Use These Guides to Keep Your Painting Tools in Great Shape
If your paint tools are in bad shape, all the effort you put into perfecting your technique for cutting in along trim and carefully peeling off painter’s tape will be wasted. An easy and quick baluster touchup could turn into a streaked mess if you use ragged brush bristles. In the pursuit of clean lines and pro-level paint jobs, we asked interior & exterior house painter for their best cleaning and care tips for their tools.
First, you should treat your paint tools as investments. With a proper care, you can expect a paintbrush or roller to last about three to six months. Use these tricks when prepping your tools to improve their performance. Loosen new brush by pinching the end of the bristles then lightly pull away from the brush to remove any loose strands. If you’re working with latex paints, dip the brush in a glass of water to remove lint.
You can save yourself some trouble during longer projects that need more than one day by skipping mid-project cleaning. Wrap your used paintbrush or roller cover in plastic wrap or heavy-duty aluminum foil to Keep it fresh between coats, or even overnight. If you plan on waiting more than 24 hours to use them, drop them in an airtight bag, squeeze out all of the air, and place them in your fridge to keep the paint fresh.
After your painting project is completed always clean your brushes and rollers immediately. Paintbrushes shouldn’t be too difficult to clean if you treat them right. First, you must remove all excess paint from the brush, roller, paint tray, or roller frame. For paint trays, Burt recommends using the heavy plastic kind, brushing excess paint back into the can, and letting the final layer of paint dry instead of rinsing out.
Different type paints have different rinsing method. You can use warm water and about a teaspoon of soap for water-based paint. For a brush, use your fingers to push the paint through and out of the bristles, pressing them up against the base of the sink and scrubbing paint stuck to the outside of bristles with a scrub sponge. For a roller cover, run a 5-in-1 tool’s curved blade down the cover to remove excess paint, pull the cover halfway off the frame and run it under warm water, working with your fingers to get the paint loose from fibers.
For oil-based paint, we highly recommend you to uses odorless mineral spirits. When cleaning a brush, pour some solvent in a container and swing the tool, using the edges of the container to push out paint. Then rinse it with clean mineral spirits. For a roller cover, remove excess paint with a 5-in-1, dip and roll it around in a paint tray filled with solvent, and do a final rinse with clean solvent.
Regardless of paint type, you can use a wire brush to get paint out from between brush bristles.
All the work you’ve done for your tools will be wasted unless you take care to store them properly for the next use. It’s important to store paintbrushes back in their original protective covers. If you lose them, you could make your own cover using duct tape and cardboard.