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Tips for Cleaning Your Paint & Wax Brushes

When investing in a high quality, effective, durable natural-bristle or synthetic brush, it is important you take good care of it!

This is your go-to guide for cleaning your paint and wax brushes.


Paint Brushes

After using your brush with a water based paint, rinse the brush in warm to hot water, using your fingers to work the paint through the bristles. Use a “pouncing” motion against the sink to help release the paint until the water runs clear.

To clean oil-based paint from your brush, dip your brush in a small container of solvent like mineral spirits, swishing it from side to side and using the edges of the bucket to push the paint out of the bristles. Refresh the solvent for a final rinse.

Use a gentle combing tool like this heart shaped brush scrubbie to carefully remove excess paint from between the bristles without damaging them. This is especially important if you’re using a natural bristle brush like the oval shaped Annie Sloan Paint Brushes.

Drying: You can ring out your brush by squeezing out the excess water and letting it air dry. Try to leave your brush to dry with the bristles facing down so that the water runs out and doesn’t rest in the metal parts to keep it free of rust.

Tip: If you find your brush is too full of paint and you notice paint dripping down the handle, it’s a good idea to give your brush a rinse, remove the excess water and then get back to painting!

Tip: Wetting your brush before you start painting is also a good habit since it helps loosen the fibers and spread your paint a little further.


Wax Brushes

1. Using a rag, wipe the excess wax from the brush.

2. Pour a small amount of Mineral Spirits into a container, using just enough to soak the brushes bristles.

3. Let the brush soak in the Mineral Spirits for minute or so until all the wax has dissolved. To speed things up, you can swish and press the bristles against the bottom of the container to help dissolve and remove the wax.

4. After rinsing with Mineral Spirits, gently wash the brush with a mild dish soap or lye soap.

5. Rinse and squeeze out all of the excess water and hang or set aside to dry.

Tip: It’s perfectly fine to reuse the Mineral Spirits, even if it has existing wax in it. Storing it in a resealable glass container is optimal.


Useful Tools:

Lye Soap

Lye Soap by Coda Artisans is a natural soap that comes in two sizes; Little White Lye (2.5 Oz) and Big Fat Lye (4.5 Oz)

To use it, simply rinse your brush in warm water, work the soap into the brush, then rinse and squeeze out excess water and let air dry.

It works wonders for cleaning both wax and paint brushes. It can be used on any type of brush; with both natural and synthetic bristles. It is very safe and comfortable on hands. It conditions natural bristles while cleaning them to keep them strong and resilient.

Contains: Lard, Coconut Oil, Water, Lye & a touch of white colorant.


Heart Shaped Brush Scrubbie

After lathering your brush with some soap, use this scrubbie to scrub the top of your brush in a circular motion to help release any stuck on paint.

You can also use a combing motion from the brush roots to the tip to get any paint or wax that may have stuck on to the higher parts of your brush.

It fits naturally and steady in the palm of your hand while you scrub. It also pairs great with the Lye Soap!


Mineral Spirits

    Mineral Spirits is a low odour, versatile solvent that easily removes grease and wax from brushes and surfaces. It is an excellent, easy-to-use cleaner, especially for your wax brushes.

    You can find it in our studio, or in most hardware stores.

    Do you have any brush cleaning tips of your own? Share them in the comments below! Or, if you have any questions at all, please leave us a comment.

    Do you know someone who could use this guide? Share it with them!

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