3 Ways to Clean Paint Brushes Correctly

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Taking proper care of your paint brushes represents an important aspect for anyone who wants to get serious about painting. It doesn’t matter if you’re an artist or DIYer, keeping the paint brushes clean is critical to any painting process. Neglected dirty brushes can become seriously damaged or even unusable for painting. If you want to avoid the issues created by dried bristles and rigid fibers, it’s essential to learn how to clean paint brushes correctly. Incorrect methods might affect paint jobs and introduce discolorations.

Here are the best ways to correctly keep your paint brushes clean:

1. With Solvent

Solvents are reliable cleaners for paint brushes but they can be pretty strong so it’s recommended to be careful when working with them. Always ensure that you’re cleaning brushes with a solvent in properly ventilated areas. Before you open the solvent to clean, make sure that your dirty paint brush is wiped on multiple paper towels. Removing excess paint will simplify the cleaning process.

Depending on the type of paint you’re using, you will have to use a specific solvent that’s designed for that kind of paint. If you’re unsure what solvent to use, take a look at the paint’s label because it usually specifies the recommended solvent for cleaning. Put the solvent in a bowl where the paint brush can be easily rinsed. There’s no need to apply too much force in the process. Just run the brush gently through the solvent container. Consider this low odor solvent on Amazon.

2. With Dish Soap

Dish soap works very well for cleaning paint brushes. Similar to other cleaning methods, get rid of as much paint as possible from the brush by wiping it on a rag or paper towel. Create a soapy water bath in the sink that can be used to remove all paint traces from the brush. Alternatively, the dish soap can be added directly to the brush by squeezing a bit into your hand and then swooshing the brush in your palm. Don’t forget to rinse the brush in soap-free water. The dish soap method is most effective for oil paints.

3. With Vinegar

While the cleaning methods discussed so far work nicely for paint brushes that have just been used, what do you do if you’re dealing with hardened paint on your brush? The solution comes from using vinegar. You need to let the dirty paint brush sit in a white vinegar bowl for around an hour or until the bristles start to soften. A good soak in vinegar should make it easy to clean even the most stubborn hardened paint.

If you’re not satisfied with the cleaning effect after two hours of soaking in vinegar, put the brush in a pot of vinegar and bring it to a boil. Keep the bristles properly submerged in the boiling vinegar for a few minutes. After you get the brush out and wait for it to become cooler, you should comb the bristles to fully remove all bits of loosened paint. Finally, rinse the paint brush in water to finish off the cleaning job.

How Often is Cleaning Required for Paint Brushes?

If you’ve managed to clean your paint brushes as quickly as possible after use, you can avoid the hassle of removing drying paint. Not cleaning the brush early can damage the bristles but you might also experience problems with other components of the tool. Regular maintenance is important to increase the lifespan of your paint brushes.

Cleaning the paint brush more often is particularly recommended when switching colors or if you wish to use a different type of paint. Preventing a difficult paint brush cleaning job is quite easy. Remember to never leave the brush unattended for too long when it’s fully soaked in paint. If you don’t have the time to deal with the cleaning chore after finishing your painting project, consider putting the paint brush in a sealed bag in the fridge until you can clean it.


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