How to Properly Clean Your Paint Brushes

September 28, 2018 3 min read

A person's hand holding a paint brush under water.

When it comes to painting projects, people often spend so much time thinking about and planning the project itself that they forget about everything that needs to come afterwards. Once the paint is on the walls and the furniture is back in place, your paint brushes need to be cleaned so that they’ll be ready for use on your next project. The way you go about cleaning your paint brushes depends upon the type of paint you used, so read on to learn more about how to properly clean your paint brushes and keep them in the best condition possible!

Cleaning Latex Paint

If your paint brushes are covered in latex paint, you’ll be able to use one of the easier cleaning methods to get them looking brand new. All you need to properly clean latex paint off of your brushes is soap and water! Latex paint is water-based, but be sure to get your cleaning started before the paint dries on the brush. First, scrape any excess paint off the brush on the rim of the can. Then, you can either soak the brush in a bucket of warm, soapy water or rinse it in warm running water. Work through the bristles with your hand and a brush comb to remove the remaining paint. Rinse the brush in clean water (spinning it around in the water will help ensure that all of the paint is cleaned off), and then tap out the excess moisture so the brush dries fully.

Cleaning Oil-Based Paint

The process for cleaning oil-based paint off a paint brush is similar to the process for latex paint, but for oil-based paint, soapy water won’t be enough. You’ll need to use paint thinner, dipping and swirling the brush around while working through the bristles to ensure that all of the paint is removed. You will need more than one bucket of paint thinner, because the only way to get the brush clean is to rinse it in a clean solvent. To finish the process, you can spin the brush in another container of paint thinner, and remove excess thinner from the brushes by squeezing and blotting them.

Cleaning Shellac-Based Paint

Shellac varnishes and paints won’t come out of a brush with soapy water or paint thinner, so you will have to use a different solution to get them clean. Ammonia household cleaners work well for this, and you should mix the ammonia with warm water before beginning to clean your brushes. Soak the brush in the solution while working through the bristles to remove the paint, and repeat this process as many times as it takes for all the shellac to dissolve out of the brush. You can then rinse the brush in lukewarm water, and as with all of the other cleaning methods, spin the brush to dry it and remove any leftover particles.

Cleaning Dried Paint

You won’t always remember to clean your brushes immediately after finishing a painting project, but brushes holding dried and hardened paint are not a lost cause. More specific cleaning methods will depend upon the type of paint dried into the brush. But for a general fix, soaking your brush in a fabric softener/water mixture or in a jar of boiled vinegar is a great way to remove old paint. Rinse the brush and comb through the bristles to remove any remaining paint, and you won’t have to buy new brushes for your next project.

Paint and Paint Supplies in PA

No matter what type of painting project you’re planning, Gleco Paint has everything you need to make it a success! From paints and stains to applicators and equipment, Gleco Paint is your one-stop shop for paint and supplies in Pennsylvania. We are also proud to offer color consultations, top-quality wallpaper selections, and window coverings so that you can find everything you need to enhance your home. Contact us today or visit a location near you to browse our products and learn more about everything we have to offer! We can’t wait to work with you to make your next painting project easier.



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