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4 Tips For Like-New Brushes: How To Clean Paint Brushes Properly

Your art tells a story, and you write that story with your trusty paintbrush. But quality paintbrushes are a big investment—high-end brushes don’t come cheap.

You want to take care of your paintbrushes so they last a long time. Be sure you’re following paint brush best practices like:

  • Pairing the right brush with the correct paint. Use nylon brushes for acrylics and natural brushes for oil paint.

  • Cleaning your brushes every two hours to prevent dried paint chips.

  • Never using dish soap. This will gum up your brushes and make cleaning impossible.

  • Limiting unnecessary paint. You don’t need gobs of paint on a brush to get the job done.

  • Storing your brushes correctly. Hang your dried brushes with the bristles pointing down. This will keep the bristles safe and straight for more uses.

Now, proper use and care will go a long way, but you need to understand how to wash paintbrushes properly, too.

How To Wash Paint Brushes Like A Pro

Even the most experienced painter ruins brushes from time to time. Forgetting to clean a brush or rushing through the cleaning process makes it almost impossible to use that brush again. Learn how to clean paint brushes like a professional so you save more time and money on your next masterpiece.

Trick #1: Fabric softener

You can mix a gallon of water with ½ cup of fabric softener to make a DIY paintbrush cleaning solution.

Remember to get any excess paint off your brush before cleaning. Rinse your brush with the fabric softener solution (and not water) to keep it sparkling clean in between uses.

Trick #2: Soak your brush

If you have dried paint on your brush, you’ll need something more heavy-duty than fabric softener. Try an oil-based brush cleaner to soak your brushes overnight.

Tie a piece of string to each brush and suspend them over a bucket with the brush cleaner. Make sure the tips of the brushes are in the cleaner and let them sit overnight.

This will slowly dissolve the paint overnight, leaving cleaner bristles. Once the brush has sat overnight, pour more brush cleaner in a separate bowl. Gently stir the brush around the fresh cleaner to remove any traces of paint.

Trick #3: Use vinegar

But what if you don’t have brush cleaner on hand? Instead of making another trek to the art supply store, use vinegar. You likely have some under your kitchen sink, and it does a great job of removing dry paint from brushes.

Let your brush sit in the vinegar for up to 2 hours. If that doesn’t do the trick, try heating the vinegar on the stove until it’s boiling. Allow the brush to sit in the hot vinegar until it’s completely cool. You may need to run a brush through the bristles to get them completely gunk-free.

Trick #4: Try the Paint Puck

You can clean your paintbrushes while you’re painting with Paint Puck!

Our patented paint brush cleaner is made of soft silicone as opposed to harsh metals, and gently and quickly pulls paint while protecting your brush. The nubs and rims are suitable for all paint brush sizes and the ventilation holes prevent pigment buildup by circulating fluid through the disk.

While you should know how to clean paint brushes in the event of dried paint chips, it’s easier to prevent dried paint in the first place.

Our Ultimate Rinse Cup that contains the patented Paint Puck paintbrush cleaner also helps artists store and clean brushes while you’re working on a piece.

The features are designed to help you keep your brushes clean:

  • It holds up to 34 brushes.

  • Bring your cleaning cup with you as you paint. This makes it a no-brainer to wash brushes as you go.

  • The silicone tray is easier to wash than metal options on the market. Plus, it’s designed to stay in place and catch runoff, preventing messes.

The bottom line

When you know how to wash paintbrushes properly, you’ll get more life out of your high-quality brushes. Prevent dried-on catastrophes and clean as you go with Paint Puck. If your brush bristles are caked on with paint, follow these tips to restore your brushes to their former glory.

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