Looking after paint brushes

July 5th, 2017

How to clean paint brushes is essential knowledge to any painter or decorator. Effective paintbrush care will help give a great finish next time and prolong the life of your brush.

Brewers Decorator Centres can help you get the best out of your brush, whether you're using water or solvent-based paints.

Brush maintenance can extend the life of your paint brush
Brush maintenance can extend the life of your paint brush


How to clean paint brushes:


1. Remove excess paint

When paint dries in the filaments of a brush and can damage them. So we would advice that the bristles are squeezed against the edge of the paint tin as soon as possible, to push out as much excess paint and moisture as you can.

2. Water-based paints

Water-based paint such as emulsion can be removed with a warm soapy water solution. Continue cleaning, making sure to change the water solution several times, until all the paint is removed.

3. Solvent-based paints

Solvent-based paints can’t be removed with a soapy water solution and need a product which helps lift the solvent from the fibres of the brush. White spirit or Albany Brush Cleaner will thin down the paint and help lift it from the bristles. A product such as Albany Brush Cleaner is also ideal if the paint has already partly dried within the brush.

A Brewers Paint Kettle is perfect to use as a brush bath, but remember to use products such as White Spirit in a well ventilated area and refresh the solution several times until all the paint has been removed – the solution needs to be dispersed of in the correct manner.

If you let paint dry in the filaments of your brush, you could damage them.

1. Rinse and dry

Drying the brush thoroughly is extremely important; using a Brewers General Purpose Cloth helps absorb as much moisture from the bristles as possible.

2. Paint brush storage

Always store brushes vertically with the bristles pointing down as this helps to keep the brushes in the best condition. Keeping the brush in a brush wallet helps keep the shape of the bristles once the brush is fully dried.

Products such as Brush Mate (when using solvent-based paints) help save time on cleaning, as excess paint is removed so that the brush is ready for next time. 

A paint brush is like a work of art in its own right. Discover the Anatomy of a Paintbrush infographic.