Taking Care, Cleaning Quality Paint Brushes
Taking care, cleaning quality paint brushes giving you cleaning tips. Having used quality paint brushes, so taking care of them will last many years. This article will dive deep into safekeeping, lasting several decades.
Professional paint brushes are not cheap, costing anywhere from fifteen to twenty-five dollars, so proper care will prolong it's value in your tool box.
Paint Brush Care Cleaning Maintenance
Over the years you may find yourself using a paint brush, painting something in around the house. Areas of interior or exterior painting could include where the weekly vacuum cleaner leaving black marks on the baseboards, or those typical 4' high tiny hand prints on walls, to chipping paint around exterior window frames.
Other examples using a quality paint brush, painting a closet door on a Saturday afternoon, or touching up bottom of garage door frames. What ever reason, top paint brush deserves it's attention keeping pristine, just as a favored antique tool from grandpa's workshop, deserves it's cleaning, also care.
- Wet brush before using
- Shake out or blot excess water or solvent
- Use Maxwell House™ coffee can
- Wrap up like a burrito, in plastic
- Saturate bristles with turpentine, storing long periods
- Don't try using wire brush on dried paint brush without softening the paint first
- Once cleaned, keeping the paint brush clean will add many more paint applications
Note; Safety Precautions for cleaning and brush maintenance are listed at the bottom of this article.
What ever brand of paint brush one chooses to buy, techniques listed here coincide with all paint brushes. These techniques will help lesser quality paint brushes as well.
Before you open a gallon of paint, the favorite paint brush should be at your side. Taking paint brush by the handle, thoroughly soaking it in clean tap water before you dip it in latex paint (soaking in mineral spirits if using Alkyd or Oil paint) will enhance your brush cleaning later on.
Getting the excess water or mineral spirits out of the brush is going to be next question, as it would be mine, if I did not know it.
When using latex paints, hold brush firmly by end of the handle, tapping the head of on the end of your shoe or boot, giving a few good forceful whacks. Paint brush is dry enough to dip in paint, but wet enough for an even flow of paint, and easier cleanup later on.
This can be repeated if paint brush shows signs of drying out before the painting job is completed. If using Alkyd paints, try just blot drying with clean rag, instead hitting on end of boot.
Lets say you were using a 4" Fine China Bristle paint brush in some Alkyd enamel paint. And lets say paint did not cover in 1-2 coats being such a dark tint that many do not cover in one coat. What do you do?
A good disposable container may be close by in a newly formed 2lb-7oz. Maxwell House™ coffee can with snap on lid.
Cut a small X in the center of lid, filling container up 2-3" of Painters Mineral Spirits or Lacquer Thinner. Placing brush in container, running handle through lid's X, snapping it shut when not in use, after each paint application.
Another way is placing brush into paint or stain, using a small piece of plastic, covering entire top, masking top edge, making several laps of tape.
This will keep it moist, ready for next use, with no cleanup in between, only having to blot it dry on a clean rag next time.
Maxwell House™ container also makes a perfect cut-in bucket having an easy built-in handle right onto container, for ease of handling painting interior projects or painting exterior projects on a smaller scale.
Well OK, you don't drink coffee, also container empty or not available, no problem! Resort to next step. This is where some of that extra plastic film and masking tape comes in handy.
Taking a loaded paint brush, filled with paint, and wrapping it up like a burrito. Using some masking tape, folding all open ends, taping around brush head for no leakage, ready to unwrap on next paint application.
If storing brush for a longer term, once cleaned, saturate bristles with turpentine, not shaking out excess solvents, wrapping it up in plastic, which will enhance original shape and form of brush. This will care for bristles, keeping it moist with mineral spirits, or turpentine gum base.
I really like the smell of turpentine, and has been a main staple solvent for painters way back to the 1920's.
Plastic sheathing and masking tape was not available at end of the painting project for whatever reason, I have no idea, but you have a paint brush that if not cared for will eventually dry up.
Last solution that works well, is to take a sopping wet rag, wrapping brush up like that burrito you missed wrapping up earlier. This will buy you some time until either you use the paint brush again, or you can properly clean it later.
Another idea keeping professional paint brush moist until next paint coat is applied (but not leaving for extended periods) is leaving brush in container.
If plastic and masking tape is still not available, with time between coats is not very long, pick up that sopping wet rag. Draping over top of paint bucket with paint brush still in it. This technique works best when using Latex waterborne paints.
Brush shown in pic above is extra thick for extra coverage. 4" Bestt Liebco™ Professional brush with finest China bristle, #103. Great for stains, preservatives, also waterproofing products. Lays products on evenly, holding much more stain product than typical brushes.
Don't try using wire brush on dried paint brush without softening the paint first, as this will harm bristles while not adequately removing paint anyway.
Best to soak that brush in a container using Lacquer Thinner, even if dried paint was a Latex.
Cleaning fresh paint on best brushes, using 50% warm water, & 50% fabric softener, swishing it around in mixture 30 seconds.
Like using a long handled BBQ like steel wire brush, brushing out the paint after dried paint starts melting in the bristles. Lacquer Thinners act as a paint remover to Latex as well as Alkyds.
This technique may take several applications time soaking, depending on how much paint was dried into painting tool. Once cleaned, properly store it wrapping in plastic mentioned above.
Cleaning should be done outside over a heavy canvas drop cloth that can be left to dry out also. Once cleaned, keeping the paint brush clean will add many more paint applications for years to come.
If bristles have become "Bent" drying that way say in the bottom of a bucket of paint, once cleaned, store it wet with Turpentine, wrapping in plastic described above will straighten bristles back out to original shape and form.
Important Note-Safety Precautions
Remembering Job Safety #1
- Adequate Ventilation must be available, never use solvents in a confined area
- Eye Protection & Respirator with charcoal filters are a necessity
- Rubber latex gloves keep contaminants and chemicals from skin absorption
- All rags used should be laid out flat, wadded up is a fire hazard and could easily ignite
- All open flames such as pilot lights for water heaters, stoves, and furnaces should be turned off, even on different levels of work space
Taking proper care of your quality paint brush will last nearly a lift-time, applying another smooth, even paint coat.
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