How to Clean Dried Paint from a Paint Brush

What You'll Need
Expendable washcloth
Absorbent paper towels
Mild soap
Protective gloves

If you own a paint brush that has become covered in dried paint, you may be wondering how to go about cleaning it. Fortunately, purging dried paint from a paint brush is a simple task that can be successfully undertaken with the aid of a few common household tools.

Step 1 - Wipe Away Any Wet Paint

If you've recently completed a paint job, use an absorbent paper towel or an expendable washcloth to clean any wet paint off the brush. Failure to properly perform this step will inevitably lead to the formation of more dried paint, ultimately making the cleaning process more cumbersome. When carrying out this step, take care to wipe the brush gently and avoid pulling on its bristles.  Once any remaining wet paint has been successfully cleaned off, you'll be ready to proceed with the next step.

Step 2 - Rinse Your Brush

Having purged your paint brush of wet paint, you're ready to rid it of any caked-on dry paint as well. If the dried paint is oil-based, begin this step by pouring turpentine onto the stained bristles. Alternatively, if the dried paint is water-based, you'll need to rinse your brush beneath a faucet. When using a faucet to rinse the brush, make sure the water temperature is lukewarm. If the water is too hot, some of your brush's bristles are liable to fall off. Once your paint brush has been thoroughly rinsed, you'll be ready for the next step.

Step 3 - Apply Your Soap

Now that your brush has been given a vigorous rinsing, it's time to apply your soap. Begin this step by using your fingers to gently apply a small amount of mild soap to the freshly rinsed bristles. Once the soap has been applied, carefully work it into a lather. When performing this step, make sure not to apply too much pressure to your brush's bristles, as they are particularly vulnerable and prone to detachment when they are wet. Repeat this process until all caked-on paint has been purged from your brush. If you're bothered by the dried paint's chemical content or simply wish to keep your hands clean, you may want to don a pair of protective gloves when carrying out this step.

Step 4 - Dry Your Brush

Having given your brush a thorough cleaning, you're almost finished. If you're in a hurry to dry your paint brush, use an absorbent paper towel or an expendable washcloth to gently wipe away any water, again taking care to exercise the appropriate amount of caution when dealing with wet bristles. If you're in no particular rush, lay the wet brush atop a paper towel or dry cloth and allow it to air dry. The latter option is the best choice if you're concerned about damaging the bristles.

When cleaning dried paint from a paint brush, just remember these four easy steps and your paint brush will be clean in no time.