How to clean your paint brushes and rollers

You’ve just completed your paint job and are pleased with your handy work, but now comes the cleanup.  Cleaning paint can be messy, but if you do it correctly, you can avoid ruining your paintbrushes and rollers, so you don’t have to throw them away. Furthermore, not sufficiently cleaning your brushes and rollers leads to dried paint flecks which will transfer onto your walls the next time you use them. So, to help you avoid wasting money and ruining your next paint job, here is our complete guide on how to clean your paintbrushes and rollers.

Table of contents

Tools you will need

How to clean your paint brushes and rollers

How to clean paintbrushes

Firstly, scrape off as much paint as possible back into the paint tub. If you’re using water-based paint, you can easily wash this with soap and water.

  1. Get a bucket you don’t mind getting dirty and fill it with soapy water. You can leave your brushes to soak for a few hours. 
  2. Refill the bucket with soapy water and work the paint out of the bristles with your gloved hands.
  3. Shake off any excess water and paint into the bucket.
  4. Next, fill the bucket with water and rinse the brush off. Leaving too much soap on the paintbrush can damage the bristles. 
  5. To wash the base, rinse under a tap with the bristles pointing up towards the spout.

Use cold or tepid water as hot water can set some paints. Always read the instruction for the paint tubs before cleaning.

How to clean paintbrushes with white spirit

Use white spirit to clean your paint brushes when using oil or solvent-based paint. It will thin the paint and help lift it from the bristles. (Remember to be careful when using white spirit and other hazardous chemicals).

  1. Pour a small amount of white spirit into a jar and work the brush against the sides to get it into the base of the bristles.
  2. Repeat this process until the bristles run clean in water.
  3. Rinse the brush under the tap and dry with a clean cloth.
  4. Do not pour the leftover white spirit down the sink. Leave the jar to let the paint settle at the bottom. Pour the clear liquid back into the white spirit container, as you can reuse this. Then let the paint lumps dry and throw them in the bin.

How to get dried paint out of brushes

You can wrap the bristles of your paintbrush in clingfilm to prevent the paint from drying out so you can easily resume painting after a break. However, if you’ve accidentally left your brush out in the air and the paint has dried to the bristles, all is not lost. You don’t have to throw your paintbrush away. Soapy water will suffice for water-based paints, as the warm water will soften the dried paint.

  1. Prepare a warm soapy water mixture in a cleaning container, submerge the bristles and soak. 
  2. Work the bristles with your fingers to dislodge the paint and soak again for half an hour. 
  3. Use a stiff wire brush to rub along the grain of the bristles to remove the softened paint and rinse under clean water. 
  4. Repeat until all the paint is gone.

For more stubborn latex-based paint, use a paint thinner instead of soapy water and follow the steps above, except don’t submerge the handle. When it’s time to soak the bristles, use a clamp to suspend the brush in the white spirit.

Take care with paint cleaners and thinners. The fumes and vapours are flammable. So, keep out of reach of children, cover the container and leave it in a well-ventilated area when soaking.

If your paint job takes multiple days, you won’t have to clean your paintbrush at the end of every day. Instead, wrap your paintbrush in cling film and seal it in a bag to prevent it from drying out. Use it again the next day.

How to clean a paint roller

How to clean a paint roller

Cleaning a paint roller can be tricky and messy. Roller sleeves hold a lot of paint. But with the right tools and methods, you can avoid wasting paint and throwing it away.

  1. First, scrape excess paint back into the tub with your multi-tool scraper. These have a curved edge to match the curved roller. 
  2. Disassemble the roller from the frame and, wearing plastic gloves, clean the frame with warm water, dish soap and a wire brush.
  3. Then rinse the roller with warm water.
  4. Add dish soap and work into a lather to remove the rest of the paint.
  5. Rinse under a tap.
  6. After the final rinse, stand upright to let it air dry and to avoid crushing the fibres.

Use white spirit to clean your roller if you’ve used solvent-based paint.

  1. Pour the white spirit into a cleaning container, submerge and circulate it through the roller.
  2. Let it soak for a few minutes. 
  3. Squeeze the excess paint and white spirit from the roller with gloved hands and repeat with the new solvent until it runs clean.

Don’t clean your roller if you will paint the same colour the next day. It might not dry completely, and a wet roller will ruin your paint job. Instead, leave the roller in the tub submerged in the paint until the next day. As a result, this will stop your roller from drying out and save you a cleaning job.

How to change a paint roller

Sometimes, changing your paint roller can be tricky, especially if you’ve left it on the frame for some time. Make sure you remove your roller and clean it every time you finish a day of painting and clean the roller and frame to avoid them sticking together. 

Wear plastic gloves to slide the cover off the frame so your hands stay clean. Hold the angled metal section of the roller frame and, with force, slide the roller sleeve down off the roller frame. 
The Purdy Cageless and Adjustable Roller Frames make it easy to change your paint roller. Our Purdy adjustable roller frames feature a cam latch system for quick adjustment and release.

Keeping your painting and decorating tools clean with Build & Plumb

Hopefully, you’ll now be able to complete your painting project and keep your painting equipment clean and in top condition for the next paint job. Save money on buying paint brushes and rollers and help protect the environment by learning how to clean them properly. Why not browse our collections of paint brushes, rollers and sleeves for professional quality painting tools and accessories that will last multiple uses?

Related articles

Comments are closed here.