Cleaning Up After Painting

This story shows you how to maintain your painting tools with pre-conditioning and cleaning.

Cleaning Up

Quality painting tools are expensive, so it pays to keep your brushes, rollers, and spray equipment in good condition. The first step in tool maintenance is preconditioning them before use. The second step is cleaning them thoroughly afterward.

Precondition natural-bristle brushes by spraying a small amount of nonsilicone spray lubricant on them and working the lubricant into the bristles. This helps keep the natural oils from drying out.

Precondition synthetic bristles by dunking the brush in liquid fabric softener and rinsing. Fabric softener is a surfactant, which makes water-base emulsions (such as latex paints) flow more easily.

All frequently used brushes will profit from periodic reconditioning. Some painters stop to clean their brushes and rollers once every couple of hours. This removes paint that has inevitably begun to set up in brushes and rollers from exposure to the air in the room.

When you've completed the cleanup, dry the brushes and rollers with paper towels and dispose of the towels properly.

Cleaning brushes: Step 1

Remove excess paint from a brush by scraping it with the edge of a 5-in-1 tool or a brush-comb made specifically for this purpose. If you don't have a metal brush-comb, you can use an old comb with wide teeth or break out every other tooth from a narrow-toothed comb.

Cleaning brushes: Step 2

Mix 1/2 cup of liquid fabric softener in a gallon of warm water, and soak the brush in this solution for about 15 minutes. Do not use hot water, which can soften the temper of the bristles and ruin the brush. Swish the brush around in the solution periodically.

Cleaning brushes: Step 3

Set up a 5-gallon bucket by lining it with a trash bag and cutting a hole in the top. Snap the top on in a couple of places (just to keep it in place) and attach your brush to a brush spinner. Lower the brush into the bucket and spin it dry, then dry any excess with paper towels.

Cleaning rollers: Step 1

Even when you think a roller cover has exhausted its paint supply, you'll be surprised at how much paint it still holds. Scrape this excess out of the cover with the curved side of a 5-in-1 tool. Let the excess fall into the roller tray and dump the paint into the original paint can.

Cleaning rollers: Step 2

Soak the roller cover in a fabric-softener solution (see Cleaning Brushes step 2) and rescrape the cover periodically. Remove the cover from the cage and rinse it in water, squeezing the diluted paint into a work sink or bucket. Repeat as necessary.


Comments (1)
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tacooper344 wrote:

my 3 year old decided to paint some stone siding on our house with red acrylic model paint. Any suggestions to get it off, or at least lighten it?

4/13/2013 10:31:59 AM Report Abuse
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