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How to Clean Paint Brushes

Washing brushes thoroughly and combing the bristles to get them completely clean will make them last much longer. Then wrap and hang them to keep the bristles straight.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

How to Clean Paint Brushes

Washing brushes thoroughly and combing the bristles to get them completely clean will make them last much longer. Then wrap and hang them to keep the bristles straight.

Tips for cleaning and storing brushes

It's wise to invest in high quality paintbrushes, and then clean them properly to make them last. To ensure you get a lifetime of use out of your paintbrushes, clean each one immediately after using it, before the paint has a chance to dry. Start by wiping the brush on newspaper to remove excess paint. Then stick the brush into a bucket of warm water (Photo 1). Move the brush around to remove as much paint as possible. Next, hold the brush under running water. Run a wire brush (or a kitchen fork) down the bristles to remove dried paint, especially near the handle (Photo 2). When the water running off the bristles turns clear, the brush is clean.

Let each paintbrush air dry, then wrap it with the cardboard cover it came in or heavy paper (like grocery bag paper). To keep the bristles straight, hang the brushes from a nail or hook, or store them flat.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Wire brush
    • Paintbrush

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