Wuhu! You finished your painting. What beautiful artwork! But wait! Don’t forget about those wet paintbrushes that are laying on your work table. You need to clean those paintbrushes as soon as possible, otherwise, they will be ruined forever. Hang on! How to clean those paintbrushes properly? Want to know how? If yes, then here is the post for you. This post has a guide on how to clean paint brushes, even if the paint becomes dry.
To most, the easiest way to get through this is to buy a new painting brush. Perhaps you need to think about it. Think! Think! And Think! How many times will you be buying a new brush? Wouldn’t this cost you a lot of money? Who wants that? So, it is always better to follow the conventional method.
You can clean your brushes easily no matter if they are wet or dry. If your paint is wet, then it is simple, you need to follow a few steps and you are done. However, if your paintbrushes have become hard and you are thinking of buying new ones, then you can use something that is next to you. Yes! You can use various household elements like white Vinegar, Rubbing alcohol, acetone, and fabric softener.
Wait! These methods are not applicable for the mediums. It depends if you are using a water-based medium or an oil-based one. So, how to judge this? What are the steps that you need to follow? How much time do these methods take? You must be having such questions. But, You need not worry. Below you will find answers to all these questions, especially, when to use these methods and how. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
How To Clean Paint Brushes, If It Is Wet?
Are you also someone who leaves the painting brushes to rest on your work table for hours?
No need to lie! Even I am guilty of doing this.
But you need to stop this practice as soon as possible. This is because the paints like acrylics/ oil paints can ruin the quality of your paint brushes.
After you finish the painting, you need to clean your paint brush and for this, you will need:
- A lot of water
- Mild soap
- Solvent (depending upon the paint)
- Newspaper/ cotton cloth/ clean towel/ spinner.
If you are ready with these essentials, then you have to follow these steps:
Step 1: Wipe Off The Paint With Water
It might sound easy, but you need to know that keeping the paint brush under the tap water is not sufficient to clean the brush. You need to learn a few more things such as how to clean paint brushes thoroughly using water.
If you master this skill, then congratulations, as it can save you from spending money on buying a new one.
The debate of whether you need to buy a new brush or not also depends on the brush’s quality. So, invest in some good quality paintbrushes. If you are using good-quality brushes and still end up ruining your brushes, then you must know that it is not the brush’s quality that matters all the time. Sometimes, you might use the wrong type of brush for your painting.
Yes, it is true!
For instance, if you are working in an oil medium, you can use natural paintbrushes as their consistency will not be affected by the oil in the paint. However, if you are working with Latex, then polyester/ nylon/ synthetic brushes are the best.
But again, there is the same question, HOW TO CLEAN PAINT BRUSHES USING WATER?
For this, you need to know that it depends upon the type of brush, paint, and the brush’s resting time. So, it is important to clean the paint without letting it set on your brush. You can use a paper towel, cloth, a small piece of paper to wipe off the paint. However, if you are not able to get rid of paint even after using these elements, you can use the brush comb. It will comb out all the paint gently without harming the brush bristles.
To most people, this is the first and the last step. But it has a series of steps that you must follow if you want to know how to clean paint brushes.
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Step 2: Clean The Brush With Solvent
Yes, a solvent!
It is essential to clean your paint brushes with a solvent, even if you are unable to see any paint left on it. The solvent will eradicate all the unnecessary paint and contribute to the brush’s shelf life as well.
Wait! This doesn’t mean that you can use any solvent.
No, Not at all.
The type of solvent depends upon the type of paint used. If you are using acrylic or any other water-based paint, you can use mild dish soap. Even mild water will be sufficient for these paints.
Perhaps, if you are working in an oil-based medium, then an appropriate solvent will be needed. You can use turpentine or mineral spirits. In cases you use Shellac paints, you can remove the paint coating from your brushes by using alcohol. Dip the brush in the solvent and stir it for 10 to 30 mins.
Some of these tips might help you while working with the solvents:
- It is advised to use the solvent in a well-ventilated area so that you don’t end up suffocating yourself.
- Separate the solvent in a container in an amount that whole of the brush bristles can be submerged into it.
- Never ever dip your dirty brushes directly to the whole of the solvent.
- Do not let the brush sit in the solvent.
- Keep on stirring the brush for 30 minutes, then wipe it off using the walls of the container. Check if the whole of the paint comes out. If not, then repeat the same process, till your brush is clean.
Step 3: Rinse the Brush With Water
Nah! Do not let the solvent reside on the bristles for long. As soon as you clean your brush with the solvent, wash it out with mild lukewarm water.
