This year has been a year of DIY across the nation, but the big questions is, how do you clean a paint brush and roller effectively? Any regular DIY’er will know that leaving paint on your brush isn’t an option or you will return to find your brush bristles stuck together and unusable. Thoroughly cleaning brushes and rollers after painting is absolutely essential for their preservation, allowing prolonged use. But, how do you clean paint brushes?

Best Way To Clean Paint Brushes

Brush maintenance is different depending on the type of paint used (oil and synthetic paint, nitro paint, wall paint), so therefore the brushes must be cleaned using the appropriate solvent to wash the bristles. When the solvent used has removed most of the paint, its always important to place the brush under running water to eliminate the remaining paint. To achieve satisfactory results, and also guarantee brushes and rollers will have a longer life, we suggest purchasing high-quality products that also allow you to apply the paint more evenly, without losing bristles in the process.

What You Will Need To Clean Brushes:

How To Wash Paint Brush Bristles

How To Clean Oil Paint Off Brushes

If you used oil or nitro paints, the bristles must be washed with the appropriate solvent (synthetic or nitro). Once it has dissolved most of the paint, place the brush under running water with the bristles facing upwards: the flow of water removes the paint trapped between the bristles, but now diluted with solvent.

How To Clean Acrylic Paint Brushes 

If you used water-based acrylic or wall paint, all you have to do is thoroughly wash the brushes under tap water (with the bristles pointing upwards) to eliminate any trace of paint.

Drying & Protecting The Paint Brushes

After the brushes have been thoroughly washed, they must be carefully dried. This is particularly important if the ring nut is not chromed and the water could lead to the formation of rust, with the consequent loss of bristles during painting or even dirtying the walls. To avoid this inconvenience, spray a few drops of WD-40 Multi-Use to avoid the any unwanted rust. While the brushes are drying, we recommend giving the bristles a pointed or flat shape depending on the type of brush, so that they don’t spread out, making the brush lose its shape and therefore leaving it unusable. A good system that helps keep the bristles compact is placing a rubber band around them not too tightly, which helps keep them in “shape”.

How To Clean Dried Paint Brushes

If you weren’t able to immediately clean your brushes and the bristles have unfortunately hardened and dried, you can bring them back to full functionality. Simply place the paint brushes in a jar with a mixture of synthetic solvent, nitro solvent and flaxseed oil (40% + 40% + 20%), leaving them for a couple of days. Once this solution has had a chance to do its job, wash as described above. If you need to start painting again within a few hours (or a day), instead of cleaning the brush as directed, simply wrap the bristles in aluminium foil or a plastic wrap, then put it in the fridge. The brush will stay quite damp for a few days. Then, perform the general cleaning once the work is finished.

We hope this guide helps you get stuck into all your painting and DIY projects with ease. Look after your paint brushes and you will get great results! For more tips on looking after tools and equipment check out how to maintain a drill and jig saw or how to clean hand & power tools. For more excellent WD-40 Uses dive into our roundup of how you can use WD-40 here!