Boomer’s Corner – Paintbrush Cleaning

As the area’s paint specialist, we know a lot of you do your own painting.  So, we thought you would like to know how to keep your brushes clean and in good working condition.

First, no matter how much of a hurry you’re in, at least three generous rinses are needed to properly clean your brush. If you’re right-handed, hold the brush in your left hand and dip the brush deep into the thinner or water. Next, bring the brush up until the bristles are pointing straight over the pot of thinner or water. Then, take your left hand and squeeze the bristles, forcing the water or thinner from the heel of the brush. Spin your brush in your palm to remove any excess water or thinner at the end of your last rinse. If you followed the instructions, you should see paint coming out.


I know some customers try to get that final water or thinner out by hitting the brush on top of their boot or any other hard surface. This is a big “no-no!” Doing this may cause bending in the metal frame, which holds the bristles in place and straight. If the metal is bent, it’ll cause the bristles to stick out much like a cowlick and it can loosen the parts that hold the bristles together.

Another problem I’ve found is that people use wire brushes to remove dried paint or to reshape the brush after you’re done spinning. A wire brush will damage the filament, which in turn will not let the paint flow evenly onto what you’re painting. I’d recommend a paintbrush comb that cleans from the inside out and doesn’t damage the filament.

Finally, when cleaning your natural bristle brush with a hot solvent such as lacquer thinner, it’s good to give a final rinse with mineral spirits. If you’re working with deep colors or latex, wash your brush in hot, soapy water. If it doesn’t come out thoroughly clean, do a final rinse in mineral spirits.

Also, don’t ever leave your paintbrushes in paint or water overnight. This will disfigure the bristles because of the weight of the brush sitting on the bottom of the can. When you go to use the brush, it won’t make a decent edge.

I hope this gives you a little insight on how to keep your brushes clean while lasting longer. If you need any painting inside or out, call me, Brian “Boomer” Garleb, at 618-282-3454 ext.15. I’m happy to help you with all your painting needs.