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How To Clean a Paint Brush

Properly cleaning a quality paint brush will allow it to last through many projects. It takes time to clean a brush, because it must be done thoroughly. Cheap brushes are probably not worth the trouble and could be thrown away.

Brushes should be cleaned promptly after each use. If you are taking a break, hang the brush with the bristles half way submerged in a can of paint, to prevent drying. When storing a brush, hang it up by the handle and wrap the bristles in the original wrapper or some brown paper.

Latex Paint

  • Some communities have banned washing brushes in the sink or gutter. Check with your local authorities before cleaning brushes.
  • Start by removing as much paint as possible by brushing it onto a newspaper.
  • Hold the brush under warm water, turning it over, until the water runs clear.
  • Stubborn dried paint can be combed out with a brush comb or even a basic plastic pocket comb.
  • Wash the brush with warm water and liquid dish soap.
  • Rinse out the soap with warm water.
  • Slap the metal ferrule against the palm of your hand to shake out excess water.
  • Blot the bristles with paper towels to remove remaining moisture.
  • Cover the bristles with the original package or with brown paper and hang the brush by the handle.

Oil Paint

  • You can't dump paint thinner, so you will need three cans with paint thinner to clean in stages. Fill each can deep enough to cover the bristles.
  • Start by removing as much paint as possible by brushing it onto a newspaper.
  • Swirl, lift and dip the brush in the first of thinner. For brushes with dried paint use brush cleaner in the first can instead of thinner.
  • Paint out as much thinner as possible onto a newspaper.
  • Move to the second can of thinner and repeat the previous steps.
  • Move to the third can of thinner and repeat the steps.
  • Stubborn dried paint can be combed out with a brush comb or even a basic plastic pocket comb.
  • Slap the metal ferrule against the palm of your hand to shake out excess thinner.
  • Blot the bristles with paper towels to remove remaining moisture.
  • Cover the bristles with the original package or with brown paper and hang the brush by the handle.
  • Let the solids settle in the three cans and then pour off the thinner for reuse. Allow the solids to dry and then away in an approved manner.




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