How to Clean and Maintain Brushes and Rollers

August 22nd, 2023

Effective brush and roller care will help give a great finish on your next project and will also prolong the life of your tools. This is a more sustainable approach to decorating and cost effective too. 

How to Clean Paint Brushes:

Remove excess paint

When paint dries in the filaments of a brush, it can damage them. Squeeze the bristles against the edge of the paint tin as soon as possible, to get rid of any excess paint and moisture.

Water-based paints

Water-based paint such as emulsion or acrylic finishes 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.

Solvent-based paints

Solvent-based paints are a bit trickier and require a product that can 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. 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. Make sure you dispose of the solution properly using a hazardous waste disposal service.

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.

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.

How to Clean Paint Rollers:

With proper cleaning and storage, paint rollers can be used multiple times. If you’re looking to use your paint roller soon after your first use, you can skip the cleaning process and simply wrap your roller in cling film or plastic wrap and pop in the fridge. You can then take the roller out the next day and use as normal. Alternatively, you can use Provinci’s Roller Saver that allows you to store your roller for up to 3 months without the need to clean.

Remove Excess Paint

You can remove excess paint from a roller easily with Purdy’s 6 in 1 multi tool. The paint can be scraped off into your tray and roll any leftover excess onto scrap paper or cardboard.

Water-based paints

If you have used water-based paints, remove the roller sleeve from the roller cage and place into a bucket of hot soapy water. Don’t overdo the dish soap and make sure the water is hot. You can also place the roller frame into the bucket as well. Use gloves for extra comfort when cleaning. Use a firm bristle brush to clean the roller cage and rinse. You can begin to work the paint out of the roller sleeve in the bucket and once the paint is removed you can rinse thoroughly with warm water. Squeeze out any excess water and allow it to try by standing it up on some scrap paper. 

Solvent-based paints

Similar to cleaning paint brushes, you will need to use White Spirit to remove any solvent-based paints. Make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area and use gloves when cleaning your roller. Refresh the solution several times until all the paint has been removed. Make sure you dispose of the solution properly using a hazardous waste disposal service. Leave to dry standing up on a scrap piece of paper.

Roller Storage

Once it is completely dry, store your roller in plastic wrap or a plastic bag ready for your next decorating project!

You can browse our brushes and cleaning products online or in your local Brewers Decorator Centre.