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Taking Care of Paint Brushes and Rollers

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The best way to take care of paint brushes and rollers so that they last a long time. Easy tips to preserve them to make painting easier.

I’ve painted a lot over the last 8 months since we moved into our house.  That means I have cleaned my paint brush and roller a lot. Cleaning up is usually the worst part, but one of the most important parts of painting.

Paint Brush and Roller Cleaning Tips by Chatfield Court

A good quality paint brush can be expensive so taking good care of it is necessary for long life.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I hate cleaning up after painting but I know it’s necessary. I’ve also learned a trick or two to help make clean up a little easier.

I’ve seen so many posts on cleaning brushes so I won’t go into that. This is just about getting the best use of your brush or roller while you are painting.

Taking care of your paint brushes

Just to note that these tips are for brushes and rollers used with water-soluble paint.

Before I even start painting, I wet my paint brush with water. Then I gently squeeze the brush out and use a paper towel or rag to squeeze it again. The brush needs to be wet but not dripping wet.

Doing this is helpful because it prevents the paint from seeping up the brush to metal that binds the bristles to the handle, and helps your brush last longer.

The next tip is to rinse out your brush every 30 minutes or so, making sure that you squeeze all of the water out of it with a paper towel or rag. If you paint and never rinse your brush the paint starts to dry on the bristles, making it harder to clean. I must admit that my husband is better at doing this than I am, and you can tell by looking at my brushes. I know that it can be a hassle to do but if you want to take care of your brushes, it’s something you should do and it makes clean up easier.

You could also wrap up your brush after you are done painting. Simply wrap the paint brush in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator. I’ve also seen paint brush covers in the home improvement store but I prefer the plastic wrap.

Be sure to wrap it well, without bending your bristles. You also want to make sure that you take it out of the refrigerator a little while before you want to paint again to let the paint warm up. I know a lot of people who like to do this, but I don’t do it. I feel like it shortens the life of my brush because some of the paint dries on the bristles and it’s really difficult to get it off.

used paint brush wrapped in Saran wrap

Getting the most from your paint roller

There is no worst job than cleaning a roller, so after I am done rolling my first coat or done for the day, I wrap my roller in a plastic grocery bag and save it. I take care to get all the air out and secure it tightly. Then I just stick it in the refrigerator and when I am ready to roll again I just make sure I get it out an hour or two to warm up. After I know that I am completely done with the roller, I just throw it away. I do this with my big rollers and I also do it with the smaller rollers that I use on doors or bookcases.

used roller covered in blue paint and secured in plastic grocery bag

Taking care of your paint tray

Another trick I’ve read a lot about is to use a plastic grocery bag in your paint tray. I tried this one time, but didn’t have much success.

Instead of a grocery bag I use a disposable paint tray, that I use several times. It’s important to make sure that there isn’t loose dried paint in the tray that could stick to your roller. Not only will it make painting difficult but it will ruin your wall or furniture.

Closing your paint can

The last tip I have to share is for closing your paint can.

When you visit a paint store, the person mixing usually uses a rubber mallet to close the can. I don’t have a rubber mallet lying around so I use a paint stick and hammer.

I simply lay the paint stick across the top of the can and hit the stick with the hammer, working my way around until it’s closed. It keeps the lid from getting all dinged up which makes it harder to open. Just remember to use a dry stick…I can’t tell you how many times I’ve grabbed the stick I just used to stir the paint. 😉

using a hammer to hit a paint stick to close a paint can

 How do you take care of your paint brushes and rollers?

Check out some of my painting projects that I’ve completed using all of these tips...

Black Painted Window Frames

Painting a Kitchen Island

collage of paint brushes and paint rollers and large graphic