The SECRET to Getting Dried Paint Out of Your Paintbrushes

Jennifer Allwood
by Jennifer Allwood
(or am I the only one who leaves their paint brushes out on accident???)
So last week I finished painting this buffet for my online "Paint Finish of the Month Club". And in typical hotmess fashion, I was so excited to get the piece put back together and get the top decorated that I failed to wash my paint brushes out right away. AND I AM SUPPOSED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL PAINTER!!! Someone please tell me they do this too????
These are just 2 of the mannnnnnnny brushes that I let harden overnight. Oops. And I don’t mind if I lose a chipbrush here and there, but I don’t like ruining my detailing brushes or my favorite chalk paint brushes. I will work to salvage those!

So I thought I would show you my BEST TIP for getting dried paint out of paint brushes. I have painted professionally for 15 years so I have accidentally ruined about ooohhhhhh..... 1294 brushes. You ready for the tip? Here it is……….
SOAK THEM IN FABRIC SOFTENER. For real. Sometimes overnight. Sometimes I soak them for a bit and then use a scrubby brush on them to help break up the dried paint and then back to soaking. I pinkie swear, this works GREAT on chalk paint and latex paint.

And if that doesn’t work or you don’t have any fabric softener, my 2nd choice for getting dried paint out of brushes is APPLE CIDER VINEGAR. It too will loosen and break up the dried paint…. it just doesn’t smell as nice as the fabric softener. =)
And look at that. I only soaked these brushes for a few hours and they are good as new.
Here is the video I put on my Facebook page at I would LOVE for you to follow me there!

And yes, I let black paint dry in my favorite chalk brush for 18 hours. But the fabric softener totally worked and my brush is good as new! It's a painting miracle!!!

I'd love to hear if YOU have any tips for getting paint out? And, be sure to come visit me at my website below for lots of other painting tips and projects!
Jennifer Allwood
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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2 of 3 comments
  • Country Design Home Country Design Home on Jan 29, 2016
    OK, well that is a great tip! I am also guilty of the "I'll clean those brushes off in a minute" crime- when they end up hard as rocks. Definitely going to try this-thanks!! BTW, that painted sideboard is amazing!
  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Jul 20, 2017

    Love the furniture makeover. I too paint. I soak all my brushes in a jar with Murphy's Oil Soap. Works great. I also 'comb' out the excess paint with a painter's brush comb. Rinse the brush in hot water, comb out, repeat soaking if needed. Artists brushes clean up wonderfully with Murphy's. Thanks for your information. Thanks for sharing.