Cleaning Brushes Can Be Quick and Easy

Don't put off a paint job because of the dreaded cleanup afterward. Learn these tips that will make cleaning your paintbrushes quick and easy.
remove excess by pressing brush against can side

remove excess by pressing brush against can side

Figure A

Photo by: Blake Brinkman

Blake Brinkman

Figure A

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The process will go more smoothly if you start out using the proper brushes: synthetic-bristle brushes for latex paint, natural bristles for oil-based paint.

Latex paint should be cleaned as soon as possible after you're finished painting. If the paint dries on the brush, you'll need special solvents to remove it. Clean latex paint with soap and water. If your house is on a public sewer system, you can clean the brushes in your sink. But be careful not to dispose of paint in an area where it might seep into the groundwater.

You'll need a solvent such as paint thinner to clean oil-based paints. Pour about 2 inches of thinner into a metal container and swirl the dirty brush in it until the paint comes off. Press the brush against the side of the container to remove excess thinner and clean off the remaining thinner with a rag. If oil-based paint dries on your brush, don't worry; just soak it in thinner for a few minutes before cleaning it.

Always wear rubber gloves when handling paint thinner.

After you've finished cleaning your brushes, pour the used thinner into a metal can with a lid. Then label and store the thinner as you would any other flammable liquid.

For faster cleanup, consider using a paintbrush spinner, which can be used for paintbrushes and roller covers.

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