If lukewarm water is not sufficient, then, you can use mild dish soap. Add a few drops of the soap into a bowl, add water and rinse your brush with it.
What if you wash your brush directly under the running tap water?
If this is the case, you need to be gentle towards your bristles. Hold the brush in a position that the bristles face downwards. This will prevent the water from entering into the ferrule. Thus, increasing the brush’s longevity.
If the paint does not rinse off easily you can use your fingertips or a piece of cloth to remove the bristles. To avoid any consequences it is advised to use a cloth instead of using the bare fingers as the solvent can be harmful to your skin.
Sometimes, you might not feel satisfied with the results and want to use your fingers. In such a case, you can make sure that the whole solvent is removed from the brush.
Now, add some lukewarm water into the bowl and rinse off the remaining soap from the brush.
Moreover, you need to be cautious about the water’s temperature. While cleaning the brush you need to keep in mind that you do not use hot water in place of the lukewarm water. It is because using hot water can expand the ferrule part of the brush which might become the reason for falling out of the bristles in the longer run.
Step 4: Dry And Store The Brush
Cleaning the brush is not the only step that you need to follow to make your brushes feel new all the time.
This means that your task is not over now!
You need to follow a couple of things to make it dry. In case you have a bulk of brushes, you can shake them above a paint Pail or in a cardboard box vigorously. This will dry off all the water from the bristles. Well, it seems to be a very energetic process. However, there are some brush spinners that can do the work for you without demanding effort.
After spinning and shaking, you can blot the brush on a clean towel or a newspaper. This will soak all the moisture leaving a dry and fluffy brush.
Now, you need to store your brushes in a dry place. But, it doesn’t mean that you can place your brushes in any position.
No! Not at all.
Instead, you need to be very careful with the placement. If you are storing your brushes in a holder, you need to make sure that the bristles point upwards so that your bristles do not bend. You can also lay it flat over a pile of tissue or cotton cloth in a box.
Wuhu! You are done rescuing your brush from being damaged.
But you need to know that this process can take up to 2 hours or more, depending upon the type of paint and the brush.
Well, this was the method to clean the paint brushes, if it is wet, but how to clean the paint brushes, if the paint becomes hard? Let’s see about this as well.
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How To Clean Paint Brushes, If The Paint Becomes Hard?
Oh My God! This is one thing that I have searched a lot on the internet because I always end up drying my paint brushes.
Well, this is the result of laziness after finishing an art piece. But, you need to know that this is not less than a challenge to get rid of the dried paint from the brush bristles. But, it doesn’t mean that it is impossible. Yes, it is not an easy job and requires you to put in some effort, but in the end, you will be happy to see your brush in a good state one again.
So, drop the idea of buying a new brush all the time and follow the below-mentioned methods. For this, you will need some material. These include:
- White Vinegar/ Apple cider vinegar
- Fabric Softener
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Mild soap
Get ready with this material and follow these methods on how to clean paint brushes using them:
How To Clean Paint Brushes Using White Vinegar?
If you are searching for the easiest method to remove the paint from your paint brushes, then you can use White vinegar. However, it takes a little longer, but it is worth your time. Not only the white vinegar, you can also use the apple cider vinegar, but try this method, only if you can withstand the nasty smell.
To clean the paintbrush using Vinegar, you have to:
Step 1: Dip The Brush In Vinegar
Yes, you read it right, the Vinegar, Vinegar has a small number of acidic properties. This acidity of the Vinegar helps in breaking the paint into smaller particles, resulting in loose paint.
So, take vinegar into a container and dip your hard brush into it. Let it sit there for an hour. Then, check the bristles, if you feel the need to soak it again, then without thinking twice, soak it into the vinegar again for the next 1 hour.
However, if you are using apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar, you need to dip your hardened brush into it. Let it sit there undisturbed overnight Then, take it off and remove the remaining paint by rubbing it.
Step 2: Dry It Off
After this period, dry off the brush using a spinner or a clean towel. Repeat the same process until the whole paint comes off.
If you find the need, repeat both the processes again. At last, you need to store your brushes in a dry place. You can use a container or go for the box, as per your demand.
How To Clean Paint Brushes Using Fabric Softener ?
Frankly speaking, this is a more effective method on how to clean paint brushes than vinegar. To clean the paint brushes using a fabric softener, you can:
- Make a mixture of fabric softener with water in a ration of 1:32. Don’t get confused if you don’t know how to make it. Just take four cups of water in a container and add one-eighth cup of the fabric softener.
