ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Paint Brushes-Msking Your Investment Last Longer

Updated on February 21, 2023
linfcor profile image

Paper crafting has always been my passion, Now I am sharing what I have learned and experienced with the paper crafting community.

I love to craft in different media. I use acrylics, water colors, glitter glue, modge podge, and more. So naturally, I have a lot of paint brushes for different projects. I have gone and ruined a few brushes, walking away and leaving material on them to dry. It's not intentional, but my craft budget is limited and it started to drive me crazy replacing my brushes. So I developed new habits about caring for my craft paint brushes and you can too.

Let's face it, paintbrushes, especially the good ones are an investment. So, taking care of them saves time and money too. Makes sense, right?

Crafters need to keep their brushes cleaned and well conditioned. No matter what grade of paint brush you have bought, it's important to keep them clean. Otherwise, you will wind up spending your craft dollars replacing them. Keeping them clean and ready to go, just makes your whole experience more rewarding !

How To Store Your Brushes

Make sure that brushes aren’t resting against the tips of other brushes, or they can become deformed. Many artists keep their brushes rolled in canvas sleeves with individual pockets for each brush, or in drawers. As long the head is undisturbed, a brush should be fine stored vertically with the head up or horizontally. Avoid packing them up too tightly.

If a brush is beyond repair, you can try soaking the brush in fabric softener for about 30 minutes, then rinse off.

If you have a paint brush with really built up paint, you can try placing some hand sanitizer on a plate.Work your brushes up and down in the Hand Sanitizer smashing down the bristles on the styrofoam plate while still keeping their natural form. Do Both sides. Keep going until paint runs dry. Rinse under running water and dry.

If you are able to, the best option is to use separate brushes for oils, water based paints, gesso, masking fluids and glues

Brush Care Tips

Caring for your brushes will allow you to keep them longer. After all, you have made an investment in each brush that you buy. Here are some tips to extend the life of your brushes.

Brushes For Oil Paints

  • If you are working in oils and your brush is a natural bristle, you can soften it by dipping it in oil.

Brushes For Acrylics

  • Acrylic brushes should always be dampened before picking up the paint, Use a shallow tray to keep the bristles of your brush damp between uses and colors. That way the acrylic paint will not dry on the brush.
  • Synthetic brushes for acrylic paints will clean up better. They are made for the demands of them.

Other Brush Tips

  • When using mediums like gesso, varnish, and masking fluid, it is important to uses separate brushes. Inexpensive brushes work fine for these mediums.
  • Never leave a brush in a container with the tip down too long, You will lose the shape of the brush.
  • Make sure that the brush is dry before storing it in a closed container. Leaving brushes that are wet in a closed container can cause mildew.
  • Never use force to force paint out of a brush. You will lose the shape. Be kind and patient with your brushes, They will last a lot longer.

Clean Your Brushes ASAP

Get that brush cleaned as soon as you are finished using them. Wipe any excess paint off with a rag or paper towel. Then clean the brush. The longer you leave the paint on the brush, the harder it will be to get it off.

How To Clean Your Paint Brushes

Time required: 15-30 minutes

Difficulty: easy

Cost: Minimal


  • Soft cloths or tissues
  • Soap or other cleaner
  • Turpentine if using oil paints


1. Wipe as much paint off your brushes as you can. Use a soft cloth or tissue. The more you are able to wipe off the better. Squeeze outward as you wipe. moving from the base of the brush outward. Be gentle so that you do not pull the bristles out..Never use a lot of pressure to force paint out of a brush. The goal is to keep the shape in your brush.

2. Rinse the brush in turpentine if you have used oil paints, or lukewarm water if you have used water based paints. Don't use hot water or it may cause the bristles to fall out.

3. Wipe the brush again with a clean dry cloth

4. Wash gently using a little bit of mild soap (or a gentle dishwashing liquid). Dab the brush gently onto the piece of soap, then work up a lather in a small container (or the palm of your hand if you're not using any toxic pigments or solvents).

