Whether you're painting your house, a piece of furniture or a masterpiece you plan to hang on your wall, chances are you're using a paintbrush. And all paintbrushes have one thing in common. --they get dirty and need to be cleaned.

If you clean your paintbrush after every use it will last you for project after project. If you don't, you'll have to keep throwing them in the trash and driving back to the hardware store to restock your supply. Luckily, cleaning your paintbrush is easy and you don't have to buy an expensive cleaner from the store.

This article will teach you how to clean your paintbrushes quickly and easily so you can use them time after time to create beautiful projects.

Multiple buckets of colorful paint.

How To Clean Water Or Latex-Based Paint

A paintbrush sits atop a bucket of white paint.

1. Remove excess paint

Don't work any harder than necessary. It will be far easier to clean your paintbrush if you remove the excess paint first by simply running your paintbrush against the rim of the interior of the can. If your paintbrush is still saturated, blot it against cardboard or newspaper to remove as much as possible.


2. Mix DIY paint cleaner in a 5-gallon bucket

Using these simple ingredients, create your own paint cleaner!

  • 1/2 cup fabric softener
  • 1 gallon Water

This recipe can be altered according to your needs. Follow the formula to make more (or less) water-based paintbrush cleaner as needed.

(tip: Many sites online suggest making a DIY paint cleaner using dish soap or laundry soap. Steer clear of this method. Detergents can actually coat your bristles and gum them up over time.)

3. Dip paintbrushes into the solution. Swish around till all traces of paint have been removed.

4. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.

5. Shake off excess water.

6. Blot dry when finished.

How To Clean Oil-Based Paints And Varnishes

A paint brush applies varnish to a fence.

1. Remove excess paint.

2. Read the label of your paint/varnish can.

(Verify which type of solvent the manufacturer recommends.)

3. Follow the same steps as above.

(Simply substitute the recommended solvent for the fabric softener.)

How To Clean A Dry Paint Brush

Paintbrushes caked with dried paint.

Life happens. Once in a while circumstances occur where you're unable to attend to the task of cleaning your paintbrush right away. If this is the case the paint will harden onto the bristles but in some cases, it may still be possible to salvage the paintbrush. Believe it or not, the most effective way to remove dried, hardened paint from a paintbrush is by enlisting the aid of your stove top.

1. Fill an old pot with white distilled vinegar

(There's no exact amount to suggest here, it depends on the shape of the pot and the size of your paintbrush. Just be sure to use enough vinegar to submerge your paintbrush into the liquid.)

2. Bring your pot to a boil.

3. Turn down the heat to low. Let simmer for five minutes.

4. Transfer the pot from the burner to allow it to cool down long enough to render the paintbrushes safe to touch.

5. Rinse the paintbrush in lukewarm water.

6. Repeat if necessary.

Small paintbrushes wet with red and yellow paint.

Cleaning your paintbrushes is easy once you know how and reusing them will save you time, money, and energy down the road. So, go on, paint that room! Create that masterpiece! Your trusty paintbrushes will be there by your side. Ready to help you out like a faithful, old friend, time and time again.

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