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How To Clean Paint Brushes And Rollers After Painting

How To Clean Paint Brushes And Rollers After Painting

Stubborn paint on rollers and brushes can be tricky to clean, and will ruin your decorating tools. We show you how to avoid such paint based problems after your DIY jobs are done.

Step 1: You will need

  • Paint thinners
  • A plastic bag
  • An empty jar
  • Washing up liquid
  • And plenty of clean running water

Step 2: Prepare for cleaning

Don't waste any paint left over in the paint tray. Lean it against a wall and allow to drain into the paint can. Not only does this save paint, it also means that an empty tray is much easier for you to clean.

Put the lid on the paint can. A top tip is to mark the can with a dollop of paint showing the colour of the paint inside and a label showing which room it was used in. This means for future touch-ups you can easily identify it amongst other paint cans in the garage or basement.

If you haven't quite finished painting the room and plan to continue the following day, then don't waste time and water cleaning the roller, place it into a plastic bag. This will keep the paint from drying.

Step 3: Cleaning brushes and rollers that have been used with water based paints

If you have been using a water based paint, like emulsion, then you can clean you brush in water. Simply rinse the brush under running water to remove the bulk of the paint. Then spread the bristles with your hand allowing the water to flow through the centre of the brush. When the water runs clean, the brush is too.

The principle is the same for a roller itself, although rollers hold a lot more paint. To make it more manageable, remove the roller from the handle. Under running water gently squeeze the roller from the middle out. Rotate through 180 degrees and do the same from the other end. Repeat until the water runs clean, which can take a while so be patient. Now stand the roller to dry

Step 4: Cleaning brushes that have been used with oil based paints

Oil based paints like gloss and primers are commonly used for wall repairs, baseboards and doors. Brushes used with these types of paint cannot be cleaned in water. Fill an empty jar with 2 to 3 inches of turpentine, or Paint Thinner. Gently push the brush up and down in the thinner until the paint starts to lift from the bristles. Repeat until the thinner takes on the colour of the paint. Now remove the brush. Cover the bristles in washing up liquid and rinse in water. This will break down the thinner, removing it and any remaining paint from the brush. Now let the brush dry. Do not pour thinner down the drain – follow the instructions on the container as to proper disposal.

Step 5: Clean the paint tray

It is important to clean the paint tray as old paint can lift when used with fresh paint another day. This means you could end up with lumps of paint skin streaking across your newly, and badly, painted walls. So it's important to take your time to thoroughly clean the tray.