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How To Use A Paint Brush Cleaner? – All You Need To Know

cleaning paint brush

Do you know how to use a paint brush cleaner?

There comes a time in the life of every paint brush when it needs a good rinsing. The trouble is, cleaning a paint brush can take quite a long time, especially when you aren’t entirely sure what you’re getting into.

Sometimes, your job can become exponentially simpler with some insider information. That’s where we come in!

Paint brushes make life a lot easier, but they can be challenging to maintain if you don’t know what you’re doing. There are many kinds of bristles, paint, and cleaners.

If you want access to the comprehensive guide on what cleaners to use with what paints and brushes, then look no further.

Types Of Paint

Different kinds of paint have different uses, which is why we see so many varieties across a wide range of industries and locations. If you’ve ever been to the hardware store and felt overwhelmed by all the options, you’re not alone.

That’s a similar experience for many people that have been trying to get the right tools for their DIY situation or art project.

Water-based paints, acrylics, latex paints, oil paints, etc. – each type is great for one situation but terrible for another – and they all require different cleaners to be appropriately removed from your paint brush.

Water-based Paint

This is not your typical watercolor paint set. The pigmentation in water-based paint comes from latex. What’s the best way to wash water-based paint off your paint brush?

You guessed it – water! The latex pigment is suspended in a water solution, and the pigment can be easily thinned out and removed with a thorough rinsing.

Warm, clean water and soap are recommended to make the process a little smoother.

Oil Paint

Oil paint is one of the longest-lasting paints on the market, making it notoriously difficult to remove from brushes. Luckily, there are many cleaning solutions you can use if you’re struggling to get those last spots off of your new brush.

You can’t go wrong with dish soap and warm water.

Most dish soap brands can cut through most kinds of oil, including what’s on your brush. Vinegar is another great option – specifically white vinegar if you have it handy.

Finally, other natural oils are a pretty handy way to get oil paint out of your brushes.

Oil particles love to stick together, so when you use oil to clean other oils, it works wonders, with everything bonding together into one bunch you can get rid of.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is easy to clean off a paint brush if it’s still wet, but once it’s dried, it is basically impossible to remove. In most cases, if you have fully-dried acrylic paint on any of your brushes, you can kiss them goodbye.

While that’s something no one ever wants to hear, it’s the painful truth. Luckily, you can clean acrylic paint very simply – just wipe off excess paint with any tool you have handy and dunk your brush repeatedly in a bucket of water. Soap and warm water work best.

how to use a paint brush cleaner

General Cleaning Tips

When cleaning your paint brushes, there are some general rules that you’ll want to follow to avoid any bothersome experiences – namely, ruining any brushes that you happen to like.

We’ve included a few general tips to help curb the worst of the worst from happening.

First, never roughly scrunch up your paint brush bristles. It doesn’t matter if they’re made of natural fibers or artificial fibers or if it’s a stiff brush, a loose one or if it is made of diamonds.

When you mess with the bristles on a paint brush, you’re prone to making its strokes uneven and less precise.

This can lead to inferior linework and trimming and overall sloppier painting. Treat your brush bristles with a bit of care. If the bristles start falling out, you know it is time for a new brush.

Second, don’t clean your brushes underneath running water. Use a paint brush cleaner, a bucket, or other receptacle that doesn’t lead to a drain.

Dumping paint straight into water supplies is considered a hazardous material, and we’re positive your town, region, or state has a rule against dumping paint down the drain.

Third, wait for your paint brush to dry completely before using it. While this will be an obvious tip if you’ve painted before, we figured we’d include this for anyone new.

Using a wet paint brush can result in the paint not truly sticking to its surface, causing colors to run and streaks in any finished product.

For best results, wait for your brush to dry before trying to paint anything after cleaning. If you are impatient, keeping a dedicated towel you’re not looking to keep can be used to dry your brushes to shrink dry time.

Use The Right Brush With The Right Paint

As a general rule of thumb, it is helpful to remember that not all brushes are intended to be used with all paints. Enamel paint brushes are a great example.

While they are celebrated for their synthetic bristles that allow for plenty of wear and tear, potential owners might not know that you should only use them with enamel paint. Or, rather, enamel paint needs to be used with an enamel brush.

Natural bristles are a great choice for acrylic paint because they can hold up well against the thick, viscous essence of acrylic paint.

The classic choice for an oil paint brush is to go with hog bristle brushes due to their stiff nature and ability to dot out precise lines and brush strokes despite the paint’s globular nature.

Stiffer bristles are also ideal for an oil painting brush because they can last a long time, as an oil paint brush needs to be cleaned vigorously.

For water-based or latex paints, a synthetic brush is recommended because it tends to hold its shape well with synthetic paints’ gooey, smooth consistency. Latex paints are heavy, so they need a brush that can withstand them.

Is Cleaning A Paint Brush Really This Hard?

While we might have made cleaning a paint brush a little bit harder than it sounds, that wasn’t our intention. It’s just that quality brushes are an investment worth taking care of.

It can be incredibly frustrating to go and clean your brush incorrectly, only to find you’ve ruined its bristles and need to replace it.

We want to encourage people to get more into DIY projects and take pride in their work around the house. If you don’t know how to take care of your tools, then you’re not going to have an enjoyable time getting to work.

Hopefully, this guide was able to provide some helpful information about how to go about taking care of your painting paraphernalia!

About Savannah Phillips

Savannah Phillips is an NCIDQ certified Interior Designer with a Bachelors of Science in Interior Design from Illinois State University. She is skilled in Space Planning, Furniture Layouts, Material and Finish Selection and FF&E Procurement.

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