First let’s look at how to clean your airbrush. One rule of thumb to remember is the type of cleaner you use will depend on the type of paint you use. Solvent based paints should be cleaned with a solvent based cleaner. All water based paints can be cleaned with water or a commercial cleaner designed for airbrushes. Windex is useful when cleaner your airbrush between color changes while using your airbrush. Never soak or leave your airbrush exposed to Windex for any real length of time. You should not have to take your airbrush apart every night to clean it, it is alright to only do a complete break down and cleaning once a month. Just make sure you do not go any longer than that. When you take it apart to clean soak it in a commercial grade cleaner overnight. The next morning take an airbrush cleaning brush to it. Make sure to oil your airbrush up before putting it back together.
Most artists find the using their airbrush without the needle cap gives them more control. Removing the needle cap is fine but should you hit your airbrush against something or drop it you could end up damaging the needle itself. So to take care of your airbrush make sure that when you are not using your airbrush that you replace the needle cap back onto it. This will give a little protection to the needle itself should the airbrush happen to fall. A damages needle can be disastrous to your ability to create high quality art, because if you are unable to straighten a bent needle back out or the needle should break completely you will not be able to finish your airbrush art until you can get a replacement.
If you do end up bending your needle you can try and straighten it with either pliers. Place the tip within the pliers and gently try and straighten it back out. Remember to do this gently so that you do not break your needle.
The better care that you take of your airbrush the longer it will last. So keep your airbrush clean with the right cleaners and once a month do a full break down and cleaning. With needles most artist find that the airbrushes coming out of China bend easier than any of the other airbrushes. So look for one that is made elsewhere so that you do not have to keep trying to straighten a bend airbrush. The best airbrushes to use that are the easiest to take care of are name brand airbrushes. The knockoffs are harder to take care of because are made from cheaper parts that break easier than the name brands.
Equipment that is not kept clean and properly cared for will break down more often. Also equipment in is not taken care of and cleaned will not produce quality airbrush art.