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Home Craft How to Clean Paint Brushes and Rollers (So You Can Actually Reuse Them)

How to Clean Paint Brushes and Rollers (So You Can Actually Reuse Them)

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Photo: Nataliia Liubinetska (Shutterstock)

When you finish up painting a room, piece of furniture, or other project, the last thing you want to do is clean up the mess you’ve made. But if you’ve invested in decent-quality paint brushes and rollers, you probably want to use them more than once. And taking a few minutes to clean them right away will save you a lot of time and hassle later on. Here’s what to do.

Prep your brushes and rollers before you paint

There are a few things you can do to make cleaning your brushes and rollers easier even before you start to paint. First, run your hands through the bristles of the dry brush to remove any that have fallen out, and any other dust, debris, or hairs that may have gotten stuck.

If you’re using a roller, wrap painter’s tape around it and then peel it off to get rid of any lint, fibers, or fuzz. Taking these steps will keep the debris out of the paint, and make your job easier.

How to clean paint brushes

Here’s how to tackle your paintbrushes:

  1. Put on a pair of rubber gloves.
  1. Scrape the bristles on the edge of the can as you remove it, then use up any remaining paint on a newspaper.
  2. If you used water-based paint: Fill a bucket or the sink with hot water and a squirt of mild dish soap.
    If you used oil-based paint: Fill a bucket with mineral spirits or turpentine.
  3. Swish and swirl the brush around in the liquid, using your fingers to work the paint out of the bristles, then wiping them on the inside of the container. If paint dried on some of the bristles, leave the brush in the liquid to soak.
  4. Rinse the brush in (new) hot, soapy water. Then give them a final rinse in clean water.
  5. Shake the brush to remove any excess water.

How to clean rollers

And here’s how to get the paint off rollers:

  1. Put on a pair of rubber gloves.
  2. Use a putty knife or another tool with a similar type of flat edge to scrape paint off the roller.
  3. Roll out any excess paint on a piece of newspaper.
  4. If you used water-based paint: Fill a bucket or the sink with hot water and a squirt of mild dish soap.
    If you used oil-based paint: Fill a bucket with mineral spirits or turpentine.
  5. Massage the paint out of the roller using your hands while it’s submerged in the liquid.
  6. Rinse the roller in the sink, under a stream of water.
  7. Stand the roller upright on its end to dry.

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