24 May 2013

The No Fail Way to Clean a Paint Brush

Now I've put the pressure on, haven't I?  The no fail way....ok, disclaimer....it's no fail for me - every time! I hope it will be no fail for you too.

I have my fair share of painting experience.  I don't think a week goes by around here that there isn't a paint brush of some kind being used.  After much trial and error, and a lot of brushes being tossed into the garbage, I have finally perfected my method. 

First, let's talk brushes for a quick second.  I believe in quality paint and quality brushes.  Please don't cheap out.  Cheap brushes = a cheap paint job (I could keep going, but I'll stop there on the cheap references...).  Purdy brushes....they are THE best and the only way to go.  This is completely my opinion - Purdy has absolutely no clue that I even exist.  The Purdy brushes are the only ones that seem to hold their bristles, and also don't give me goose bumps from the rough handles.

This method will only work for latex based paints.  If you are using oil based paint/stain you will need to use mineral spirits to clean your brush.  

Ok, without further adieu, here's my tried and true paint brush cleaning method.

The no fail way to clean a paint brush from aswellplacetodwell.com

#1. When you are finished painting, toss your brush(es) into a mug of hot water.  Let  it sit.  An hour, a day, it honestly doesn't matter.   ** note: If I am going to use the brush again the next day with the same paint, I will just wrap it up in plastic wrap without washing.  If it's going to be more than a day I wash the brush so that clumpies don't form.

The no fail way to clean a paint brush from aswellplacetodwell.com

#2. After letting it soak for while, dump your mug and run your brush under hot tap water until it starts to run mostly clear.  Then take a dish scrubber (I prefer the round plastic ones.) and scrub the brush going in the direction of the bristles (from the handle down). Don't go all crazy and start doing circular motions or anything, as that will cause the bristles to go all wonky.  The scrubber is really the key here - it's what gets all of the left over latex bits out of the brush.
**note: I am sure this goes without saying, but please dedicate a mug and a scrubber to paint brush cleaning and don't let them mingle with your regular mugs/scrubbers.

The no fail way to clean a paint brush from aswellplacetodwell.com

#3.  Once your brush is clean then fill your mug back up with half super hot water and half white vinegar and plop the brush(es) in again.  Yes, vinegar.  Just the plain white stuff that you can buy at the regular grocery store.  Let them sit.  Again, doesn't matter how long.  I usually leave mine overnight.

The no fail way to clean a paint brush from aswellplacetodwell.com

#4. Take the brush(es) out and dump the mug.  Squeeze out as much water as you can from the brush and then fan the bristles out just a bit.  It's all in the vinegar.  The vinegar helps soften the bristles up again so that you don't have a stiff stuck together brush the next time you paint. 

That's it. Let it dry and it will be good to go for the next time you are ready to paint.  

Just to prove that this method actually works - I've used this brush more times than I can count and it still has a lot of life left in it. 


Let me know if you give this a go and how it works for you.  Does anyone else have a tried and true method?


Linking to: Remodelaholic

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14 comments:

  1. Ha, the worst is if you buy a cheap brush and you have the bristle pieces stuck in your paint non-stop. Agree purdy is the way to go.
    Great tip, I clean them similar but minus the vinegar. Will do that next time ;)

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  2. Thanks, Kelly ~ I've never tried the vinegar. I need a miracle cleaner for oil based paint! Happy Weekend!

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  3. Thank you Kelly, I had heard about vinegar for cleaning brushes but haven't used it. I have used Purdy paint brushes before though and do like them - very nice brushes!

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  4. Interesting tip - never heard of using vinegar. I tend to be a little brutal in caring for my brushes, and then expect them to do a great job for me. Hmmmm...it may be time to be a little kinder to them!

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  5. Great idea! Wrapping in plastic wrap really does work short term too? There are so many times I plan on painting a second coat of the same color in a couple hrs and my brush is still wet from washing it. I think I'll try both ideas. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. HI Elisha,
      Yes, wrapping it in plastic really does work. I find that some paint does better than others, but I never wash the brush if it's just a few hours or even overnight. I find some Benjamin Moore (BEN in particular) is really stringy and clumps easily, so sometimes i have to just pick a few of the clumps off if I have left it wrapped up.
      Let me know how it goes!

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  6. Huh! I'll have to remember the vinegar trick. I am definitely on board with quality brushes for a quality job! And, find the quality brushes usually clean-up better just by design.

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  7. Pinned! I will have to try this!

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  8. Ha! Vinegar - for heaven's sake, why haven't I thought of that before??! Thanks for the tip, I have loads of brushes with bits of paint still stuck cause I hate cleaning brushes...

    Cheers!

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  9. This is awesome...had never ever thought about the little circle scrubber!? I have been known to sit at the sink and use my nails to get older dry globs of paint off the bristles. Your way sounds so much better and not to mention faster! Doing the vinegar, too...now I'm wanting to go paint something just so I can test this out!!! Thanks for the timesaver!!! ;) Jesse @ Scout & Nimble

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    Replies
    1. You crack me up! Seriously, I am sure you will have enough to paint...don't go painting just for the sake of painting :)

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  10. Never heard of the vinegar idea before thanks. I have put brushes that I wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator lasts for several days also wks for rollers

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