5. Rinse and repeat until there's no trace of any color coming out. Over time a brush may become stained, but don't stop rinsing until you're sure there's no paint left.

6. Rinse once more in clean, lukewarm water to remove any traces of soap. Shake off the water.Use your fingers to gently shape the brush head into its correct shape.

7. Leave brush to dry at room temperature. Ensure it's not resting on its head as it will then dry misshapen. Standing it on the back of the handle works well. Always clean the brush between colors and color changes. A simple wipe won't do it. You'll carry color onward.

Before You Start Cleaning Your Brushes

Work out most of the remaining paint by painting sheets of newspaper brushing back and forth in an "X" motion until the brush is pretty dry before you start cleaning it

Water Temperature Is Important

Never Use hot water to clean your brushes ! It will cause your bristles to come out. Instead, use lukewarm water

More Paint Brush Cleaning Tips

  • Make sure to clean carefully the ferrule or base of the paintbrush. Lots of stuff can accumulate there. If you don't clean it right, you will lose the shape of the brush
  • Pat or wipe off excess paint to keep the brush as clean as possible while you’re working.
  • For acrylic paint, use a brush cleaner, or soap and water. Watercolor paint will require only rinsing in water. In either case, try not to get paint on the handles and the ferrules (the metal ring or clamp that holds the bristles in place and attached to the handle).
  • Acrylic paint dries very fast, so make sure that you don't leave brushed aside to clean later. Always have some cleaner or water available to clean brushe
  • The area near the ferrule is often the hardest to clean, but it’s actually just as important for maintaining a brush’s shape as the tip. Any paint residue that coats the bristles at their base will prevent them from coming together at the top. Gradually, your brush tip will become more and more spread apart until it no longer holds its shape.s as you change colors
  • Never place brushes vertically in water or solvent for any length if time. It will destroy the shape of the brush. he pressure on the brush can permanently misshape the bristles, bending them or spreading them out so they no longer come to a point. If they are left too long to rest on the bristles, most brushes will never regain their original shape.
  • After cleaning, use your fingers to gently work the hairs of the brush back into its natural shape. Then allow your brushes to air-dry completely before putting them away.
  • Also soaking the bristles for an hour in a budget hair conditioner greatly softens old bristles. Be sure to rinse well afterward. The old conditioner can be wiped off and reused. Trim off any wayward hairs with a pair of scissors and your brushes will last way longer.
  • Apply Vaseline to natural hair brushes before storage. Should keep hair from drying out and breaking. Only a small amount should work nicely

Separate Brushes For Different Paints

Always use separate brushes for oils and water based paints. It is also not recommended to use a brush that you have used on acrylic paints to paint in oils. Keep your brushes in separate containers marked with their uses

Use Shampoo On Brushes Before Long Term Storage

When you know you’ll be putting your brushes away for a while, a simple rinse in water (or mineral spirits for oils) isn’t good enough. Work brush soap or shampoo into the bristles of the brush all the way down to the ferrule, and rinse thoroughly with lukewarm to cool water until no trace of paint or suds are left. Some folks use dishwashing liquid and even ammonia-based glass cleaner for particularly stubborn water-soluble paints.

Another Brush Storage Tip

Make sure that brushes aren’t resting against the tips of other brushes, or they can become deformed. Many artists keep their brushes rolled in canvas sleeves with individual pockets for each brush, or in drawers. As long the head is undisturbed, a brush should be fine stored vertically with the head up or horizontally. Avoid packing them up too tightly.

Using Brushes For Glue ?

If you are using your paint brushes to apply glue or glitter glue, wipe them off right away with a paper towel and wash them ASAP ! Better than that, have special older brushes dedicated just to glue ! I buy cheap glue brushes and use them over and over again

Really Bad Hard Paint On Your Brushes-Save Them

If you really have hard paint encrusted brushes, there is one thing you can try to get them clean. Mix a few tablespoons of Murphy's Oil Soap with a few tablespoons of water in a glass jar. Allow the brushes to soak for a few days. You will be surprised at the results

© 2014 Linda F Correa


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)