The Easiest (and Cheapest!) Way to Clean Paint Brushes

When I am done painting each day, the last thing I want to do is stand at the sink and clean my brushes but I have come to appreciate how important it is. Cleaning paint brushes can be a real pain in the b-u-t-t... but... when done properly, can add years to the life of your brushes.
Many paint companies have come up with brush cleaners as part of their paint lines now and while they work well, they can be pricey. My very favourite soap though, despite trying many, is still the one you can find in any grocery store.
Dawn liquid dish soap, known for being gentle, is what I still prefer to use on a daily basis to clean my brushes. It does a great job at protecting the bristles while thoroughly getting all of the paint off. I have used it many, many times and have always been pleased with what a great job it did.

When I am ready to clean my dirty brushes after painting, the first thing I do is run then under warm water to get the bulk of the paint off. I then put a couple of drops of the Dawn on the bristles and work the soap in by rubbing them in the palm of my hand. Once the soap has done it's job, and cut through the left over goop, I run the brush under the warm water again until it runs clean.
After my brushes are completely clean, I use some of Miss Mustard Seed's Brush Soap to condition the bristles on my brushes.
I keep the bar of conditioning soap in a little dish by the sink and I run the wet bristles over it a few times after I have cleaned them. I massage it in, in the same way I did with the Dawn, and then wash it off with the warm water. This soap does a great job of adding a little moisture to the bristles and protecting them... like hand lotion does to your hands.
Paint brushes can be expensive and taking a few minutes to protect your investment at the end of each paint session can really help to prolong their life.
I have quite the crazy collection of brushes, and thankfully, I have yet had the need to replace any of them because the bristles were "glued" together with paint.
Recreated Designs
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  • Schaly McCullen Schaly McCullen on Apr 30, 2018

    I'll try this next time I paint. Great tip! I have been using fabric softener to clean my brushes for several years. A tip I had received from a professional painter. After rinsing most of the paint off, pour some into a baggie or bowl and let the brushes sit in about 10 minutes. Then rinse.

  • Ela32551992 Ela32551992 on Apr 30, 2018

    I think it depends of the kind of paint you are using ...

    • Recreated Designs Recreated Designs on Apr 30, 2018

      Yes for sure. I use latex, chalk, mineral and milk paints on a daily basis and it works great for those. I do not use oil paints so am not sure how it would work for cleaning those brushes.