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Paint Care & Cleanup

What type of soap do I use to clean my paint brushes when using latex paint?

Any mild bar soap or dishwashing detergent will work.

What is the best way to clean paint brushes after using oil-based and water-based paints?

Clean paint brushes immediately after use. Do not soak brushes in solvent or water, as this can damage the bristles. Consider using one set of synthetic painting tools for oil-based products and another set for water-based products. It is much easier to clean the paint brushes if you don't switch back and forth between the two types of bases.

Cleaning oil-based paints, varnishes, lacquers and shellacs from your paint brush.

Closely follow the manufacturer's instructions to select the proper cleaning solvent (mineral spirits or paint thinner for paint and varnish, denatured alcohol for shellac, etc.). Pour the solvent into a container and dip the paint brush into the solvent. Work thinner through the brush bristles, dipping up and down in container several times. Spin the paint brush into a waste area to remove excess thinner and then repeat process with a clean container and clean thinner.

Cleaning water-based (latex) paints from your paint brush.

A mixture of warm water and mild soap suds is the best cleaning solution for water-based paints. Prepare soapy water and pour into a clean container. Dip the paint brush into the mixture, working the soap through the brush bristles. Follow with a clear water rinse. Repeat the process if necessary. Always use a clean container with clean soapy water and follow with a clear water rinse. For stubborn water-based paints, try mineral spirits or lacquer thinner, followed by warm soapy water and a clear water rinse.

After cleaning, remove excess solvent or water by spinning the paint brush or using a mechanical paint brush spinner.

Purdy® strongly recommends the use of a paint brush comb as one of the best ways to clean a paint brush. This tool is very useful in cleaning through the center of the brush and removing any residue near the ferrule's edge. Paint residue left in the brush will harden and "set" the bristles, making them lose their bend recovery. Once clean, use the paint brush comb to straighten the bristles or filaments to prevent "fingering." Reshape the paint brush to its original shape, replace in its keeper and lay flat to dry. (After hard use, it may be necessary to steam synthetic paint brushes or dip natural bristle paint brushes in boiling water to aid in reshaping.)

Whenever possible, store brushes by hanging them. Never store a paint brush on its tip, which can result in "curling."

What is the best way to clean a paint roller? I have a project coming up where I will be applying several coats. I would like to reuse a quality roller.

Remove roller cover sleeve from the painting frame immediately after using. Do not allow the paint to begin drying on the paint roller.

Clean roller covers immediately after use. Never leave the roller sleeve soaking in water or solvent.

Cleaning oil-based paints, varnishes, lacquers and shellacs from your roller cover.

Closely follow manufacturer's instructions in selecting the proper cleaning solvent (mineral spirits or paint thinner for paint and varnish, denatured alcohol for shellac, etc.). Pour the solvent into a container and dip the roller cover into the solvent. Repeat this process using a clean container and fresh solvent until the roller cover is clean.

Cleaning water-based paints from your paint roller covers.

Wash with soap and warm water, and rinse until clean. Repeat the process if necessary. Always use a clean container with clean soapy water and follow with a clear water rinse. If needed, use a putty knife to help scrape off the paint. For stubborn water-based paints, try mineral spirits or lacquer thinner, followed by warm soapy water and a clear water rinse.

Dry and store your roller covers with care. String roller covers on rope or dowels to aid in drying the sleeves. Don't stand the paint roller on its end or lay it on its nap. Dry thoroughly before storing in dust-free cabinets or boxes.

I have dried latex paint on one of your latex trim paint brushes. Will soaking in warm, soapy water remove the paint?

Latex paint that is dried on your paint brush will soften. You will need to use hot water, soap and patience. Prepare soapy water and pour into a clean container. Dip the paint brush into the mixture, working the soap through the brush bristles. Now, place the brush back into the hot/warm water for about 20 minutes. Remove the paint brush and using a stiff nylon-bristle brush, gently rub the filament following the flow of the bristles. Follow with a clear water rinse. Repeat the process if necessary.

For stubborn water-based paints, try mineral spirits or lacquer thinner, followed by warm soapy water and a clear water rinse. It may take two or three times of repeating the above steps, but the paint will eventually break apart and wash away. Be sure to dry the paint brush completely and then place the brush in its yellow Purdy brush keeper and store it until your next use.

I used an oil-based bristle paint brush with latex paint. Is the brush permanently damaged?

The paint brush is not ruined. You need to follow this procedure to bring the brush back to its original finish. First, be sure the paint brush is completely clean and totally dry. The water from the latex paint and from washing the paint brush will have leeched the natural oils out of the bristles of the brush.

To bring the paint brush back to its original softness, use raw linseed oil, which can be found at many paint dealers. Put a dime-size drop of the linseed oil in the palm of your hand and work it into the bristles. You may need to repeat the application of linseed oil several times to completely repair the paint brush. Once soft, comb out the brush, place it in its yellow Purdy brush keeper, and store it until next use.

Can you use a wire brush to clean a paintbrush?

Do not use a wire brush on a paint brush. While it will help remove the dried paint from the tips of the bristle, it also knocks off the flag (splits) at the end of the bristles. Using a paint brush comb to clean the paint from the inside of the brush will increase the life of the brush. To get the outside of the brush clean, try using a stiff nylon-bristle paint brush. This will be less destructive on the ends of the filaments.

Is it is true that if you put your paint brush in the fridge in between painting sessions, it won't get hard and dried out?

The low temperature of the refrigerator will slow the drying process, but it will also increase the chance of paint drying up inside the paint brush. Also, be careful, as most paints do have an odor that will release inside your refrigerator and get into your food. It's best to clean your painting tools after each use, as proper maintenance and cleaning will extend the life of your painting tool, and ensure it functions at an optimal performance level.