Cleaning Paint Brushes

17 responses

  1. Scarlett
    October 18, 2012

    My name is Scarlett Ferrigno, I am a high school student in Texas. I read one of your Q&A's and used your website as a resource for a project I am going to create as my senior project. All I would like to know is if there is a phone number I can contact you with to write down as part of my assignment. The number will not be destributed to anyone and I will use your email rather than your adress as your contact. I know I do not have any credibility with you but it would benefit a high school student if you are willing to help me out. Please?

    • Tim Carter
      January 6, 2013

      Scarlett, yes, there's a phone number at my shopping cart. Read this: your question requires lots of typing, plus I have some questions for you so I can give you the correct answer(s). I only do pithy answers here in the comment section. If you want to protect the investment you have in your house and not waste time or money *hoping* you make the right decision, you should talk to me on the phone for just 15 minutes. It'll be the best investment you've ever made in your home!

  2. kubic
    February 14, 2013

    After the final rinse, put some fabric softener on the bristles, work it in and rinse again. This will keep the bristles soft.

  3. Gail
    February 18, 2013

    I totally agree with the cleaning methods you descirbed above Tim and have several brushes that I've used for years... but what do you recommend to do with the water that I use to clean the brushes? I've been diluting with even more soap and water,.. Can I continue to safely pour down the drain?

    • Tim Carter
      February 24, 2013

      Pour it into a 5-gallon bucket of sand. Set bucket outside to dry in sun. Cover the bucket so rain doesn't fill it.

  4. andrew
    January 30, 2014

    The reality of any or every situation is the truth. Thus the term; The painful truth is made abundantly clear. I too have victimized my brushes through improper cleaning, and at times not cleaning them at all. You ask a question right, you get an answer that sounds like a politically correct response that always means the person has nothing. No real painter is as diligent as cleaning the tool that much. The chemical industry have made life somewhat bearable with their research and development. Used properly that can be helpful, used other than instructed, you're heading down disaster boulevard.
    I don't want to throw away my purdy brushes, name all the chemicals you like, trying to restore to like new might not happen. You spill your milk, sometimes mopping it up is about what can be done. Krud cutter is one product that could make it useable again, otherwise consider it like a tuition you paid for you future advancement. I hope you and I as well will take better care next time out...

  5. Mark J
    July 18, 2014

    Does this method also work for cleaning up after applying stains and polyurethane?

    • Tim Carter
      July 19, 2014

      So long if you use mineral spirits!

  6. Curtis
    August 25, 2014

    I just wanted to thank you Tim I am newly in remodel construction and I was ruining paint brushes left and right thinking I was cleaning them right. lol, after reading your article I have used the same brush about ten times now and it still looks and acts brand new, now I know ten times is not alot yet before I would ruin the brush after about three times. So thank you for your advice.

  7. Josie
    September 17, 2014

    Hi I wanted to know if there was any way to save my paint brushes! i use oil paint and i just rinse them off with turpentine in a few different washes and i thought that was enough to clean them. well after a dozen times using them, the bristles have gone so hard and they've lost the softness that i once loved. help! they were very expensive and id hate to have to buy more!!

    • Tim Carter
      September 18, 2014

      Suspend the brush in clean mineral spirits or paint thinner for days. Figure out how to keep the brush hanging in the jar or can of spirits so the bristles do NOT touch the bottom of the can / jar. You only want the liquid to be at the BOTTOM of the metal band that secures the bristles. After two or three days you should see paint at the bottom of the jar and the bristles should be come soft again. Then use the methods you see in my column and the VIDEO I shot about how to clean brushes. WATCH that video.

  8. alec Doyle
    October 10, 2014

    I use wooster pro brushes . and I really like the way they perform , but I used warm soapy. water on my trim brush and it was ruined . . my co. workers use the wooster pro chinex . Do ymwmu think the chinex are better for latex paints

    • Tim Carter
      October 15, 2014

      I've not used that brand.

      Did you follow the WRITTEN instructions on how to clean them?

  9. Chris Mason
    August 23, 2015

    Is there any way to remove the semi-soft and flakey latex paint that still remains in the interior of a professional brush that was used prior to reading your very good brush cleaning tips?

  10. Mel
    January 13, 2016

    I'm a painting teacher I use acrylics mostly but sometimes oils and gold leaf on personal projects - one day with gold leaf I didn't have paint thinner so I used wd40 and water and IT WORKED ! FYI4aDIY

  11. Rob Matthews
    July 9, 2016

    I have been a professional painter for a very long time. I am also a member of the IUPAT (International Union of Painters and Allied Trades) When using latex/water-based paints,use COOL water and a stainless steel,wire brush. Keep a constant flow of water on the ferrule allowing it to run downward and toward the ends of the bristles. Use the wire brush in a downward motion and brush the paint in the same direction as the water flow. Repeat this process until the water runs free of paint. Take the paint brush by the handle and smack the narrow side of the brush (bristles toward the ground) against the toe of your boot several times until water ceases to eject from the brush. Return the brush to its cover or use cellophane to hold the bristles in the desired form and wrap snugly with tape to retain original shape. This is how professional painters have done it for centuries and your brushes will last for years

  12. Wally D.
    July 26, 2016

    Hi, Thanks for that, but could anyone advise on how to properly clean the paint brush handle without damaging the wood?? Thanks

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