How to Clean Paint Brush

How to Clean Paint Brush – Easy Way

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When it comes to painting, quality matters, yet quality paintbrushes don’t come cheap. It’s wasteful to invest so much money in many brushes. Reusing them is an acceptable alternative. Cleaning and storing paint brushes properly is essential for their usage. So, you must know how to clean paint brush properly.

The longevity of a paintbrush is directly proportional to how well you care for it. However, the process will vary depending on the type of paint you are using.

In this article, we will explain in detail how to remove any type of paint, whether it be oil-based, latex-based, or dried and hardened. Read on for the finest advice on cleaning paint brushes, whether you’re an expert painter art marker or just intend to do a little DIY work around the house.

Materials and Tools Required to Clean Paint Brush

Preparation is the key to a successful accomplishment in any endeavor. This is also true in this scenario. You’ll need some helpful resources, materials, and equipment if you wish to clean your paintbrush after each usage. Take a look at the following for a few examples.

You’ll need a sink, an old bucket or other throwaway containers, some rags, some rubber gloves, a paintbrush comb, and a paintbrush spinner to get started. Second, you’ll want to stock up on basic cleaning supplies like paint thinner, mineral spirits, turpentine, dish soap, and newspaper.

What Type of Solvent to Use to Clean the Paintbrush?

If you are familiar with the proper solvent for cleaning paintbrushes, you will have no trouble doing so. You’ll need to identify the paint as either oil-based, water-based, or latex before proceeding. 

Cleaning a paintbrush typically requires the use of a solvent. Be cautious when working with the solvent, though. Wear safety gear and make sure the location is adequately ventilated. The solvent is dangerous to work with in the presence of fire, electricity, or children.

you should know the solvent required by each paint to clean the paintbrush. You can clean up latex paint with dish soap and hot water. In the case of latex paint, you need not resort to using hazardous materials for cleanup. However, you may need mineral spirits (sometimes called white spirits), paint thinner, or turpentine to clean oil-based paint.

How to Clean Paint Brush?

Buying high-quality paintbrushes are pointless if you don’t take the time to properly clean and store them after each usage. To help you keep your paintbrushes in tip-top shape, we’ve laid out the process for you below. You can use this technique to clean your brushes while the paint remains wet, right after you’ve finished painting.

1.Scrape off Excess Paint

It is important, to begin with, this step because it will make the rest of the cleaning process a lot easier. If you have too much paint on your brush, just use it all up on your project.

It is possible to return unused paint to its container by scraping it off. Just scrape it along the edge and drop it in. Finally, use the newspaper or a blank sheet of paper to wipe the brush to remove any remaining paint.

2. Rinse the Brush

Simply washing the brush under running water will be enough. Keep the paintbrush clean as you go by gently cleaning it with the dish brush. Remove any excess paint from the brush’s exterior, joint, and handle before using it again. You can use an outdoor hose to flush oil-based paint off of brushes before rinsing them in a basin. Usually, oil-based paint solvents can harm the basin directly.

3. Comb the Bristles

Some paint may still be buried in the bristles after following these instructions. This is an essential procedure and you should not skip it! It will aid in the thorough cleaning of your paintbrushes. You may get rid of any lingering paint by using a paintbrush comb or a fork to separate the bristles. While doing so, stream water through the brush to help wash away the loosened paint.

4. Dip the Brush in Solvent

It’s time for a thorough brush cleaning to get rid of any remaining paint and prevent any stains. A little bucket of warm water and some dish soap can be used for dishwashing. It’s important to use solvents only in a well-ventilated outside area while wearing protective gear. Put some turpentine or mineral spirit into a small container.

Use mineral spirits or turpentine to clean oil-based paint off of surfaces, and hot water and light dishwashing liquid to clean latex paint off of brushes.

Put the brush entirely into the cleaner and swirl for 10 seconds. Rub the bristles of the brush on the container and squeeze out any excess. By applying pressure while wearing gloves, you can get the paint out of the bristles.

5. Rinse the Brush in Water

Rinse the bristles of the brush again under warm water by returning to the faucet or sink you used previously. Just make sure the water in your bucket or jar is still clear by dipping your brush in it every so often. If so, your brush is clean. There is a possibility that you will need to repeat the following procedures if paint gets into the water.

6. Dry Them up

To keep your brushes in good condition after washing, drying them thoroughly is a must. Start by removing extra water from the brushes by shaking them. Remove excess water from the brushes by blotting them on a dry cloth. Allow the brushes to dry naturally by hanging them up or spreading them out on a flat surface.

7. Dispose of the Residue Carefully

When you’re done washing away oil-based paint, you’ll be left with a nasty bowl full of water and flaking paint. If you want to avoid having to clean the basin, you’ll need to leave it in a well-ventilated area for a few days because it won’t flush down the toilet. As the water evaporates, any loose paint or dust left behind can be disposed of now. You should use protective gloves and other gear while disposing of them.

