How to Clean and Store a Latex Paint Brush

After spending money to invest in a high-quality paint brush, taking the time to clean it thoroughly is essential. Although the process is not difficult, it will take some time and patience to make sure that all the paint is removed and the brush is completely clean.

Latex paint brushes are easier to clean than their oil paint counterparts, as there are no harsh chemical solvents needed to remove the paint. The four steps below will guide you through cleaning and storing a latex paint brush, so that it will be good for years to come.

1. Wipe

Begin by wiping the paint brush with a soft rag to remove any excess paint. Wrap the rag around the bristles and gently pull up and out to draw the paint away from the base of the brush. Never work in the opposite direction, as it will cause paint to gather and mat at the base. Do not pull too hard, as you do not want to pull the bristles out or cause them to loosen.

2. Rinse

After most of the extra paint has been removed from the brush, it is time to rinse the brush in cool to warm water. Run your hands along the bristles gently as the water washes away extra paint. Do not worry if not all the paint comes off at this point, but do try to rinse away as much loose paint as possible. After rinsing, gently wipe the brush again with a soft, clean rag to remove anymore loose paint.

3. Wash

Protecting the investment that you made in your paint brushes requires a few more steps. Next, take a bar of soap that you have designated specifically for paint brush cleaning, and create a lather on its surface under warm water. Brush the paintbrush back and forth across this lather, until the bristles and coated with soap.

Using your hands, gently massage the soap into the bristles. Take care not to pull or twist the bristles so that they will not break or become damaged. After you have washed the brush thoroughly, rinse in warm water and pat dry with another clean, dry rag. Avoid using dish washing soap when cleaning brushes as it can be too harsh on the bristles.

4. Drying and Storage

Gently shape the brush bristles back into their original shape with your hands. Store the paintbrush on a hanging rack upside down, or in a cup with the handle down. Try never to store your paintbrushes with the bristles pressing down onto a surface. It will cause them to become misshapen and it can be difficult, if not impossible, to correct their misshapen form.

Taking the time to care for your paintbrush investment will ensure that they last for many paintings in the future. A good, high-quality brush can last for years if properly cared for. If you are concerned about the paint getting on your hands, wear disposable gloves when washing and caring for your brushes. Just be careful to be extra gentle, as it can be more difficult to judge how hard or soft the bristles are being handled.




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One Comment

  1. Dale
    Posted July 15, 2014 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    If you don’t want to waste time going through all the hassles of washing your brush with soap after you rinse your brushes, just pat it dry after initially rinsing and stick in the freezer in its original holster. When you grab your brush again simply open it up and slap the bristles with the palm or your hand and the frozen paint will fly off your brush. Just make sure you do it somewhere where the flakes of paint won’t ruin anything. Works like a charm. I’ve used my brushes over a dozen times by doing this. They still look great!

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