I’ve painted a lot over the last 8 months since we moved into our house, and that means I have cleaned many a paint brush and roller. Cleaning up is usually the worst part, but one of the most important, of painting. A good quality paint brush can be expensive so taking good care of it is necessary for long life. During my many moments grumbling while cleaning up my painting supplies, I’ve learned a trick or two to help make it 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.
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. I just run it under water to get wet and then I gently squeeze it out and use a paper towel or rag to squeeze it again. You want the brush to be wet but not dripping wet, which is not good for painting. 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 for a while, or for the day, you could wrap your brush in Saran wrap or one of the paint brush covers, I’ve seen online, and store it in the refrigerator. 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.
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.
Another trick I’ve read a lot about, although I don’t do it, is to use a plastic grocery bag in your paint tray. I tried this once, but it moved around too much, so I went back to my trusty disposable paint tray. I do use the trays a few times but you want to make sure that there isn’t any loose dried paint in it that could stick to your roller and ruin your wall or furniture.
The last tip I have to share is for closing your paint can. When you go to the store to buy paint, the person mixing it usually uses a rubber mallet to close the can. I don’t have a rubber mallet lying around so I just use a paint stick and hammer. I just lay the paint stick across the top of the can and hit the stick with the hammer working my way around until it is 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. 😉
Are you painting anything right now? Any paint brush and roller tips or tricks you could share?