Cleaning Paint Brushes so That They Stay Soft?


Postby the2ems » Wed Mar 19, 2014 10:33 am

Seems a simple thing, but I have started having problems cleaning paint brushes after using oil/solvent based paint. In the past I have always used white spirit, followed by warm running water and washing up liquid. But lately the bristles never seem to come clean. They always feel a bit "greasy" and when dry are quite stiff, so that I have to bend them back and forth to break them apart. But they never seem to be as soft and flexible as when new. Have they changed white spirit in some way so that it isn't so effective? Should I use a specific paint brush cleaner? I always thought this was just another way of getting more money out of the unwary.
I would be really grateful for any advice.

Cheers
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Postby MrsDIYDigger » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:38 pm

I've recently started using acetone followed by olive oil, and that seems to be working well - you do have to repeat the steps a couple of times though.
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Postby jazzer » Tue May 13, 2014 7:22 pm

How long are you leaving the brushes in white spirits?

I leave mine in over night then brush out on an old piece of timber until clean.
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Postby the2ems » Tue May 13, 2014 9:24 pm

I don't soak them. Just a good up and down in the spirit till it looks clean. Then soapy water.
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Postby jazzer » Thu May 15, 2014 6:45 am

the2ems wrote:I don't soak them. Just a good up and down in the spirit till it looks clean. Then soapy water.



Double check it is oil based, as I bought water based paint by mistake some time ago and then proceeded to use white spirit to clean them. That doesn't work.
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Postby diyjim » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:04 am

I clean oil-based paint brushes with the emulsifier from the emulsion. Work out most of the oil based paint and then work in some emulsion. They can then be washed in Water. I now use the "Wash A Way" cleaning board at under £5 it cleans in under 30 seconds, emulsion, oil, acrylic etc. I also learned from signwriting this method looks after the softness of bristles much better and it translates to any sized brush. The use some lanolin before storing really softens.
Washing up liquid is also an emulsifier though not as strong as that in the emulsion, it can be used instead but I prefer to add some to the bristles before storage as I can shape the brush before drying and know it will come back to life the moment it hits the paint.
I hope this is useful as I have been painting for 49 years and thought it about time I shared some tips.
note: the Wash A Way also cleans rollers faaaast
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Postby pjohnson1970 » Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:24 am

I'd always use white spirit and soak overnight, although I know for oil based paints emulsion is also a great option.
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Postby homedesigner12 » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:21 pm

I think acetone is a great suggestion! I've used it before and it works like a charm. :)
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