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How to Wash Paint Rollers for Reuse

Updated on January 30, 2013
Rewashing your rollers will allow you to save money and be able to reuse a roller over and over again
Rewashing your rollers will allow you to save money and be able to reuse a roller over and over again | Source

Ah, the paint roller. It's hard to imagine painting a room without one isn't? Think about it for a second, 500 square feet of wall and a 2 inch brush to do it... No wonder it took Michaelangelo 4 years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel! Since the advent of the paint roller our painting time had been drastically reduced to say the least. However, the paint roller is not just a use and throw away piece of equipment. If washed properly a paint roller can used over and over again. Or at least until the nap wears out. Luckily, washing a paint roller is a pretty simple task!

By hand

Washing a paint roller by hand is by far the cheapest way of cleaning a paint roller however, it is a bit more challenging then using a roller cleaning tool.

What you'll need:

  • Good water supply

Yep that's it just a good supply of running water. Some people might suggest filling a five gallon bucket first and wash most of the paint out but to me that is just an extra step.

How to:

  1. Start by getting as much of the excess paint of the roller as you can. This can be done by rolling out the paint on the last section of wall repeatively until it sounds dry or by rolling the roller over a roller grate multiple times or by taking a plastic bag and when removing the roller from the roller cage work the bag and your hand down the roller several times to squeeze the excess paint off the roller.
  2. Next, turn on the water. I usually clean rollers in my bathtub, much to the shagrin of my wife.It gives you ample room to work with and a strong flow of water to rinse off the water.
  3. Continue to rinse the roller thuroughly. Massage and rub the nap on the roller until the rinse water is clear.
  4. Hang up the roller and allow it to air dry.

Tada, its done. It takes time to make sure that all the paint is out of the roller and if you don't get all the paint out all the work is for naught since the nap will be hard and will not hold paint.

Using a tool

There are a number of tools that you can use in order to clean a paint roller. They all work fairly similar to one another. The video below highlights just one tool out there. Regardless of the tool you select you'll still need good running water and a place for the water to go.

How to:

  1. Similar to hand cleaning, remove as much excess paint as possible. With cleaning tools it is not as crucial but will help save paint and reduce the amount of paint and water that goes down the drain.
  2. Insert the roller into the tool. All roller tools have at this basic step in common.
  3. Attach the water supply to the tool. This method varies from model to model. In some cases you can use the sink faucet or a hose. It will depend on you.
  4. Turn on the water and follow the methods outlined in the manufacturers steps. For the tool below you have to operate a spinner. Other tools have a sliding squeegee-like apparatus that moves up and down the roller.
  5. Continue cleaning the roller until the rinse water is clean.
  6. Hang to air dry or like in the tool below just reuse or store.

The benefit of using the tool is that it helps clean the roller thoroughly and efficiently. Saving you time and reducing the risk of losing the roller to left over paint. But they do cost money, generally in excess of $20 USD.


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