Top Tips For Cleaning Paintbrushes

Whether you’re using cheap or expensive paintbrushes, they’re still an investment and they should be taken care of. They won’t remain in perfect working condition forever, but you can make them last longer by taking good care of them and especially by cleaning them after every painting session. It’s easy to do – just follow these few tips and you’ll end each painting session with (hopefully) a lot of good work done and some nice, clean paintbrushes.

Rinsing water-based paints out

If you’ve been using water-based paints, all you need is a container, some water and some soap/washing-up liquid. Simply place your paintbrush in a container. Fill the container with warm water so all the bristles are completely submerged. Add a little bit of soap or washing-up liquid and swirl the brush about a bit. Take the brush out, empty the water out of the container then refill it with warm water and repeat the other steps. Keep doing this until the brush is clean.

Rinsing oil-based paints out

If you’ve been using oil-based paints, you’ll need a container and a solvent to clean your brush with. It should say on the paint tube or can what solvent is best to clean the paint off with, so go with that. Oil and turpentine are good at cleaning oil-based paints off brushes. Simply fill the container with whatever solvent you’ve chosen and completely submerge all the bristles. Swirl the brush round a few times, take it out then empty the container. Refill it and repeat the other steps. Keep doing this until the brush is clean.

Getting rid of paint and other substances

It’s important to make sure there’s no paint left on your paintbrush. Keep rinsing thoroughly and gently use your fingers to remove any clumps of paint you might see. It’s easy to tell if all the paint’s gone – simply dip your paintbrush into clear water and if you can’t see any colour, your paintbrush is free from paint.

You also want to rid the paintbrush of any soap, washing-up liquid or anything else you might have used to get the paint off. Again, keep rinsing thoroughly and if there are any clumps of whatever you’ve used, gently remove them with your fingers.

Cleaning the bristles

It’s a good idea to give the bristles a gentle combing once you’ve finished rinsing them. This should get rid of any paint or anything else you might have missed and it helps to keep the bristles in their original shape. Always be gentle with bristles as they can become misshapen quite easily.


Once you’re satisfied you’ve got all the paint and other substances off your paintbrush, you can then leave it to dry. It’s fine to leave brushes to dry at room temperature, but make sure you don’t leave brushes standing with the bristles pointing down, because this can cause the bristles to become misshapen. The best thing to do is to get a tea towel or kitchen roll and place the paintbrush flat on top of that. You don’t have to use a tea towel or kitchen roll – anything that’s good at absorbing water will do.

Once your paintbrush is completely dry, place it back in its original packaging and keep it stored safely until next time.

There are quite a few things to consider when cleaning paintbrushes, but it’s really easy to do and shouldn’t be too problematic. These are just some tips to help you – there are plenty of other guides out there as well.

I’d also like to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone! I hope you have a wonderful and memorable Christmas and all the best for 2015.

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