Advice & Guidance

How to Care for Your Brushes

21st January 2021 Estimated reading time: 2 mins

Looking after your brushes is so important. The experts are always telling us that we need to spend a bit more on top quality brushes to get great results. But if you make that sort of investment it needs to be worthwhile. By cleaning your brushes properly and thoroughly, you can ensure they will work better and last longer!

Cleaning tips

• When you finish using a brush, wipe off excess paint with a cloth or soft tissue
• Gently squeeze the bristles outwards from the ferrule using a cloth or your fingers, never pull them – even the best quality brushes can moult
• Rinse carefully – in solvent or thinner if using oils, or in warm water if using water-based media (NEVER use hot water, because it might make the ferrule expand and the bristles will fall out)
• Wipe again with a cloth, then wash using soap or a mild detergent, working up a lather
• Rinse and repeat until all traces of colour have gone from the bristles – if you leave any paint near the ferrule, the bristles will splay out as it hardens
• Dry the bristles and reshape the brush head – you can wrap it in tissue paper or toilet paper so that it holds its shape, or use a specially designed Brush Guard – never try to replace the original guards they arrived with
• Leave to dry at room temperature

Storage tips

• Although you should dry brushes by laying them flat or hanging them with the bristles pointing down, when they are fully dry they should be stored with bristles upwards
• Never leave any dry brush standing for long with the bristles touching the bottom of a container, the head will lose its shape very quickly
• When storing brushes in a covered or airtight container, make sure they are properly dry first, otherwise they may develop mildew
• Make sure dry brushes aren’t resting against each other when you’re not using them

Tips for acrylics

• Although synthetic brushes are generally hard wearing and last longer, don’t take them for granted
• Before loading with acrylic, always dampen bristles first so the paint doesn’t stick to dry bristles and clump
• Acrylic dries quickly, so don’t leave brushes out of water for long, because when the paint dries it will be water resistant and difficult to remove
• Use a shallow tray to keep the brush wet when not using it, with the wooden handle on the rim so that it doesn’t soak up too much water and swell

And lastly, don’t go anywhere near Masking Fluid with your favourite brushes – once dry it is a nightmare to remove. Use old, tired brushes or cheap ones designed specially for the job.

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