Caring for Paintbrushes

You’ll end up with a great paint job every time if you take care of your brushes, here are some easy ways to do just that!

1. Wash your brush with warm soapy water before you start a paint job, this will rinse out loose bristles so they don’t end up in the paint, then just let it dry. Or, run a comb through the brush. The loose bristles will come out in the teeth!

2. To clean those brushes, remember latex paints will come off in warm soapy water, oil based paints need some turpentine or better yet – hot white vinegar will dissolve it!

3. By the way, if you soak a stiff brush in hot vinegar it will soften it back up!

4. Never rest your brush on it’s bristles when cleaning it, that will ruin them. Snip apart a wire coat hanger and thread the brushes through it, place the hanger across the top of the bucket and the brushes will soak clean and last longer.

5. Add some fabric softener to the final rinse and the brush will be nice and soft.

6. Always remember to hang your brushes for storage to keep the bristles safe!

Handy Person Tips

1. Rub petroleum jelly on the hinges and door knobs before you start to paint a door. If you get paint on them, they will wipe off easy.
2.To keep white paint from yellowing, add 10 drops of black paint to each quart of white.
3. When painting ceilings, cut a child’s rubber ball in half and put your paint brush in one of the halves to catch the drips.
4. An old pair of swimming goggles will protect your eyes from paint splatters and drips when painting ceilings.
5. When painting, protect your hands and face with moisturizer. Cleanup will be easier and the moisturizer will prevent paint from seeping into the pores.
6. Before starting to paint with enamel paint, lightly coat your hands and underneath your fingernails with any name brand hand cleaner. After the painting is finished, your hands will be easy to clean.
7. Line your paint tray with aluminum foil. When its time to clean up, just roll up the foil and throw away.
8. To stop paint from dripping, punch a few holes in the rim of the paint can. When the brush is wiped against the edge, the paint flows back into the can. The lid covers the holes so the paint won’t dry out.
9. To remove lumps from paint: Cut a piece of screen to fit the inside of the paint can. Set it on top of the paint and let it float down to the bottom of the can. It will take all the lumps with it, trapping them at the bottom of the can.
10. When painting trim around windows, doorways etc. try using stiff paper to cover the area you don’t want painted. (An old phone book cover works well.) Slide paper along as you paint. It’s much faster and more economical than using masking tape. Works well with either a roller or brush.
11. When painting a room, dip a small card into the paint so that you have the exact color with you and can match accessories in stores.
12. When painting inside corners, trim the paint brush bristles to a V to save strokes and spread paint more evenly.
13. Before pouring paint from a can, cover the rim with masking tape. After pouring, remove the tape — the rim will be clean and the cover will fit tightly.
14. When you poke a paint brush into corners or allow it to rest on the bottom of the paint can, the bristles curl and stray. To straighten natural bristles (not synthetics), try wrapping the brush in a couple of thicknesses of damp cloth and press gently with an iron. The steam and cloth binding do the job. Only light pressure is needed. Let the bristles cool before you unwrap the brush.
15. When painting old woodwork, fill in the holes or cracks with a mixture of flour and some of the paint you are using. It hardens like cement and matches perfectly.
16. When painting stairs, paint every other step first. When these are dry, paint the rest.
17. To avoid cleaning paint brushes and rollers if you intend to use the same color later, or if you do not have time to clean immediately, place the brushes and rollers in a plastic bag, tie shut and place in the freezer. They will keep for several days without drying up.
18. Protect hands from paint solvent by putting the brush and solvent into a strong plastic bag. With hands outside the bag, work the solvent into the brush through the plastic.
19. After cleaning your paint brush, a few drops of oil worked into the bristles will leave the brush soft and ready to use.
20. To clean paint rollers, fill an empty one-quart milk carton with solvent, put the roller inside and crimp the ends shut. Give the carton a few shakes, then let sit for a couple of hours.