storing and cleaning paint brushes

Best Way to Store Paint Brushes: Dos and Don’ts

If you utilize the best way to store paint brushes, certain care is taken and it is possible to prolong their service life and, as a result, save money.

Proper care of the bristles of brushes and paint brushes ensures a longer service life for these tools. This results in better use of the tools, saves money and reduces the amount of waste generated. This article stresses the importance of cleaning brushes properly to make them last longer and explains how to do it with newspaper, solvents, water and soap. It also offers a series of tips for good brush bristle maintenance.

Cleaning brushes and rollers well to make them last longer

The bristles are the most important, and at the same time the most delicate, part of brushes and paint brushes. The useful life of the tools depends on how long they remain in good condition. Therefore, special care must be taken with these elements in order to get the most out of them and to prolong the usefulness of these essential parts for painting.

cleaning and maintaining paint brushes

Often, the task of painting is cumbersome and, at the end, you want to put the tools away as they are and forget about the work. 

Keep in mind that it often takes a long time until the next time brushes and paint brushes are needed again. If you act in this way, the result is unequivocal: when the painting tools are needed again, they will be unusable.

That is why it is advisable to clean the bristles thoroughly when you have finished, to avoid having to go out and buy a new brush next time.

Removing oil based paints from the brush

The first step to clean the bristles is to remove the most abundant amount of oil based paints that remains on them and that is no longer to be used. The best way to do this is to pass the brush, with enough force and on both sides, on a surface that is not useful and can be discarded, such as newspaper.

The bristles of the brushes should be left to dry in an upright position, so that they maintain their correct shape.

The newspaper itself can be used to remove the paint that remains between the bristles of the paint brush, always with longitudinal movements from the union of the bristles and the body of the brush towards the tips of the hairs.

Next, it is necessary to remove the remains of paint that remain adhered to the bristles. At this point it is necessary to know the type of paint that has been used, because this information will determine the most appropriate substance for cleaning.

Cleaning the brush with water, soap and solvents

preventing paint buildup in paint brushes

For water-based paints and white glues, water and neutral soap are sufficient to clean the bristles of the brush. After removing the paint or glue residues, it is advisable to let the brush dry without rinsing, as this helps the bristles to retain their flexibility.

For other paints, such as synthetic, plastic or varnish paints, soap and water will not be sufficient. Some type of solvent will have to be used, depending on the type of paint used. 

On many occasions, this information is given on the label of the paint can. After using the solvent, it is also time to clean with soap and water and leave without rinsing.

It is best to let the brushes dry in a well-ventilated area. It is important to place them in a vertical position: they can be hung from the handle (for this purpose, most brushes have a hole near the end of the handle) or with the bristles upwards. In this way, gravity will not affect the position of the bristles while drying, and the risk of someone inadvertently putting something on them or of them falling on the floor is reduced, in case they are left drying on the edge of a table, with the bristles in the air.

Tips for a good maintenance of the bristles of the brushes

In addition to performing the process detailed so far, it is recommended to follow these guidelines to get the most out of the performance and useful life of brushes and paint brushes.

When you buy a new brush, put the bristles and the part where they join the handle in boiling water, leave them for a few seconds and then take them out. In this way, a strong adhesion between the parts is achieved and makes the tool last longer.

If work is interrupted for a short time (for a break, lunch or even if it is late and you have to continue the next day), it is not necessary to clean it thoroughly. It is sufficient to store it in a plastic bag and close it tightly.

When the brush is dry and has not been used for a long time, especially in conditions of high humidity or high temperatures, the bristles can become deformed and bend outwards, which is detrimental to the work. One way to avoid this is to wrap the bristles with a pair of rubber bands, as long as these keep the shape of the bristles but do not put too much pressure on them.

How to preserve and care for your roller or paint brush to make them last longer

The cleaning and correct conservation of brushes and paint brushes is the key to extend their life and to be able to continue using them in successive projects. 

Admittedly, after long hours of painting, the last thing we want to do is to clean the rollers and brushes as well as all the tools we have used, but that is the first tip to follow when painting: wash the painting tools as soon as you finish.

When cleaning brushes and rollers that have been used for painting, you must take into account the type of paint you have used as this will determine the cleaning method.

Water-based paint

If this type of paint has been used, the first thing to do is to remove excess paint with absorbent paper or newspaper. 

Subsequently, the tool in question should be placed under running water to remove all remaining paint. Slap the brush against the edge to wash the brush bristles. Optionally, soap can be used with warm water. However, it must be ensured that all soap residues and moisture are completely rinsed off before storing the anti-drip roller.

Acrylic paint

On the other hand, if acrylic paint has been used, an appropriate solvent is necessary to completely remove the paint residue. As with water-based paint, the first thing to do is to remove excess paint with paper. 

Subsequently, the rollers and brushes should be immersed in solvent; ideally, consult the point of sale or a professional about the type of product to be used. In addition, care should be taken not to rest the brushes on their brush bristles so that they do not become deformed and unusable. Finally, rinse with soap, rub well and rinse thoroughly. 

This last step is very important, since the remains of solvent that can remain in the rollers and brushes can diminish the power of adherence of the paint and spoil our work in the future.

If you are about to throw away a brush with traces of dry synthetic paint, you still have time to save them! To do this, all you have to do is soak them in solvent for a few hours and then rub them with soap and water.

Cleaning and storing rollers and brushes

It is very important to store them properly. Our recommendation is that after cleaning, they should be wrapped in paper so that it absorbs the remains of humidity and can be stored in a dry place. Pay attention and never rest the brushes on their bristles because they will be deformed and you will not be able to use them anymore.