How to Clean Paint Brushes and Store Them?

how to clean paint brushes
Flat lay of brushes isolated on white background

Investing in storage and cleaning your paint brushes is a smart move that will reap rewards in the long run. This blog will provide advice on how to clean paint brushes and store them so they last as long as possible.

Your paint brushes need to be regularly maintained in order to extend their usefulness. Neglecting to properly clean and store them can result in damaged bristles and an inconsistent brush shape; make sure you always store them upright correctly for best performance.

How To Clean Paint Brushes: The Basics

Properly cleaning paint brushes and rollers is essential for achieving quality results on your next painting project. WT Ross, owner of Palm Garden Painting in Port St Lucie, FL states “Not only will this save you time, but it also money as it extends their life expectancy; thus, saving money in the long-run.”

Regular cleaning of your tools after each use will improve the performance of each project. Although it may seem tedious, taking the time to care for paint brushes is worth the effort.

Here are our top four tips for properly cleaning and storing your brushes.

Determine what type of brush you are using.

 natural hair brushes

Paint brushes come in various sizes and shapes, each serving a different purpose. The two primary types are synthetic filament and natural bristle. These natural hair brushes are made from horses or pigs and designed to hold paint well while providing an even coat.

Synthetic filament brushes are typically made of nylon or polyester and feature a thicker filament to spread thicker paints such as latex over surfaces. It is essential that you select the appropriate brush for your job; doing so will guarantee optimal results and make cleanup much simpler.

Use the Paint Brush to clean off the Paint.

Before beginning any painting project, it is essential to clean your brushes. The quality of the bristles can have an impact on how well the paint adheres to surfaces. Different paint types necessitate different methods for removal.

Water-based latex paint can be cleaned using common solvents like mineral spirits or warm water.

Natural bristle brushes should be cleaned with oil-based paints. In some cases, stronger solvents such as turpentine paint thinner or other petroleum distillates may be necessary for thorough cleaning.

No matter which solvent you choose, be sure to thoroughly rinse your brush before shaping or storing it.

Scrub away any dried paint from the bristles of your brush.

Removing hardened paint from brushes can be a tedious and time-consuming task, but with patience and the right materials you will make the process simpler.

Oil-based paints require that you apply solvent to the tips of the brush. Place it in a container with a lid and leave for at least an hour, then gently scrape away any paint remnants with an old toothbrush.

For stubbornly hardened paint, soak the brush tips in vinegar for at least an hour. Continue soaking if your brush remains too stiff; alternatively, place the head of your brush inside a container filled with boiling vinegar over medium-high heat and allow to cool before handling.

Once your brush has had a quick rinse, wash it in warm, soapy water to restore its shape. Dry your brush thoroughly with the bristles pointed down for maximum retention of shape.

Use a small bristle brush to loosen any paint knots that have formed. After you are finished, rinse the bristles several times until you achieve your desired results.

Gently dry and store your brushes away after use.

how to clean paint brush
Image by Freepik

Once your paint brushes have been cleaned, wrap them in plastic and secure with a twist tie. Doing this will guarantee the bristles remain stable until dry.

Be gentle when handling the brush, as over squeezing could damage its shape. Furthermore, keep them dry and away from heat or dampness.

Paint brushes should never be kept upright on their bristles due to gravity’s potential damage. Instead, hang them from hooks or lay them horizontally to preserve their bristles for future uses. Reusing their original storage containers helps keep your brushes in top condition; it’s an easy way to preserve their form and extend their lives.


White paint roller on a wooden surface, ready for painting.
Image by asier_relampagoestudio on Freepik

To clean a paint roller, you will need a sponge, cloth, dishwashing liquid and warm water. Run the sponge over several times to remove any leftover paint on it; then dip the roller in warm water with several drops of dishwashing detergent and allow it to soak for at most five minutes.

Once all paint has been removed, rinse the roller thoroughly with clear water until any soap residue has been eliminated. Squeeze any excess water out of the roller and lay it flat on a dry surface to air-dry for at least overnight.

When storing rollers for extended periods of time, make sure they are dry and free from dust particles. To prevent them from becoming brittle and moldy, wrap each roller individually in plastic wrap or roll covers.

Keep all your rollers organized and labeled so you can identify which paint was used with each brush. These simple tricks will help ensure your rollers remain in top condition no matter when or where it is used.


Before beginning any painting project, it’s essential to know how to clean and store your paintbrush properly. Cleaning removes the bristles and shafts of paint from the brush, while storage in cool, dry places helps protect them from heat or moisture damage.

Brushes can also be preserved for future use by being properly cleaned and stored, helping to extend their life expectancy. Following these steps will extend the usefulness of your paintbrush, making it easier to use on your next painting project.

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