painter cleaning a paint brush

What Is The Best Way To Clean A Paint Brush?

Whether you’re a professional painter or a DIY enthusiast, anyone who works on home painting projects can agree that a clean paint brush is key to getting the end result you desire, while making the process easier on the painter. Giving your paint brushes proper care and cleaning is essential for keeping them in tip-top shape and ensuring they last for a long time and can make it through several home projects. In this blog post, we’re breaking down the best way to clean a paint brush for each type of paint you use. Ready to learn how to clean a paint brush like a pro? Let’s dive in!


How Different Types of Paint Impact How To Clean A Paint Brush 


Before we get down to the nitty-gritty tips for how to clean a paint brush, it’s important to first identify the type of paint you’re using (and thus, cleaning out of the brush). The cleaning process and specific instructions are different depending on the paint product you’re using, whether solvent-based or commonly referred to as oil-based, or water-based. 

To figure out how to clean your paint brush for the specific type of paint being used, look at the back of the paint can and check out the data sheets. 


Best Way To Clean A Paint Brush With Oil or Solvent-Based Paint


Oil or solvent-based paint products and stains will require certain solvents or paint thinners in order to thin out and wash away the paint. If you try to clean these types of paints out of brushes with water alone, it won’t be effective, and the water will just run down the brush, as water and oil repel each other. 


Best Way To Clean A Paint Brush With Water-Based Paint


Water-based paints are more commonly used among both professionals and DIYers, and is what we use for the most part at Oak City Coatings. They are easier to use, safer for the environment, and simple to clean. To clean a paint brush with water-based paint, you can simply use soap and water. 


How To Clean A Paint Brush With Water-Based Paint


The process for removing water-based paints from paint brushes is simple and effective, which makes it easier to implement a proper cleaning routine. 

To begin, rinse the brush with warm water in the sink and massage the bristles while they are facing downwards and the handle is upwards, out of the water. This angle helps the paint work out of the brush and not back up towards the handle, even deeper into the bristles. 

Once the water begins to run clean out of the brush, add a little bit of soap and massage it into the bristles, rinsing more of the stubborn paint out. I recommend using 2-3 soap applications to ensure all of the paint residue has been removed and rinsed out. 

After the water runs clean and no more paint color is coming out, take the brush outside and use a snapping motion to whip the brush, creating centrifugal force to fling out as much water as possible from the brush.

Set the paint brush somewhere to dry overnight where it will stay clean, such as on a workbench or on a windowsill. The next morning, fluff up the bristle to keep the paint brush nice and soft before returning the brush to its package. 

By following these steps for cleaning your paint brushes, you can ensure they maintain their condition and last for many creative uses. 

Taking care of your paint brushes is an important part of ensuring your paint projects go off without a hitch and look professional. Just make sure to read the paint can’s data sheet to ensure you choose the right cleaning technique for the type of paint product you’re using. 

Looking for more tips on choosing the best paint brush for your DIY project? Check out this quick guide.


If you’re looking to partner with a professional to bring your vision to life, we’d love to learn more about your next paint project. Visit our contact page to book a complimentary consultation to discuss your project and needs!

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