Care and Cleaning of Paintbrushes

For many of us, painting is the greatest pleasure, but cleanup is absolutely tedious. Yet, we want to remind you that taking care of your paintbrushes is crucial unless, of course, you have the means to purchase new paintbrushes at very regular intervals. Caring for your brushes doesn’t have to be a burden. Follow these simple tips, and you’ll find your paintbrushes last much longer, and your budget for other paint supplies, like paint, may even increase:

  1. Clean your brush immediately after using it. This is especially important in the case of acrylic paints, as those set up fast and can ruin a brush if not cleaned right away.
  2. Clean your brushes between painting sessions with soapy water. You may be tempted to dip your brush in water or mineral spirits and put it away until your next painting session, but that won’t extend the life of your brush. However, a good scrubbing in soapy water, using shampoo, dishwashing liquid, or brush cleaner, followed by a thorough rinsing with lukewarm to cool water, is guaranteed to keep your paintbrushes useful for a much longer time.
  3. Don’t forget to clean the base of the brush, or the ferrule. As you’ve probably experienced, the tip of a paintbrush eventually gets spread more and more apart when the base of your brush starts accumulating hardened paint. So, do your best to wash the ferrule in soapy, lukewarm to cool water, as well.
  4. Never store your paintbrushes vertically in liquid. First off, a brush regularly stored on its tip will eventually lose its shape and never get it back. And secondly, storing the brush in solvent, water, or other liquid can cause the ferrule, and/or the handle, to erode, swell, or even crack.
  5. Store brushes vertically, brush side up, or horizontally. When storing brushes vertically, with brush side up, make sure that they’re not resting against the tips of other brushes. Better yet, consider investing in a canvas carrying case with individual brush pockets, or storing your brushes in a drawer.

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