Cleaning and restoring paint brushes can be a real chore but life can be put back into those expensive brushes you thought you would have to throw away. To get maximum value from brush restoring you can follow the instructions below..
Cleaning brushes immediately after use is the best option if possible, but if you are continually using the same brushes during the day, with breaks only for lunch and tea, then remove as much surplus paint as possible and wrap the brush in cling film. Stopping the air getting to the bristles will allow them to stay workable for quite some time.
To clean the brushes after use, get as much paint out as possible by brushing it on newspaper, wiping with a rag and pushing the brush hard against the edge of the paint pot and squeezing out as much paint as possible. You can even lay the brush flat on the newspaper and push down the length of the bristles with a paint scraper.
Rinse any water based paints under a running tap. Slightly warm water is best and work your fingers through the bristles as you flush. A drop of fairy liquid will not hurt and the water should be crystal clear before you finish.
When you have been using oil based paints, put on some household rubber gloves and tip some white spirit into a paint kettle or bowl. Put the brush in and work the white spirit into the bristles well. Repeat in clean white spirit until it remains fairly clear. Only a little white spirit is needed in the bottom of the bowl or kettle but remember white spirit is cheaper than good paint brushes. When you are sure the brush is clean, swap the white spirit for hot, soapy water, work the bristles thoroughly and finally rinse out under a warm tap. Shake as much of the water out as possible and run the brush gently up and down a sheet of newspaper. Wrap the brush, in its natural shape, in 5 or six sheets of newspaper thickness and hold together with an elastic band.
If a brush has been left for a long time then it should be soaked in brush restorer ( See directions on the restorer) until soft, then the above instructions should be applied.
For an interesting film on "sponging techniques", go to our video section on painting to see how it is done.