How to Thoroughly Clean a Paint Brush

When you’re tired at the end of a pMan painting newspaperroject, clean-up can feel like a real chore. It’s tempting to give your paint brush a good rinse and go rest up. But, the next time you go for that brush, you may be discouraged that it's not usable. 

Spending a few extra minutes and knowing how to clean your paint brush properly can help save you money and aggravation in the future. 

Why is it important to clean a paint brush? 

If you want to get a good paint job, well, you’ve got to use a high-quality paint brush. And if you’re going to spend a fair amount of money on a brush, you want to make sure it lasts as long as possible, and the key to that is making sure you clean it well after every use. 

Is there a right way to clean a paint brush?

man cleaning paint brushTo clean a paint brush thoroughly, you want to make sure the paint is fully removed. Begin by dragging the brush across the edge of the container. This will squeeze out most of the excess paint in the bristles. 

Next, wipe the brush on several sheets of old newspaper to work out any paint that remains. This trick works the bristles to rid as much paint as possible.  

How do I clean a paint brush from water-based paints?Man pouring laundry detergent

  1. The same principle applies for water-based paints - you want to get all the paint off. To do that, the trick is likely hiding in your laundry room! 
  2. Pour a half cup of fabric softener into two gallons of warm water. Let the brush soak in the softener for several minutes until the paint coagulates and begins separating from the bristles.
  3. A plastic scrubbing pad does a good job of removing Man using paint brush combpaint from the ferrel and handle. 
  4. Use a paint brush comb and dislodge any paint from the base of the bristles. When the brush is thoroughly dry, clean it with a cloth or paper towel. There’s no need to rinse. Now, the next time you’re ready to paint, your brush will be clean and supple.

How should I store my paint brush?

To store the paint brush, lay it on the top of a glossy magazine page, fold the paper around the brush, and tape it closed. 

Do I need to clean the brush more than once during a paint job?

Man storing paint brushIf you’re doing a really large paint job that will take a while, it’s a good idea to stop every couple of hours and clean your brush. Then, of course, clean it thoroughly at the end. 

Use this method each time and the next time you go to pick out that paint brush you’ll find that it’s as good as new.

If you’re using more than just a paint brush for your job, you may want to read my tips on how to keep a paint roller from drying out

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