4 Easy Ways To Clean Paint Brushes – Vintage Household Tip

Mom4real-Household-Tips-TGF-34 Easy Ways To Clean Paint Brushes

Hey, hey there Graphics Fairy peeps!  In case we haven’t met, I’m Jessica from Mom 4 Real, and I hang out here once a month to share a cleaning trick or household tip with you!  This month, I want to talk about how to clean paint brushes!  I know a lot of you love to paint, and so do I.  The part I dread the most about painting is getting my brushes clean.  I have thrown so many ruined paint brushes away…it’s shameful I tell ya!  Well, no more!  I have researched and found 4 different ways to clean your paint brushes, and I can’t wait to share them with you! At the end, I’ll tell you which one worked best for me, and I would love for you to leave a comment telling me what methods you have tried!

Use Vinegar and Water To Clean Paint Brushes


1.  Distilled Vinegar.  I love cleaning with vinegar, so this is the first method I tried.  You simply add as much distilled vinegar in a jar as needed to cover the bristles of your paint brush.  (DO NOT SOAK THE HANDLE) Let your paint brush soak for about 5 minutes.  Take your brush out and rinse well.  This method worked great for getting my brush clean, but didn’t remove the dried on paint.

Use Murphys Oil Soap to Clean Paint Brushes


2.  Murphy Oil Soap.  Mix 1 part Murphy’s Oil Soap and 1 part warm water to a jar or cup and let your bristles soak for 30 minutes.  Rinse well with warm water. This method is great, especially if you accidentally leave your brush lying out with paint on it all night long…ermmm…not me of course!

Use Dish Liquid to Clean Paint Brushes


3.  Dish Liquid.  Mix a few drops of dish liquid with warm water and soak your brush for about 10 minutes.  This method is great for making sure your get all of the paint off of your brush after rinsing…you know, just to be sure it’s all out.  I wouldn’t recommend this method for deep cleaning though.

Use Fabric Softener and Water to Clean Paint Brushes


4.  Fabric Softener.  Mix 2 tbsp. of fabric softener with 1 cup of warm water.  Soak your paint brush for 10 minutes.  Rinse with warm water. Surprisingly, this method worked the best.  The fabric softener does just what it says and softens the dried on paint as well as loosening the paint in the middle of the brush.  Just be sure to rinse really well!

I love that I found some methods that are great for cleaning my paint brushes after regular use, and also some methods for cleaning my brushes after I accidentally leave them lying around!  How about you?  Do you have any methods that work for you?

I love sharing cleaning tips and tricks…here are a couple that I have shared over at my blog, Mom 4 Real lately…

Make Your Own All Natural Air Freshener Odor Absorber at mom4real.com


Make Your Own All Natural Air Freshener / Odor Absorber

10-Tips-For-Cleaning-with-Vinegar-and-many-more-Cleaning-Tricks at mom4real


10 Tips For Cleaning With Vinegar

I can’t wait to come back next month and share some more household tips with you!



  1. I’m usually so, so careful. I love my Purdy’s I tell ya. I did accidentally leave paint on my very oldest, very favorite, perfectly broke in 1.5 inch angled brush though. And I threw it out. I wish I had seen this… sniff sniff. Pinning to save in case of emergency and spread the word! LOL ~Shannon

  2. ha! I wouldn’t have ever thought about the fabric softener suggestion! I will try it. With my water based paint, I just keep a jar of water nearby and Always drop my brush in after use. It even will remove glue that stays on a brush overnight….which I manage to forget a lot! Great posting :) Laura

  3. Great tips Jessica!! I am not one to leave my brushes laying out overnight…nope not me :::walks away slowly with my head hung low::: So guilty!!

  4. Cathy Gagliardo says:

    Great tips! I try to clean my brushes as soon as I use them, but then I am retired and have all the time in the world to clean them. Just one question? Does your husband get upset when you clean your brushes in the sink in the bathroom or the kitchen? My husband says it’s really bad to do this so I have to go outside and rinse them with the outside faucet. Just wondering where you clean yours. Thanks!!

  5. When I can’t finish an entire paint project all one time, I put my brush, with the paint still on it, in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer. Doesn’t take long to get back to room temp. When I am all done, I rinse the brush with hot water then spray it with window cleaner and keep rinsing.

  6. hi, this is mainly for house paint type brushes, but, good advice for all larger brushes.after you’ve tried all the above cleaning methods, one at a time, I would hope, try using a wire brush to ‘comb’ the paint out. it also helps get all the bristles going in the same direction. when you’ve cleaned the brush up and washed all the cleaner out of it, put the handle between your palms w/ bristles pointing downward, and rub them together, causing the brush to twirl really quickly. this gets more water out. THEN role it up tightly in a sheet of newspaper and fold the top own closely to the top of the bristles. this keeps it from getting all splayed out and frizzy. its the way pros keep their brushes in good condition and safely stored. good brushes are meant to be used for many years and can be quite expensive. we live in a time when too many things are considered disposable. never forget the ‘re-use’ part of the ‘reduce, re-use, recycle’. we don’t HAVE to throw everything out and get a new one every time.

  7. Jacinta Cole says:

    Is this just for water-based paints or will it also work on oil paint/varnish please?


  1. […] to test a few methods for cleaning your paint brushes out, and today I’m sharing them over at The Graphics Fairy!  So, if you are like me and need a little help in the paint brush cleaning department, hop on […]

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