How to Clean Paint Brush with Paint Thinner?

We’ll need to have a talk about the specific details before you begin the procedure. If the paint is still wet, you can follow along. If it dries, paint thinner might not be enough to remove it. The paint must be relatively new for paint thinner to be effective. Let’s break into steps now. The first step is to fill a bucket with paint thinner until it is two-thirds full.

1. Dip the Paintbrush into Paint Thinner 

Don’t allow the bristles of the paintbrush to touch the bottom of the paint thinner or they will be ruined. If you let the bristles of your paintbrush sit in water, they’ll curl, making painting a more time-consuming chore.

2. Move the Brush around in a Circular Motion

Once that’s done, spend 30 seconds swirling the brush around in the thinner. If you feel that the bristles aren’t doing their job, try pressing them on the edge of the can. Use a light-twisting motion to move the brush to the side. In this manner, the bristles cross-pollinate with one another. It’s a great method for safely stripping off further layers of paint.

3. Rub the Brush with a Comb

Remove the paint from the brush by wiping it with a clean cloth. Unfortunately, we still have some cleaning to do. There will be paint splotches on the rag from the paintbrush. As a second step, use a paintbrush comb to clean the brush rather than paper towels. Depending on the quality of the paintbrush, using a metal comb on it may cause more harm than good. That being the case, a bristle brush will do just fine.

4. Re-wet the Brush in the Thinner 

Next, fill a second container halfway filled with paint thinner. The next step is to dip the paintbrush into the container. To get into the spaces between the bristles, just press it up against the container’s walls. You should spend 30 seconds doing this.

5. Wash the Paintbrush with Soapy Water

To finish, fill the third container with warm soapy water until about halfway. Use the soapy water to swish the paintbrush around. Brush the brushes against the container’s side once more. Just give the paintbrush a good twist and the bristles will clean themselves.

6. Dry Your Brushes By Hanging Them Up

Once the 30 seconds are up, you should clean the brush with a dry towel. Re-soap it if it still leaves paint stains. If that’s not the case, then you should let it dry. Mount it via the hook. At this point, there shouldn’t be any paint on the paintbrush. If there is acrylic paint left on the paintbrush, then you will need more than just paint thinner to clean it.

How to Clean Paint Brush with Mineral Spirits?

Brushes maintained with mineral spirits have a much longer lifespan. Mineral spirits are a kind of cleaning solvent that has a wide variety of applications, including the proper cleaning of paint brushes. 

Mineral spirits, in their cruder form, are what is known as paint thinner. It has a stronger odor and is more flammable because it contains additional solvents. It is true that mineral spirits do not have the same odor. Compared to paint lacquer thinner, it is more efficient in lesser doses due to its higher level of refinement.

Mineral spirits function similarly to paint thinner in this technique. Brushes can be cleaned using paint thinners or mineral spirits, both of which are safe for the handles, shanks, and glues keeping the bristles together after usage.

If the paint is still humid on the brush, you can put it in a small container of mineral spirits and submerge the bristles for a few minutes. The swooshing of the brush, which is still in the solvent, thins the paint inside the bristles. When the brush is pulled out, it is ready to be wiped clean with a rag.

If the bristles of your brush still look dirty after you’ve cleaned them in the solvent, keep dipping them in until the solvent has done its job. Once the bristles are clean, they won’t get stiff when they dry. This means the brush is reusable. However, brushes with dried paint in the bristles will need to be soaked in solvent for considerably longer than usual.

Never put oil paints or paint thinners down the drain or into the sewage system. It’s best to let the solvent evaporate by leaving the bottle open in a well-ventilated area. It’s applicable to both cases of paint thinner and mineral spirit.

How to Clean Latex Paint Brush?

As you know, latex paint is water-based, it is possible to wash it off of your brush before it dries using a little bit of dish soap and water. You can use a solvent-based brush cleanser to remove dried latex paint from a brush.

Like other water-based paints, this one is easy to clean. Earlier, we talked about what methods work best for cleaning water-based paint. Cleaning a latex paintbrush is as simple as following those instructions. Here, however, is a condensed version of the steps involved.

You should start by rounding up the equipment you’ll need, which may include a can of paint, a used paintbrush, a wire comb, hand gloves, and an empty can of paint. Then, do a series of back-and-forth strokes with the brush on the edge of the empty paint can. So, you won’t have to worry about wasting paint because the extra will have dripped off the brush. 

Then, thoroughly clean the brush by rinsing it under warm running water with the bristles spread apart. Then, you can use a wire paintbrush comb and some running water to get rid of the leftover paint. Rinse the brush thoroughly until the water is completely clean. 

