Painting Clean Up and Storage

by Shelley SmithJuly 19, 2018

Sometimes the most expensive part of a painting project isn’t even actually the paint itself, but the tools we use to accomplish our task. So here are some cool tools and great tips to show you how to properly clean up and store your paintbrushes, rollers and other painting supplies once you’re done with them.

Clean as you go

Remember the bucket of water and rag we talked about in our Prepping to Paint post earlier? Well, there’s a reason you have it! Virtually no paint job can go undone without a few splatters or small drips, so when they do, make sure to clean them up right away. This will keep your paint from drying on unwanted surfaces and becoming a lot more difficult to remove later on.

Unloading and Storing Excess Paint

Wipe your brush along your painting pan to release any excess paint. If you still have a significant amount of paint left in your painting tray after your job is done, make sure to pour the rest back into your paint can, to save for future touch-ups. Once your paint is in the can, take a screwdriver, wrapped in paper towel and clean the edges before applying back on the seal. This will make it a whole lot easier when trying to open the can next time, and also cut back on rust.

Also, before adhering the lid to your paint can, cover the top with a piece of plastic. Then secure the lid on top using a rubber mallet and store upside down, so that the weight from the paint, creates it’s own seal. This will help your paint last longer and not dry out. Make sure that your paint is also stored in a place where it won’t freeze OR get too hot.

Brush and Roller Cleanup

If you’re working with latex based paints then your brush will clean easily with warm water. Simply run your brush under the water and then use your other hand to gently spread out the bristles from the middle to the edges, letting the water run through your fingers. Once your water runs clear, your brush is clean!

When cleaning your brushes you may have some areas that have dried on paint, which can make your bristles stick and over time will create uneven brush strokes. A painting comb will help release any dried-on paint build up and separate the individual bristles.

After your brush is rinsed clean, combine a mixture of 1gallon of warm water to 1/2 cup of liquid fabric softener and let your paint brushes soak for about 10 seconds. Swishing them around to release any additional paint bits, and DO NOT rise, just pat dry, or use a paint brush spinner to remove all excess liquid. If you do this each time BEFORE you store your brushes, it will keep them soft, supple, and ready for your next painting project!

You should try to clean your paint brushes immediately after your painting project is over, but if you forget, or accidentally leave your brush out, a great tip to loosen up stiff, dried-on-paint bristles is to submerge them into boiling vinegar. This will loosen up any paint left over and hopefully restore your brush to it’s original state.

The same clean up methods go for rollers too. Simply use your 5 in 1 tool to scrape off excess paint, then run your roller under warm water to rinse clear, and stand it up on it’s end to dry.

Unlike paintbrushes that can live a long life, with proper cleaning… rollers have a nap that only after a few uses can start to shed into your paint or on your wall. For this reason roller sleeves should be replaced more often. When storing your paintbrushes and rollers, hang them upside down in a dust free environment, so that they can maintain their original smooth shape.

Even though most of us dread the clean up portion of painting, you AND your wallet will definitely be happier when the next painting project comes around, and your tools are perfect, and ready to use!

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Shelley Smith