Clean a varnish, paint and stain brush

How do you clean your paint brushes? Did you use your brush to paint a wall, to stain the terrace or to varnish wood? It is now important to clean this brush well.

In order to be able to reuse the brushes several times here are my tips and tricks for maintaining and cleaning varnish, stain and paint brushes. Happy cleaning!

1. Clean a polish brush easily

If you have just used a varnish brush to varnish wood (deck, patio, board) it is important to clean it quickly after use.

So here’s how to clean a varnish brush:

  1. Add water and liquid dish soap to a container.
  2. Soak the varnish brush in the solution for a few minutes.
  3. Rinse, wring well and store for next use.

What to do with a varnish brush that has hardened?

Even if the cleaning has been done well, it is possible that the brush still hardens. Here is a little trick to avoid ending up with a rock-hard brush during future paint jobs:

Soak varnish and paint brushes in olive oil and follow with liquid dish soap for very clean and supple brushes.

2. Clean a paint brush: Water or White Spirit?

Depending on the type of paint or other products you have used with your brushes, you will have to choose the right cleaning product.

For water-based paint:

If you have painted a wall with water-based paint then cleaning will be very easy. In fact, all you have to do is clean the brush with lukewarm water and dry well before storing.

For paint and solvent-based product:

For solvent-based products and « oil » paint, the most effective product remains white spirit. Just soak the brush in this liquid, wring it out and repeat until the brush is clean.

3. Soak the brush in liquid black soap

Another tip for properly cleaning paint brushes is to use liquid black soap.

This trick is only effective if you used latex paint and other water-based products with the brush.

Here is how to clean with this soap:

  1. Soak the paint brushes directly in the liquid black soap.
  2. Leave the brush on for as long as possible, rinse and wring well to finish.

4. Clean a brush with warm water

If you forgot to clean a brush and it is completely dry and hard putting hot water then hot water can help you.

Here’s how to salvage that old, dried-up brush:

  1. Soak the dried brush in hot (very hot) water.
  2. Leave on until the bristles soften and remove the paint which will come off easily.
  3. Use a solvent product to finish cleaning and rinse to finish.

5. Clean Paint Brushes Naturally

If you don’t want to use a solvent product like white spirit to clean your brushes with varnish and/or oil paint, we have a more « ecological » solution to offer you.

Here’s how to do this cleaning:

  1. Clean the brush with a mixture of warm water and Marseille soap.
  2. Wring out the brush and clean now with turpentine.
  3. Wring again and clean with soapy water.
  4. Rinse, wring out and allow the paint brush to dry upside down.

6. Other tips for cleaning and maintaining a brush

Here are more tips and advice for both cleaning varnish and paint brushes and for their maintenance.

  • Never twist the bristles of the brush while wringing.
  • Shake (always in the same direction) the brush to squeeze out as much water as possible.
  • Hang bristles down for perfect drying.
  • Store brushes flat or hanging them up.
  • Clean as soon as possible after use.
  • Use a paintbrush for cleaning painter’s brushes.

Now that the paint job is done, do you know what to do about the bad smell of paint? Come read our tips here: How to remove paint smell?

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