Paint Brush Care: How To Clean Dried Paint BrushesUpdated: Mar. 20, 2023
Don't throw away expensive paintbrushes—they can be saved!
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How to clean dried paint brushes
Soaking a brush
It doesn’t matter if paintbrushes have been fossilized by oil- or water-based finishes of any type. You can restore any brush with a simple soaking in brush cleaner.
Whether it’s caked with dried paint or varnish, a crusty paintbrush can be restored to like-new condition. Here’s how: Pick up a can of brush cleaner at a paint or hardware store and pour some into a glass or metal container. Drill a 1/8-in. hole through the brush so you can suspend it on a stiff wire. The brush cleaner gives off nasty, flammable vapors, so cover the container with a plastic bag and set it in the garage or outside, out of reach of children and pets. After the brush has been soaking for a day or two, most of the paint will drop off it. Then pour brush cleaner in another container and slosh the brush around to wash out the remaining paint. Let both containers sit overnight. The paint sludge will settle to the bottom, so you can pour most of the brush cleaner back into the can, ready to rescue another brush.
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Video: How to Clean Paintbrushes
Required Materials for this Project
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.
- Glass jar
- Paintbrush cleaner