Did you forget to wash your paintbrushes and now you think they are useless? Well, we’ve all been there. Luckily, there is hope for you! You don’t have to throw those paintbrushes away. There are several ways you can use them to clean them and make them useful for your next painting project. This will save you money plus you can still be able to use your favorite paintbrush again and again.
There are three ways which we are going to discuss in this article on how you can clean your paintbrushes.
- Using solvents
- Using vinegar
- Using fabric softener
Let’s take a look at each method.
Method 1: Solvents
I am sure you have heard of this method before because it is highly popular with most painters. It is quite quick and effective in cleaning your paintbrushes especially if the paint has not dried on the bristles.
What you need:
- A solvent of your choosing
- Paper towel or an old cloth
- Disposable gloves
- Your stained paintbrush
Once you have everything you need at hand, follow the following steps to clean your paintbrushes:
- Start by removing as much paint as you can from the paintbrush by brushing it along the paper towel. This will ensure the only paint that remains in the paintbrush is as little as possible and therefore make it easier and faster to clean the paintbrush.
- Pour your solvent into a bowl/glass jar/old Tupperware. Don’t use items that you are likely to use in your household as solvents contain harmful chemicals that may cause injury to the body if ingested. After you have poured the solvent, dip your paintbrush into the solvent.
- Swirl and move your paintbrush back and forth while in the solvent until you can see that the bristles are paint-free.
- Once the paintbrush is clear of paint, you will need to rinse your brush of the solvent by running it underwater.
- Dry the paintbrush using an old rag or a paper towel.
- Reshape your paint bristles before storing the paintbrush for the next project.
If you are unsure of what solvent to use, check your paint type or visit your local hardware store.
- For water-based paints use water to clean the paintbrushes.
- Use paint thinner or mineral spirit to clean paint brushes that have oil-based paint.
- Clean paintbrushes with shellacs using denatured alcohol.
- For paint brushes that have been working with varnishes use mineral spirits to clean them up.
Again, it is important to remember that you are working with chemical compounds that are harmful to your health. Therefore, make sure that you wear gloves and other protective clothing when handling paints and solvents. Also, strive to work outdoors as much as possible or in well-ventilated spaces.
Method 2: Vinegar
An effective way of cleaning paint brushes is by using vinegar solution. Vinegar is quite effective in cleaning paint brushes with paint that has been there for a while and hardened on them.
What you need:
- Your dirty paintbrush
- White vinegar
- Cooking pot
Below are the steps you will follow to clean your paintbrushes using white vinegar:
- Pour the white vinegar into your cooking pot. If you are not comfortable using one from your kitchen, buy one from your local thrift store for this purpose.
- Dip your paintbrush into the cooking pot containing vinegar. Ensure that every part of the brush is covered with pain till fully immersed in the vinegar. Otherwise, add more vinegar until it is all immersed.
- Place your cooking pot on the stovetop and bring to boil the vinegar. Allow it to simmer for a couple of minutes after boiling. We recommend that you cover the cooking otherwise your whole kitchen will be smelling of vinegar and paint.
- Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool for a couple of minutes.
- When you can safely remove the paintbrush from the vinegar solution without burning yourself, do so.
- Comb the brush bristles gently to remove the paint. The paint will fall as continue to comb the bristles. The heat and vinegar solution could have broken the bond between the paint and the bristles.
- Rinse the brush using cold water. If all the paint is not gone, repeat the process until there is no paint left in your paintbrush.
- Reshape your paint brush’ bristles before storing them as you wait for your next project.
Method 3: Fabric softener
The last method we will discuss in his article is how to use fabric softener to clean paintbrushes. A fabric softener is a helpful addition that quickly removes paint from your paintbrushes.
What you need:
- A dirty paintbrush
- An old rag or paper towel
- Warm water
- Fabric softener
Below are the steps you will need to follow to clean your paintbrush using a fabric softener:
- Begin by removing as much paint as you can from the paintbrush by brushing it along a paper towel or an old rag. This will as little as possible paint on the paintbrush and make it much easier to clean.
- Pour 1/8 cup of fabric softener into your bucket. Add 4 cups of warm water to the bucket and mix the two thoroughly.
- Swirl the paintbrush in the solution back and forth and you see the paint beginning to come of the paintbrush. The paint will settle at the bottom of the bucket.
- Once all the paint has been cleaned, run your paintbrush under running water to wash off any remaining fabric softener.
- Dry your paintbrush using an old rag or paper towel.
- Reshape the paint brush’s bristles before storing it as you await the next project.
If you have to clean more paintbrushes, don’t hesitate o use more fabric softener and water. That way you can be able to clean more brushes at once without having to repeat the process all over again.
While it can be challenging to clean paint brushes with dried paint, all hope is not lost. You can use any one o the methods we have discussed above and the results will be amazing. However, don’t expect the brushes to be restored to their original condition. But they will be good to use for any future project potentially saving you the trouble of having to buy new paintbrushes again and again. Continue checking our page for more tips and suggestions on how to take care of your paintbrushes.