Useful Tips

How and how to wash paint brushes from paint


If you have a lot of brushes and palette knives and you use them daily, very often there is a problem of cleaning them. Sometimes, with a creative impulse, you can simply forget that you left your brushes not washed. To wash them, then it can be very difficult or practically impossible at all. Special if you used acrylic paints. They dry very quickly. With butter easier. A couple of days, the brush can still live until you remember about it. But if you leave it for a week, then the paint will have time to set and firmly harden. Therefore, I advise you to make for yourself "purification ritual". Especially for those artists who write often and a lot.

I can tell by my example. For me personally, this has become a habit. Every evening, when I finish work in my small studio, I clean all the tools in their places. New works are dried on a separate shelf. The easel folds and retracts into a corner. Then I wash all the jars and fill them with fresh clean water. Then it’s faster and easier to immediately start a new job. I put all the brushes in a work towel and carry them to the sink. So they dry on my towel. I clean the spatula once a week.

I hope these little life hacks for artists make your creative process easier.

  1. Palette knives can be cleaned with a scraper. Please be careful when working with the blade! I advise you to do this work on a surface that you do not mind. You can use glass.

2. The glass palette can also be cleaned with a scraper. But most of all I liked using a tear-off paper palette. Very comfortably!

3. Brushes can be washed by the following means:

  • Flaxseed oil (can be sunflower),
  • Thinner for artwork,
  • Water and soap.

Acrylic paints are washed off well with warm water and soap. It is better to wash off oil paints with a special art thinner, ordinary sunflower or linseed oil. Then it can be washed in soapy water.
If you carry out such a cleaning after each use, your tools will last you more than one year!
For those who like to not only read, but also watch, I made a video! In it you can consider everything in detail! Enjoy watching!

We keep brushes during a short break in work

No work can last forever, and therefore, during the production of painting, it may be necessary to take a short break for 1 to 2 hours.

But we know that many paints set quickly enough and this time will be more than enough for the brush to become covered with a layer of sticky mass, which then cannot be shaded on the surface or removed mechanically.

Many advise leaving a brush in a jar of water. This, of course, will save her from the complete drying of the paint, but at the same time the brush becomes stiff and the hairs stick together, which reduces the quality of subsequent painting work.

In such a situation, it is better to just wrap the brush in a plastic bag. It is important that air does not enter the bag. This method will save it for 1 to 2 hours and after that you can start painting again.
Sometimes you can find recommendations to use thin food aluminum foil instead of a bag.

How to save a brush during a long break in work

If today the painting is finished and until tomorrow the brush is not needed, then for its preservation it will be necessary to clean it completely of the paint.

Some people leave the brush in a jar of water or solvent, but this leads to the fact that under the influence of its own gravity, the brush sinks deeper, while the bristles are bent and the brush loses its original shape. This, of course, leads to the loss of its functionality, because it will not be possible to straighten the bristles later.

Therefore, without options - the brush must be thoroughly cleaned. To do this, you will need:

  • solvent,
  • rag or paper towel
  • soap (better - household),
  • a container into which you can immerse the brush deep enough.

Cleaning takes place in the following order:

Pour the solvent into the container, lower the brush there and carefully “soak” the pile.

  1. Then remove the brush and wipe it well with a rag or towel.
  2. Next, thoroughly soap the bristles with soap and rinse under running warm water.

It must be borne in mind that each paint needs its own solvent. If, for example, glue or water-soluble paints are easily removed with water, mineral oils are necessary for oil. Information on them can be found on the paint can label.

Solvents usually have a very pungent odor, so brushing is best done outdoors or at least on the balcony.
After cleaning, the brush must be set to dry with the bristles up or hang it loosely with the bristles down (usually there is always a hole on the handle of the brush).

Other brush cleaning methods

There are other brush washing methods that are not used often, but also lead to good results.

Washing the brush with a fabric softener is used when the paint has not yet completely dried. To do this, you must:

  1. Wipe off excess paint with a brush using paper or a rag.
  2. Mix warm water with a small amount of conditioner - this solution weakens the adhesion of the paint to the bristles.
  3. Rinse the brush in the solution until you see that the paint has begun to slide away from it.
  4. Then you can rinse the brush with warm water and evaluate how well it cleansed.
  5. If necessary, repeat the steps until the result is achieved.
  6. Then wash the brush with water and set to dry.

There is a way to clean old dried paint with brushes. To use it, you will need ordinary table vinegar:

  1. Vinegar is poured into a container and a brush is placed in it for about an hour. Check if the paint is soft. If not, then leave the brush in vinegar for another hour.
  2. Then pour the vinegar into an old saucepan, put a brush there and bring to a boil on the stove. Boil for a few minutes.
  3. Then remove the brush, cool slightly and comb it with a steel brush or an old frequent comb.
  4. Repeat the action until all the paint is behind the bristles and removed with a comb.
  5. We wash the brush in running water and set to dry.

If the brush is stained with oil paint, then you can use a dishwashing detergent to clean it:

  1. Wipe the brush with a cloth or paper.
  2. Pour some funds into your palm.
  3. Then turn on the warm water and, substituting a palm with the product under the tap, twist a brush on it.
  4. Rinse the brush and, if there is still paint on it, repeat all the steps until the desired result is achieved.

It’s clear that you can’t wash a big brush like that, this method is good for small brushes, the paint on which has not yet completely dried out.

What else can you wash brushes

To clean brushes from oil paint, you can use not only solvents, but turpentine, white spirit, kerosene acetone. When using all of these substances, gloves should be used to protect the skin of the hands.

In order to wash acrylic paint, you need to use a special tool - a wash for paint. Rinses are both universal and intended for use with any particular paint. You can buy them at a hardware store. When using a wash, it is necessary to protect not only the hands, but also the respiratory organs, and preferably the eyes.

In the arsenal of cleaning products for brushes there is one more thing - “Universal cleaner”. It can be purchased at departments selling radio components. It is intended for degreasing surfaces, but it also copes with acrylic paints, as it contains alcohol and gasoline.

After the brushes are washed, it is necessary to soften the bristles. For this, various cosmetic lotions or hair conditioners are used. They are simply applied to the fingers and gently rubbed into the hairs of the brush. After that, the brushes become almost like new and are ready to work again.