Shampoo and Set

The final part of my little series on artists brushes, looking after your brushes to save money – don’t skimp on the cleaning. Always clean your brushes using the right solvent for the type of paint you’ve been working with. For oil based paints that means white spirits (in the US I think they call it mineral spirits) and for water- based paint use, yes, you guessed – water (tap water is quite sufficient, no need for bottled). Then, having removed all the paint, give them a final clean using mild washing up liquid and warm water.

Choose the right slovent.
Choose the right slovent.

When cleaning oil based paints I wash my brushes twice in white spirit. The first wash gets rid of the bulk of the paint. Then, having squeezed out all the excess solvent, I dry it before washing it again for a second time, making sure to use clean solvent. The second wash gets rid of that paint remaining in the filaments. If I do get some paint in and around the ferrule which doesn’t want to come off, I’ve a little wire brush I use, working it through the filaments away from the ferrule. Next, I get out the old washing up liquid and put a small amount (a drop or two) into a pot and give the brush a final wash. Lastly it’s a rinse in cold water and a dry (you can do that by rolling the handle between your palms). Oh, and don’t forget to re-shape your bristles before putting your brush away.

A final shampoo and rinse.
A final shampoo and rinse.

I find things much easier when it comes to water-based paint; I give them a good old rinse under a running tap, using my fingers to work the paint out of the bristles. Any paint which clings to the ferrule is got rid of by giving it a soak in some methylated spirits, before getting out my little wire brush as I mentioned above. Then, it’s the warm wash with washing up liquid, a final cold rinse, a dry, a re-shape and store.

Don't forget to reshape.
Don’t forget to reshape.

“Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves” Yes,., Thank you Tom…

To purchase any of my art work please visit my shop on Etsy or contact me by e-mail at

One Reply to “Shampoo and Set”

  1. You are so right ~ caring for brushes help them to last! I’ve found this to be as true for the inexpensive brushes as well for those that I splashed out a bit more for. And it’s funny, cleaning my brushes is a bit of a ritual, one in which I honor the spirit of my Muse!

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