As a DIYer or a professional, you must be well aware of the frustration that comes with finding your favorite paintbrush sitting with its bristles rigid when you need it the most. Consequently, you may have to invest in a new paintbrush. However, you can avoid that altogether by properly cleaning your paintbrushes after finishing a job.
So, basically, to clean your paintbrush, you start off by wiping the extra paint off it. You, then, rinse the brush in the appropriate solution (depending on the type of paint you’re dealing with), wash it with warm water and then allow it to dry.
Before we get down to the details involved in cleaning a paintbrush, we will get you up to speed with some of the crucial things that you could do throughout your painting job to make the cleaning process a whole lot easier and efficient!
Choosing a Top-Quality Paint Brush
For any painting job at hand, you should not only look for a paintbrush that is suitable for the job, but also ensure that it is of superior quality.
Although a bit expensive, a top-grade paintbrush ends up paying for itself when it comes to its preservation. On top of that, you are likely to be more motivated for keeping it clean than you would be in the case of a cheaper, low-quality brush.
Avoid Overloading Your Paint Brush
If you want a smooth functioning paintbrush, whose bristles move in any direction that you want and that is easy to clean, you should never load it more than about a third or halfway into the paint!
When you dip your paintbrush deeper than that, what happens is that its base also gets loaded, and cleaning that paint fully out to the brush is quite hard. Over time, this paint hardens the bristles and makes the brush practically unusable.
On the contrary, if you follow our instructions, you’ll find that your paintbrush not only works well but also clean a lot easier!
Appropriate Storage Between Painting Sessions
Oftentimes, you won’t complete a job in one go. Ergo, before you leave the workspace after a painting session, make sure to store it properly. Otherwise, you’ll find it hard and gross as you come to paint in the next to go.
So, your best bet is to wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in a refrigerator. You could also buy a plastic paintbrush cover as an alternative for the plastic wrap but it isn’t really necessary.
Anyhow, your paintbrush will remain good and dry in the refrigerator for multiple days. Moreover, once you’re ready to restart, you can simply pick the brush and just start from where you left off!
How to Clean Paint Brushes – Cleaning Oil, Water-Based, Acrylic Paint, and More!
Once you are done and dusted with your painting task, it’s time to sort out the mess and that includes cleaning your paintbrush. Whether you used oil paint, latex/water-based paint, or acrylic paint, follow the steps below to have your paintbrush as good as new!
Required Materials and Tools
- Mineral Spirits or Turpentine
- Acetone or Alcohol
- Mild Liquid Dish Soap
- A Paper Towel or Dishtowel
- A Newspaper or Clean Rag
Step 1: Deal with the Excess Paint
The First and foremost thing that you should do is to wipe the extra paint off your brush. You can do so at the edge of the paint can.
However, since this excess paint contains dust and dried bits of paint, if you want your remaining paint to stay pitch-perfect, just use a plastic cup or a paint pail (if you’re using one) instead.
Step 2: Rinse the Brush with an Appropriate Solution
Next, depending on the type of paint you’ve got on your paintbrush, prepare an appropriate solution. For water-based/latex paint, mix hot water with mild liquid dish soap; for oil paint, use mineral spirits or turpentine; for acrylic paint, use acetone or alcohol (Isopropyl or ethyl).
Anyway, once you’ve prepared the required solution, dip your paintbrush in it, run your fingers through its bristles, and rinse the excess paint off it.
Note that if you are using a rinsing your brush in a sink (in case of latex paint), make sure the bristles are directed in the downward direction as you rinse. This is because if the bristles are facing up, there is a good chance that you’ll end with rigid bristles.
Step 3: Wash the Brush in Warm Water
Depending on the type of paint you are dealing with, whatever solvent you used, once it has removed all the paint from your brush, wash it in warm water. Doing so will drain away from the solvent’s remainder from the brush as well as any remaining bits of excess paint.
Step 4: Remove Excess Water from the Brush
This is probably the most commonly neglected step in the cleaning of paintbrushes and one that is vital in the drying of your brush. If you proceed to dry your brush without implementing it, you may find your brush in a miserable state after a few hours.
So, after washing your brush in warm water, run your fingers over its bristles a few times to yank off the excess water.
With that being done, wrap a paper towel or a dishtowel around the bristles of the brush, and gently squeeze, mainly at the base of the brush, to push out any remaining water.
Step 5: Allow Your Brush to Dry
For the fifth and final step, just leave your brush in a well-ventilated area and allow it to dry. Alternatively, you could also use a newspaper or a clean rag to blot your paintbrush dry.
It is also worth mentioning that you combine the final two steps of the cleaning process by using a roller spinner, especially if you have got plenty of painting jobs at hand and you need to better preserve your paintbrushes.
Anyhow, once your paintbrush fully dries out, put it back in your storage facility. Be sure that you either hang it up or lay it flat so that the bristles remain in good shape.
How to Clean Dried Paint Brushes?
As surprising as it may sound, the fully dried-out paintbrush in your storage bin could still be saved. Here are a few methods you can deploy to make it useful once again.
- Prepare a solution using a small amount of fabric softener and water. Immerse the brush in the solution and swirl it around. Then, wash and clean as instructed above.
- Soak your paintbrush in heated white vinegar for about 30 minutes before pulling it out. Then wash and dry as normal.
- Immerse your paintbrush in plain apple cider vinegar overnight. In the morning, wash and dry as usual.
- Prepare a solution of powdered tide detergent and water. Soak your paintbrush in it for a few minutes. Then, you know the drill – wash and dry!
- Lastly, if none of the aforementioned methods work for you, you can resort to a paintbrush cleaner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Leave Paint Brushes in Water Overnight?
No, you shouldn’t. During a painting session, while keeping a paintbrush soaked in the water prevents it from drying, doing the same thing overnight can irreversibly damage it.
Is It Ok to Wash the Paint Brushes in Sink?
Yes, it is, as the sink cleans up just fine afterward.
Simply put, cleaning paintbrushes is pretty straightforward. Essentially, you just need to stick to a few steps. These include getting rid of the excess paint from the paintbrush, followed by the immersion of the brush in an appropriate solvent, and finally, washing and drying it.
Apart from that, there are also a few guidelines mentioned in this guide that you can keep in mind, before and during your painting job, in order to achieve better results for the cleaning process.