Painting 101: How to Clean Paint Brushes

A painter is only as good as his tools (or something like that).

A good paint brush should be considered a worthwhile investment. You get what you pay for, and we believe that it’s worth a little bit of extra money to get a brush with quality bristles. Avoid the tempting one dollar options at the hardware store. With the right maintenance and cleaning techniques, your paint brushes should last you several paint projects. Not only do they add a professional finish to your paint job, a good quality brush will hold a lot of paint and minimize brush marks on your surfaces.

What you’ll need:

  • Water
  • Mild soap or dish soap
  • Brush comb (optional)
  • Soft cloth
  • Call water container


The most important step is to have the foresight to not let the paint dry onto your brush bristles. Be sure to clean your paint brushes right after you’re finished using them. If you can’t clean the brush right away, put it in a container so that water is covering the bristles. Try not to cover the metal part as this can lead to rust.


Grab your dirty brushes and rinse them under running water. Using your fingers, work some soap into the bristles. Keep doing this until the water runs clear (it might take a little while). If you find some dry paint caught in the top of the bristles, there are some situations where you may want to use  a brush comb (combing from the base to the end) to remove it. But for the most part, your fingers should work just fine!


To dry your paint brush, use your hands to gently squeeze and work out the excess water. Once you’ve got as much out as possible, pat the brush dry using a soft cloth. Then, use the whole at the end of the brush to hang it up to dry. A piece of string works a treat. Once it’s completely dry, put a brush jacket around the bristles to help the brush keep its shape! Keep it in a safe place until your next paint project.

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