How to Clean Model Paint Brushes
What You Need
- Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner
- Empty jar or cup
- Tissues or paper towels
- Brush holder (optional)
You're used to rinsing your model paintbrushes after each paint session, but when was the last time you did a good, deep brush cleaning? Regularly cleaning the acrylic paint from your brushes will help them work well for you for many projects to come.
Using solvents such as paint thinner or mineral spirits is not the best way to clean model paintbrushes. Solvents are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to air pollution and smog. They are also flammable, combustible, and can eat away the glue that holds the bristles and ferrule, which is the metal piece that holds the bristles to the handle, together. Paint thinner also requires protective gear because inhalation, skin contact, or ingestion of the solvents can be severely dangerous and even fatal in extreme cases. Your airway and lungs are especially vulnerable to paint thinner poisoning.
Gloves and protective gear aren't necessary when cleaning with Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner. The non-flammable, clean-rinsing formula won't leave behind a residue, making it safer for your and for your brushes.
As a general rule of thumb, make sure you don't dip your brushes into the paint or cleaner farther than necessary. This will cause liquids to soak into the ferrule and that can make the bristles splay apart, ruining the tip of the brush. Minimize contact with the handle of the brush, expensive brushes have fancy varnishes and finishes that may not be compatible with strong cleaning products.
Directions for Cleaning Model Paint Brushes:
- Get rid of excess paint. Remove any leftover paint from your brushes before it dries. The longer paint is allowed to dry on a brush, the harder it will get. This makes removal and cleaning much more difficult.
- Apply cleaner. Pour Simple Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner into an empty jar or cup. Only use enough to submerge the paint-covered parts of your brushes. Dip each brush one at a time into the jar of cleaner to initially remove the bulk of the paint. Don't swish it around; dip it in for a few seconds. It's also essential that you don't drag your brushes across the bottom of your jar, which puts unnecessary pressure on the bristles.
- Wipe. Touch each brush's point to a folded tissue or paper towel, do not swirl it around on the tissue or towel.
- Repeat. Repeat until the bristles look relatively clean.
- Take the brushes to your sink. Run the water very lightly and rinse each brush under warm water. Don't use hot water because it can make the paint stick to the bristles.
- Gently swirl each brush against a clean, smooth surface. Don't kink the bristles, or you'll ruin the brush.
- Repeat. Rinse your brushes until water runs clear from each one.
- Shake brushes. Gently shake any excess water from your brushes.
- Shape brushes. Shape each brush to have a sharp point and a full belly. When shaping natural hair brushes, you may want to add a small amount of hair conditioner to the brush heads.
- Let air dry. Lay the brushes on a counter with the bristles hanging over the edge or place them bristles down in a brush holder.
- Store your brushes. Replace the clear plastic tube over the bristles once they've dried.