In the end, squeeze the brush in your hand to remove any remaining moisture, and set it aside to dry. All the paint has been removed, and it’s ready for new use and coloring.

How to Clean a Hard Paintbrush?

Even though we knew we should, there were instances when we just couldn’t clean the brush right after using it. So the consequence is the paintbrush that is now hard. If the paint dries and becomes difficult to remove, cleaning it will also be a chore. Let’s look at how to clean a stiff paintbrush.

Step one is to get a disposable metal baking pan and put the paintbrush in it. In that case, you’ll want to get some hot vinegar. To do this, place a pot of vinegar on the stove and get it to a temperature where it is almost boiling. Then, put the brush in the pan and pour the steamy vinegar over it. Then, you should soak the brush for at least ten minutes. To get rid of the pliable paint, use a paintbrush comb or a wire brush. 

When you’re done, give the brush a good washing in some soapy warm water, and then a final rinse in clean water. Finally, dry the brush by laying it flat or hanging it up. This is how you can clean hard paint: initially, you’ll need to soften it. However, unlike other forms of cleaning, this one takes a considerable amount of time.

How to Store Paint Brushes after Cleaning?

You should now have a good idea of how to properly clean a paintbrush. In any case, you need to know how to store the paintbrush properly after cleaning it if you want to use it for a long time, if not forever.

1. Storing the Paint Brush for a Shorter Time

Sometimes, you may not need to use the paintbrush right away, but rather after a couple of hours. If this is the case, you can keep the bristles on the bottom third of the brush dipped in the paint. Hard storage is unnecessary for a brief period of time. Preventing bristles from hardening is the determining factor here.

However, if you have a day between tasks, you should take steps to keep the bristles from becoming too stiff. You don’t have to wash your paintbrushes thoroughly in the course of an ongoing painting activity if you want to use them the next day. Wrap the brush handle in plastic wrap or seal it in a plastic bag to keep paintbrushes from drying out. Masking tape around the handle and a cold, dry location will keep it usable for two days.

2. Storing the Paintbrush for a Longer Time

Make sure the brushes are completely dry before storing them for an extended period of time, such as after cleaning and before packing them away. Use a comb or fork to reshape the bristles. The brushes should then be hung vertically, bristles down. It keeps the bristles from laying flat and becoming unusable while in storage. To implement this tip, all you need is a brush rack.

It’s also possible to store the brushes in a canvas purse with extra padding over the bristles. There are protections on most paintbrushes. It’s simple to make a replacement out of cardboard and tape if you lose yours.

Alternatively, we suggest soaking brushes in Turpentine after cleaning them of oil paint. The bristles retain their shape after being wrapped and sealed in plastic. When you take a freshly wrapped brush out of the box and use it, you’ll think it’s brand new.


For further clarification, take a look at the following commonly asked questions. Check these out.

Should I Wash My Paintbrush after Every Use?

Whatever media you want to work in, keeping your brush clean is essential for its continued use. It’s important to keep the bristles wet at all times. It is important to clean the brushes after each usage as well as before starting a fresh color.

Can a Paintbrush Last Years?

You can get several years of use out of a high-quality paintbrush, while a cheap one might only last you a few days. To ensure the brushes last as long as possible, it is essential that they are stored cleanly and in a dry place. Then your brush will last as long as possible.

When to Replace a Paint Brush?

You may extend the life of a paintbrush by keeping it clean and dry, but it still may need to be replaced after a while. If you notice that the bristles on your brush are shedding or molting, or if your round brushes or rigger brushes have lost their point, it is time to replace that brush.

If you’ve cleaned your brushes multiple times and they still won’t return to their previous shape, it’s probably time to invest in some new ones. it may be time to purchase new brushes if you have a broken brush handle, find it difficult to clean the brush, or the bristles no longer return to their previous shape.

Can You Use the Paintbrush Immediately after Cleaning?

When you use a wet paintbrush for paint, you risk diluting latex paint or making oil-based paint impossible to apply. That’s going to have consequences for your work. That’s why it’s best to hold off until the paintbrush is completely dry.

What to Do with Paintbrushes between Coats?

Wrap the paintbrush in plastic wrap if you plan on using it again the same day while you wait the required amount of time for the coat to dry. Secure the plastic wrap in place by wrapping it in masking tape. Brushes should be stored in a cool, dark place away from any sources of heat.


Whether you’re a professional painter or just planning a DIY paint job, you probably don’t want to waste money buying multiple brushes for the job. To save money, it makes sense to utilize the same brush for multiple colors. To achieve this result, you need to know how to clean paint brushes properly and store them.

This post covered the entire procedure of cleaning and storing a paintbrush, whether you use a well-based or latex paint. We trust that you will now feel confident in your ability to clean a paintbrush after reading this post.

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