How to Clean a Paintbrush

paint brushes

Any painting contractor will tell you that it is more cost effective to buy a high-quality brush than a budget brush, because it will last so much longer. The key to keeping your expensive brush in great shape is to clean it properly after each use, and to store it well. So what’s the right way to clean a paintbrush?

In order to maintain your paintbrush, we recommend the following tips:

  • Before you put paint on the brush, get the bristles wet. Simply dip the brush in water for a few moments, remove it, and wipe off the extra moisture with a clean rag. Now, when you load paint in the brush, it will not absorb so far up towards the handle, making it easier to clean. Also, using this trick will use less paint and get more even results from your brushing.
  • Do not leave your brush resting for more than a few minutes if it has paint on it. This will cause the paint to begin drying, causing little flecks and strands of dried paint that will mar your finish. If you need to pause for more than 5 minutes, wrap your brush in plastic to keep the air off it. If you will be more than an hour, clean the brush.

  • When you are finished painting, use your fingers or a cloth to massage the excess paint out of the brush, working from the handle towards the tip. Don’t pull on the bristles.
  • Now, rinse the brush in warm water. Rather than running lots of water from the tap, fill a small plastic container and rinse your brush in there. Wipe the brush on a cloth again.

  • Use liquid soap or bar soap and gently clean the bristles. Lather the soap in, careful not to deform the bristles. Rinse the brush with clean water. Repeat this step until the rinsing water runs clear.

  • If the brush has paint on some bristles and it won’t seem to come clean, use a wire brush and comb it firmly in the direction of the bristles, rinsing frequently.

  • paint brush painting dryOnce the brush is clean, use your fingers to form the bristles back into their intended shape, and hang the brush to dry. If the brush came with a cardboard cover, place it back on. Alternatively, you can wrap the bristles gently in tissue or toilet paper, which will help the bristles re-form as it dries.

ALLBRiGHT 1-800-PAINTING Painting serves the Los Angeles region as a residential house painter. Even if you are a do-it-yourselfer, check out our unique Painting Parties service—it’s a fun way to get the job done quickly and correctly!

*Note: if you are using oil-based paints, then use paint thinner instead of water where mentioned.