PaintPRO Vol 5 No 5

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PaintPRO Archives — Painting Tips

Cleaning Brushes

Investing in a quality paint brush means taking the time clean it properly. Learn the best way clean your paint brushes and save hundreds of dolllars in the process.
by Bent Mikkelsen

During my 20 years in the painting trade, I’ve come across a number of contractors who take little care of their paint brushes, either because they don’t want to spend time cleaning them at the day’s end or because the brushes are cheap enough to throw away after each use.

Well, I hope this tip will encourage you to look at maintaining brushes better. It may even help you to do a better job of maintaining them on a regular basis.

For starters, set yourself up with four buckets. Two are wash buckets, one is a rinse bucket. And another is used just for spinning residue from each brush after washing. Have on hand a wire brush, a painter’s comb and a brush and roller spinner.

Next, fill three of the buckets halfway with water. Adding a little dish soap to your two wash buckets doesn’t hurt. Drop all of your brushes into the first wash bucket to soak briefly. After soaking, start by wire-brushing the tools to remove dry paint from the bristles and ferrule. Then proceed by hand-washing them to remove the bulk of leftover paint. Finish your first bucket washing by spinning the brushes before dropping them into the second wash bucket.

In the second wash bucket, hand wash the tools again to remove additional leftover paint from inside the ferrule and between bristles. (Getting the majority of paint out of the keeper helps to maintain a limber brush on future painting applications.) After the second hand washing, again spin the brushes to remove dirty, soapy water.

Lastly, finish by placing brushes into the rinse bucket to receive a final hand-rinsing. In this final step a painter’s comb is used to remove any other dry paint from the bristles and keeper. Spin the brushes once again, then comb the bristles to straighten them before placing the brushes back in their protective keepers.

To clean five or six brushes will generally take seven to 10 minutes. If the average purchase price per brush is $15, then consider that you are saving approximately $90 on each job. If each brush can provide service on 10 paint jobs, that amounts to $900 dollars in savings as compared to what it would cost you if you threw the brushes away at the end of each job, or worse yet, at the end of each day.


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