace with an extension out from under, so I took the valve and its bushing out. The bushing was clogged thick with dirt and rust. I want to wash all this out of the tank before I put new fittings on.

I can just fill it with water and pressurize that back out, but I hate the idea of putting more water inside. I thought of using a water/vinegar mix because I have seen articles and videos showing that vinegar works to fight rust about as well as electrolysis. I know water in the tank is inevitable, but I hate the idea of doing it deliberately.

What are your thoughts about using a vinegar mix? Pointless? Helpful? Any better ways to do this?

4 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2125 posts in 763 days

#1 posted 05-10-2018 09:21 PM

just to clean out the tank, do not dilute the vinegar.
put about two gallons in the tank and let it sit for a few days.
heat will accelerate the action much quicker.
rig a piece of 1/4 or 3/8” copper tubing to your water hose so you can get inside
after the vinegar treatment to rinse out all the gunk. (and there WILL be gunk).

Note: remove the top tube as the tank MUST BE VENTILATED and breathe freely.

I have been cleaning up some old rusty tools lately and have discovered that putting
the tools in a stainless pot and heating it on the stove to almost to the poiling point
REALLY accelerates the process. (use your own best judgement and be safe about it).

my shop compressor was a 80 gallon~24cfm Ingersoll Rand and I drained it once a year.
the smaller ones I don’t think I ever drained them. (maybe I should do that this weekend LOL).
I have never cleaned a compressor tank.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View Rich's profile


5126 posts in 1190 days

#2 posted 05-10-2018 09:57 PM

I don’t see the value in cleaning the inside of the tank. If you live in a humid environment, you’ll be getting plenty of water in there that you need to drain regularly. It’s also advisable to put a moisture trap on the output, especially if you’re going to be spraying. Beyond that, a dirty tank isn’t going to do you any harm.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View tomsteve's profile


986 posts in 1820 days

#3 posted 05-11-2018 01:15 PM

with the rust issue, you may want to have the tank inspected internally and a hydrostatic test done on it.
some welding gas supply companies do it for free.

View WoodToolsWorkshop's profile


6 posts in 1396 days

#4 posted 05-11-2018 05:03 PM

Thanks, guys!

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