Not cleaning your brushes and tools properly can lead to imperfect finishes on your artwork and misshapen bristles. However, you don’t have to be a world-famous art expert like Charles Saatchi to be able to do it properly.
To make sure that you do the job right, here is the best way to clean your brushes and tools.
- 1 Step #1: Get rid of any remaining paint
- 2 Step #2: Check out the tin of paint to choose the right solvent
- 3 Step #3: Dunk the brushes and tools in the solvent
- 4 Step #4: Wash with warm soapy water (in an area you don’t mind getting messy)
- 5 Step #5: Dry the paintbrushes and tools
- 6 Step #6: Store everything properly after use
Step #1: Get rid of any remaining paint
Paint can get in every nook and cranny so try your best to get as much paint off your brush or art tool as possible. Press the utensil against the rim of the tin of paint as you lift it up, squeezing out as much paint as possible.
For brushes, use them as if you are painting on some old newspaper to get rid of as much remaining paint from the bristles. This will make cleaning them much easier.
Step #2: Check out the tin of paint to choose the right solvent
Using a solvent will loosen any dried in paint from your art tools. However, using the wrong solvent for the job will likely do nothing at all. Therefore, it is essential to check the back of the tin of paint you are using to see what kind of paint it is.
If the paint used is water-based, then simply soak the tools in warm water only for around 2 hours; if solvent-based then used a solvent-based cleaner; for oil-based, use mineral spirits; and for latex paint, soak in hot water and washing up liquid.
Step #3: Dunk the brushes and tools in the solvent
Using the right technique for the paint you used, dunk the brushes in, stirring for around 10 seconds if using a solvent or cleaner, and soak for up to 2 hours if using water. Work the bristles with your fingers to remove excess paint without damaging them.
If paint has already dried onto your tools, then you may need to soak them a little longer until the paint has loosened.
Step #4: Wash with warm soapy water (in an area you don’t mind getting messy)
When all paint has been removed from the brushes and tools, wash them in warm soapy water to get rid of any leftover solvent, cleaner, and paint. Remember to do this in a utility sink or bucket that you don’t mind getting messy!
Step #5: Dry the paintbrushes and tools
Next, dry your paintbrushes and tools, making sure to remove all water from the bristles. One way to do so is to shake them over your sink or bucket and then blot them dry with newspaper or an old rag. For professionals or keen painters, a brush and roller spinner might come in handy to save you some time.
Step #6: Store everything properly after use
And finally, make sure you store everything properly to prolong their lifespan. Hanging paint tools will make sure that nothing gets bent out of shape. If you don’t have the space, then store it in a container bristles up, or keep the packaging it was bought in so that you can replace it and keep its shape.
Now that you know the best way to clean your brushes and tools, all that is left to do is get them messy by getting creative and starting your next painting.