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How to Clean Paint Brushes and Rollers

Ensuring your paint brushes and rollers are properly cleaned after use helps make sure they’re ready to go the next time you need them. We’ll show you how to clean various types of paint off of them to keep them look and working like they’re brand new.

Skill Level: Beginner
  1. Step 1 Remove Excess Paint from Your Brush or Roller

    A person uses a paint brush to pick up some blue paint.

    Paint brushes and roller should be properly cleaned after each painting session in order to keep them in working order. Start by removing any excess paint from your brush or roller.

    To remove paint from a brush, simply run it along the edge of the paint bucket and let it drip back in. This will help you save paint as well, so you’re not wasting it by rinsing it down the sink.

    Paint rollers can hold a surprising amount of paint. To remove excess paint from a roller, hold it over the paint bucket and scrape the roller downward into the bucket using a putty knife. Continue around the roller until most of the paint is off.

    To clean a paint tray, rinse it with soapy water and brush it with a stiff-bristled brush. Alternatively, you can simply let the paint dry and peel it off if you’d like.

  2. Step 2 Determine the Right Solvent for Your Paint

    A person dips a paint brush into a container of mineral spirits.

    Once your paint brush or roller is clear of excess paint, you’ll need can move on to cleaning it. If you’re using latex or water-based paint, warm water and a small amount of dish detergent will do the trick.

    If you’re using oil paint, you’ll need to use a solvent such as mineral spirits to properly clean your brush or roller.

  3. Step 3 Clean the Brush or Roller with Solvent

    A person washes a paint roller in a bucket.

    To clean oil-based paint from your brush or roller, place some mineral spirits in a bucket, enough to completely cover what you need cleaned.

    Wearing gloves, you can gently massage the mineral spirits through the brush or roller, making sure to get into every part, so you get all of the paint loose. After you’ve got it clean, run your hand down the roller, or squeeze the brush fibers to remove any excess mineral spirits.

  4. Step 4 Rinse and Dry Your Paint Brush or Roller

    A person uses a brush to come through the bristles of a paint brush.

    Once you’ve removed the mineral oil, simply use some warm water and dish soap to wash and rinse your brush or roller. You can even use a fine-tooth comb to brush through the bristles. Once they’ve been fully rinsed, you can let them dry and then cover them with a hard paper cover, to ensure they keep their shape. Now they’re ready for use the next time you need them!

What You Need for This Project

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