How to clean paint brushes with paint thinner?

by Abby

How to clean paint brushes with paint thinner?

  25 answers
  • We have used paint thinner to clean brushes that were left and not properly cleaned. I hope this helps!

  • Sca4116745 Sca4116745 on Aug 11, 2018

    Soak in paint thinner over night it should loosen the paint up

  • Acetone or paint thinner. Use a small toothed comb on them too

  • Christy Christy on Mar 15, 2018
    If it was acrylic paint, you should be able to put it in some more water & clean it up after letting it soak for a while. If it was an oil-based paint, you can try putting the brush in some varsol or paint thinner, but even then, they may not come clean again. Good luck!

  • Kelli L. Milligan Kelli L. Milligan on Jun 07, 2019

    Latex,, scrape off as much paint as you can, start rinsing with tap water, can use dish soap, keep rinsing until no more paint comes out, takes awhile. You can use a wire brush if have dried up clumps at base of neck to brush out.

    Oil base, do the same except use paint thinner not water.

  • Elizabeth Allen Laney Elizabeth Allen Laney on Jan 12, 2017
    I only use good brushes for artwork or house painting. You should only be dipping the brush in the paint about a half to an inch. And never, ever, get paint on the ferrule or under it. If you are using the brush right, it shouldn't be hard to clean. You basically use water to clean up latex and paint thinner for oil based paints. Hang your brushes after shaking the excess water out (a quick downward stroke) and the bristles will stay straight. Also, if your paint is too hard to remove you can use a wire paint brush cleaner (sold at Home Depot or paint stores). If you aren't going to take proper care of good brushes, then just buy crappy ones and throw them away. Your project won't turn out the same with crappy brushes, though. You can also use acetone for good brushes that have been left too long with acrylic/latex paint. You have to soak them a little.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Nov 24, 2021

    Soak the paint brush in paint thinner overnight-the bristles only.

    As Elizabeth explained, use only good brushes on the tip, 1/2"-1", no further than than.

    The paint thinner breaks apart the oils that cling to the bristles in your paint brush.

    Here's a helpful link to explain further:

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Nov 24, 2021

    Hello generally I use a glass jar with soaking the paint brush will help remove dried crusted paint. Additionally there are some products that are used to help get dried paint out of fabric or clothing.

    After cleaning store in your paint brushes in the proprietary cardboard wrap can be helpful to protect and maintain your bristles longevity

  • on Nov 24, 2021

    Paint thinner is useful for oil based paints and stains. Not too helpful for latex.

  • Mogie Mogie on Nov 24, 2021

    Step 1

    Pour a sufficient quantity of paint thinner in a clean jar; place the brush in the jar and make sure all bristles are immersed in the white spirit.

    Remove as much paint as you can by stirring the thinner with the brush but avoid crushing the bristles against the bottom of the jar – the excessive pressure could deform the bristles and damage the tool. Stir vigorously for about one minute.

    Step 2

    Pour clean thinner in the second jar and move the brush from the first jar to the second. Again, use a sufficient quantity of thinner to make sure the bristles are fully covered in liquid. Don’t dispose of the thinner in the first jar but let it sit.

    Repeat the procedure to get rid of any paint residues, stirring the brush vigorously for about a minute.

    Step 3

    Take the brush out of the jar and tap it on a clean microfiber cloth. Make some soapy water from lukewarm water and mild detergent and place the brush in it. Use your hands to get rid of the paint residues; simply squeeze the bristles between your thumb and forefinger from the base to the tip.

    When all the paint has come out, rinse the brush in running lukewarm water and tap the bristles on a clean microfiber cloth to remove excess water.

  • William William on Nov 24, 2021

    Paint thinner for oil based paint. Water and liquid dish soap for latex paint or soak in hot vinegar.

  • Yes, if it's oil-based paint or stain. It's best to soak them before they dry.

  • Tuula - Color Me Thrifty Tuula - Color Me Thrifty on Nov 24, 2021

    Paint thinner is only for oil-based paints, and with the excellent quality of latex paints these days you should be able to do most painting jobs with latex... which comes clean with just soap and water. I do a lot of painting and haven't used oil in years.

  • Betsy Betsy on Nov 24, 2021

    Hi Abby: Yes, you can use paint thinner to clean your paint brushes. Just fill a glass jar with the thinner and put your brushes in it and let them sit for about an hour, smush them around for a while, remove and wash with soap and warm water. But, before you do that, this us usually for paint that's oil based. Check your paint can and it will tell you how to clean your brushes. Usually, with latex and paints other than oil, you can wash the brushes with warm water and soap. An easy way to do this is to get a cheap hair brush, the type with those little plastic balls on top of the bristles, like from the Dollar Tree, and put liquid soap on your paint brush and then brush it with your cheap brush. You can get up into the furrule, the metal thing that's holding the brushes onto the handle. Sometimes paint gets up there. Just keep brushing one way, turning the brush over and over and it will get clean really quickly. You can even clean a roller with the cheap brush. Put a line of liquid soap on the roller, roll it in warm water and then brush it while rolling. Cleans up quite fast.

    Hope this helped.

  • Michelle Leslie Michelle Leslie on Nov 25, 2021

    Hi Abby, use paint thinner to clean oil paint. Pour some thinners in a glass jar and leave the brushes to soak for a few minutes. Whoosh them around and wipe them off with a kitchen towel. Repeat until they're clean. Please dispose the paint thinners safely -'s%20not%20dangerous%20to%20throw,event%20(see%20Step%203).

  • Lindsay Aratari Lindsay Aratari on Nov 25, 2021

    Use it overnight to let the paint soak off

  • Annie Annie on Nov 25, 2021

    Yes paint thinner will definitely work to clean paint brushes. A painting hack that we always use, because it is so much easier - after we use the brush, put it in a plastic bag (fold it up around the brush so it's airtight). Then keep it in the fridge. This way when we do another coat (or another wall) we just pull it out of the bag and start painting again.

  • We use it to clean oil based paints and oil based stains. We put the brushes in a ziploc bag.

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Nov 26, 2021

    Work thinner through the brush bristles, dipping up and down in container several times. Spin the paint brush into a waste area to remove excess thinner and then repeat process with a clean container and clean thinner.

  • Maura White Maura White on Nov 28, 2021

    Yes - if you get terpentine - a paint thinner, it thins the paint so you can more easily rinse out the paint with water (even though terpentine and water dont' mix). So if you are using oil based paint, the only way to rinse our those brushes to to use an oil based solvent like terpentine that will help pull the paint out of the brushes. If you are using acrylic paint, as long as the paint doesn't dry, you can use just water to clean the brushes.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Nov 29, 2021

    You wash them with it and you can also soak for a short period of time. I use vinegar to clean my paint brushes for a soak when they get stiff.

  • What kind of paint is on there? Is it dried or still wet? If it's latex or acrylic and still wet, soap and water cleans them up. If it's dried, The Masters Brush Cleaner is what I use. Paint thinner is good for oil type paints, let it soak a bit and use a stiff brush. Don't pour the thinner down the sink.

  • Yes! Just allow you brushes to soak in paint thinner over night.

  • Deb K Deb K on Jun 14, 2022

    Hi Abby, hope this helps you out,