Properly cleaning and caring for your paintbrushes is essential to maintaining their shape and extending their life. This applies whichever kind of paint you use. In this guide, we will cover the step-by-step process of how to clean and care for your paint brushes to ensure they last a long time.
Cleaning the brushes immediately after use
- Step 1: It’s important to clean the brushes immediately after use, while the paint is still wet, because it becomes harder to remove when it dries.
Use the Right Solvent
- Step 2: Depending on the type of paint you’re using, you will need to use the appropriate solvent to clean your brushes.
- For oil paint, use mineral spirits or paint thinner.
- For acrylic paint, use water with a mild soap.
- For watercolor, use water with a mild soap
- Step 3: Avoid using hot water, especially with synthetic bristles, as it can damage the bristle filaments.
Work the Bristles
- Step 4: Use your fingers and the palm of your hand to work the solvent or soap into the bristles, making sure to remove all traces of paint. Work the soap right up towards the shoulder of the brush to ensure the bristles don’t begin to splay.
- Step 5: Use a brush cleaner and brush comb if you need to, to remove any tangles.
Rinse the Brush
- Step 6: Rinse the brush thoroughly under running water to remove the solvent or soap.
Shape the Bristles
- Step 7: Use your fingers to shape the bristles back into their original form. Diluted Gum Arabic can be used to reset the shape if needed.
Dry the Brush
- Step 8: Gently pat the brush with a clean cloth to remove any excess water, and then lay the brush flat to air dry.
Store your brushes properly
- Step 9: Store your brushes in a dry place, where they will not be exposed to heat or direct sunlight.
- Step 10: To keep the shape of the brush, store it in a container that can hold it horizontally.
- Avoid overloading your brush with paint, as this can cause the bristles to splay and lose their shape.
- Don’t leave your brushes standing in water or solvent for a prolonged period of time, as this can weaken the glue that holds the bristles in place.
By following these steps, you’ll be able to keep your paint brushes in good condition and prolong their life. Regular cleaning will make the brushes last longer and keep their shape better. It really is as simple as that.