Using Vinegar to Clean a Paint Brush

What You'll Need

If you’ve used a paint brush, you will need to clean it so it’s in perfect shape to use again. Vinegar can make an ideal cleaner for a paint brush. Vinegar is something that can be used for all types of cleaning, from the most demanding job to the most delicate. You can even use it to clean your paint brush after paint has dried on the bristles.

Step 1 - Saucepan

For this job, make sure you use an old saucepan. If all your pans are in good condition, go to a thrift shop or a yard sale and buy one that’s perfect for DIY use. Be aware that you won’t want to use the saucepan for other things after this so you might want to keep it in the garage or outside after use.

Step 2 - Vinegar

There’s no set amount of vinegar to use but you do need to take enough to cover the bristles on your paint brush. In turn, this means you need a saucepan deep enough to allow this. Pour in ample vinegar and put the saucepan on the stove with the heat turned on full. Open the window and put on the extractor fan. As the smell will be strong, this needs to be done in a well-ventilated kitchen.

Step 3 - Cleaning

Once the vinegar is boiling, take the paint brush by the handle and dip the bristles in the water. Push them back and forth on the bottom of the saucepan, imitating brush strokes.

You need to remove the brush from the vinegar every 15 seconds to 20 seconds and see how the bristles are cleaning up. It’s a procedure that’s going to take a while, especially if there’s plenty of caked paint on the brush. Whenever you put the brush back in the pan, keep moving the bristles to and fro on the bottom of the pan.

You can push down harder on the bristles but you don’t need to do a great deal to loosen the paint. Be careful about touching the bristles as they’ll be hot from the boiling vinegar.

Step 4 - More Brushes

If you have one paintbrush that needs cleaning, the chances are that you’ll have several. Do the same with each of them, keeping the vinegar at a boil and making sure there’s enough vinegar in the pan. Add vinegar as needed and wait until the vinegar is boiling again.

Step 5 - Finishing

Once you’ve cleaned every paint brush, turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove. Wait until the vinegar has cooled and then pour it through a strainer (to catch the paint) down the sink. This will have the added bonus of cleaning the drain.

Wash each brush thoroughly in cold running water to get rid of all the vinegar. Run your hands through the bristles. When you’ve finished, shake the paint brush in the sink to take off the excess of water then squeeze the bristles hard and leave the paint brush to dry.