There’s an old saying painters have about their paintbrushes “if you’re going to lunch, clean your brush-if you’re going to visit the port-o-john, don’t worry about it.” However, that saying really doesn’t apply to today’s paint. Older style oil-based paints often take forever to dry, but today’s latex paints dry in just a few hours and need to be cleaned from a brush quite often. I prefer to clean my paintbrush as soon as the paint wicks its way up to the ferrule (the metal part of the brush).
Latex Paint Clean Up Steps
Cleaning a basic synthetic brush of latex paint is a simple process. Put some fresh water in a bucket and swish the brush around until the brush is cleaned. Finish up by turning the brush bristle side up into a gentle stream of water to get any remaining paint residue out of the bristles. Once the water runs clear, you know you’ve got the brush completely clean. For more stubborn paint, I start with warm water and a little dish soap in the bucket. Don’t hesitate to use a little elbow grease either.
5 Tips for Perfect Exterior Painting
The next step after the brush is clean from paint is to dry it off. This is easily done by simply twisting the paintbrush rapidly back and forth between the palms of your hands. You know, just like spinning a troll doll to make its hair all crazy.
After the spin cycle, towel the brush off, reshaping the bristles into their original position. Use a wire paintbrush cleaner to help comb the bristles straight and smooth. Either place the paintbrush back into its original case, or wrap the paintbrush in a brown paper bag and store it in a cool dry place.
Oil-Based Paint Clean Up Steps
Nothing beats cleaning up oil-based paints better than paint thinner. I like to store mine in a tight sealing mason jar so that I can reuse it easily. Here’s how it’s done so you don’t mess up the bristles:
- · Open the jar, give the brush a good swishing and then suspend the brush into the thinner so that the bristles are submerged in the liquid, but don’t quite reach the bottom of the jar. In fact, keep the bristles off the bottom of the jar at least an inch. Suspend the brush using a wire and allow it to soak in the mixture overnight.
- · The next day, pull out the brush and give it a quick flick outdoors to remove any excess paint. A quick dip in another jar of fresh solvent will ensure the brush is nice and clean. Another quick flip and wipe off the brush with a cloth rag, shaping the bristles into their original position.
- · Now back to the first jar of solvents. The reason you need to keep the bristles off of the bottom of the jar is because all of the paint that comes off the paintbrush settles to the bottom of the jar-plus you don’t want to warp the bristles by having them sitting overnight bent against the bottom of the jar. Once you’ve got the brush clean and the old paint has settled to the bottom of the jar, siphon it out and reuse the now clean solvent for next time you need to clean the brush.
Tips for Painting Cabinets