- Warm the water in a bucket and add the mixture to it.
- If possible, try removing the excess of the paint from the brush so that the fabric softener has to work on less paint.
- Now, add your hard brushes into the bucket and start swirling your brushes.
- Keep on swirling, until the whole of the paint begins to settle down at the bottom.
- Remove the brushes and rinse off the solution under tap water and dry it using a spinner. You can also blot it on paper or in a clean towel.
- Before completely drying the brush, reshape its bristles.
You need to know one thing, that both of these methods are applicable only if your brushes have water-based paint.
What if You have a hard paintbrush because of the oil-based paint? If this is the case, then you can use Rubbing alcohol or acetone.
How To Clean Paint Brushes Using Rubbing Alcohol?
Since oil paints are strong and do not get off easily from the canvas, you need to understand that it will do the same with the brushes. So, if you need to remove the oil paint from your brushes you will need a stronger medium like rubbing alcohol.
However, while doing this method of how to clean paint brushes, you should take proper precautions.
To clean your brushes from the oil paints using the rubbing alcohol, you have to,
- Separate the rubbing alcohol in a bowl/ container.
- Soak your hardened paint brushes into the rubbing alcohol and let it sit there for one to two hours. It may take a longer time sometimes depending upon the paint saturation.
- After a few hours, scrub or swirl the paint brushes. The bristles should touch the bottom of the container. You can rub it a little, if the paint doesn’t come off easily.
- Then, take it off.
- Dry off the brush using a clean towel or newspaper. Dry it completely and store it safely.
How To Clean Paint Brushes Using Acetone?
Still, want to know how to clean paint brushes?
Just like rubbing alcohol, you can use Acetone. It works brilliantly if you want to remove hard oil-based paints from the brushes. However, you need to bear its strong smell.
To do this, you have to:
- Dip your hard paint brushes in the container with the acetone.
- Let it sit there for some time so that it soaks the acetone without any disturbance.
- Make the brush leave its paint by swirling it continuously inside the container.
- Dry off the paintbrush.
- If you feel the need, you can repeat the process.
So these were the possible solutions on how to clean the paint brushes if they are wet or if they have become hard. However, you need to follow some precautions, like, wearing gloves, not using hot water, being careful while using the solvents, and other basic ones.
Yes, you can get rid of all that paint from your brushes, this doesn’t mean that you can remain a careless person forever. All these methods can decrease the shelf life of your brushes, so it is necessary that you keep on washing your brushes or dip them in water till your painting ends. As soon as you end up painting, you should clean your tools, either it is your brushes or the color palette.
It is important.
Now, it’s your turn, use these methods of how to clean paint brushes and get rid of all the unwanted paint. But, don’t forget to tell us in the comment section which How To Clean Paint Brushes method worked for you.
People have also asked:
Q. Can you use a wire brush to clean a paintbrush?
No. Never do this!
Though a wire brush will remove the dried paint from your brushes, you need to know that it can ruin your brush as well.
While you use the wire brush to remove the paint from the Brush, it will split the bristles’ tip as well. Thus, ruining your paint brush. Whenever you try to paint with such a brush, it will result in uneven spreading of color over the sheet.
Do you want that to happen?
So, never use a wire brush.
Q. Can you save your paint brush from getting ruined by placing it inside a refrigerator?
You must know that lower temperatures can decrease the drying process, but this method will not work for you. Since refrigerators have low temperatures it can increase the hardening of the paint on the outer surface, reasoning your paint brushes.
Not only this but you must be aware of the fact that these paints carry some elements that have a stinking smell. So, if you place these paint brushes inside a refrigerator it will destroy the inner environment. Also, the smell can affect the other food items in the refrigerator.
Q. How can you clean a paint roller if it is dried?
You need to worry, all the above methods work the same for a roller. You can use rubber alcohol or acetone if the dried paint is of an oil medium. While, on the other hand, if you are using a water-based medium, then you can use anything from the fabric softener or the vinegar.
Q. Can you prevent a roller from drying overnight?
It is completely understood that you do not want to waste your paint if you have to repeat the painting the next day.
Well, it is possible.
Yes, and it is simple too. For this, you have to wrap your roller in an aluminum sheet and then, you have to wrap it up in a plastic bag. Once done with the covering, put the roll in a cool and dry place like a refrigerator. But, you need to know that it will cause a lot of smell. So, your food items can be destroyed.
This is its major drawback.