A quick lesson in cleaning your painting tools

Any painting project can be made simpler if you know how to properly clean your tools. Many amateur painters end up buying several new brushes, rollers or trays per project because they simply do not know how to properly clean their equipment.

Make better use of your painting tools and accessories with these easy to follow instructions.

Cleaning brushes, roller trays and sleeves thoroughly is helpful in prolonging their usefulness.

As soon as you are done painting, pour the unused paint into the can if it has not been contaminated. Use a paintbrush to guide the paint back into the can and shut the lid tight.

Run cold water over the paint tray, rinsing away most of the paint. Use a scrub brush to remove the rest of the paint. Brush in a circular motion. Rinse the paint tray one final time after the paint is removed. Dry with an old cloth.

unused paint roller on a white background

To clean the roller, work the tool over a scrap board, eliminating as much paint as you can. Then hold the roller over a sink with the water running. Grip one end of the roller and slide your other hand down the roller’s sleeve, using a firm grip to get rid of most of the paint.

Run the roller under cold water for a minute or two, and repeat the step above. Next, partly fill the sink with cold water and work the roller to and fro in the water a couple times.

Finally, remove the roller sleeve from the paint roller frame and thoroughly clean the frame and place the roller sleeve back on the roller’s frame. Spin the roller to remove the excess water.

When you store the roller, hang it so the sleeve does not touch anything and allow it to air dry.


Clean paint brushes immediately after use. Do not soak brushes in solvent or water, as this can damage the bristles.

To clean 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 to remove excess thinner and then repeat process with a clean container and clean thinner.

To clean water-based paints from your paint brush, a mixture of warm water and mild soap is the best cleaning solution. 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.

Happy Painting!


(Pics from pexels.com)





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