How To Clean Paint Brushes With Oil Paint

Date Published: June 7, 2021
Author: Kylee Smith

The most important thing is to clean your paintbrush as soon as you finish painting. If you don’t, the paint can dry too much and shorten the life of the brush. If the paint dries in the bristles of the brush, the paintbrush may need to be thrown away.

The cleaning process for removing oil-based paint from a paintbrush is simple and only requires a few easy-to-follow steps.

Cleaning Supplies to Clean Your Paintbrushes

When painting with oil-based paint, a natural paintbrush should be used. Oil paint features a non-breathable coating, which increases the durability of the paint. This coating causes the oil paint to have s strong odor, increases drying times, and results in a more involved cleaning process.

With the following supplies, you will have everything you need to clean your paintbrushes.  With our step-by-step instructions, you will have your paintbrushes ready for your next painting adventure.

Metal Bucket

A metal bucket is used to hold paint thinner, turpentine, or mineral spirits. The metal bucket prevents dipping a soiled paintbrush into the original container for your paint thinner. A metal bucket like this one allows you to efficiently clean the oil paint from your paintbrush.

Italia 6-Pack Metal Bucket 0.5 Quart color Galvanized Size 4.3 x 4" 6-Pack
  • Easter favor,Easter favor bucket,Easter basket,kitchen spoon holder, kitchen utensils holder
  • Mother's Day,Valentine's Day,Chanukah gift, Chanukah basket
  • Christmas favor bucket,Christmas favor basket,Christmas basket
  • flower vase , wedding flower vase, wedding favors
  • fourt of july, 4 of July,marker caddy, markers organizer, markers holder, markers basket

Paint Thinner

While paint thinner is the top suggestion, both turpentine and mineral spirits work as solvents, too. Essentially, you need a solvent that is going to thin out the consistency of the oil-based paint. Soap and water alone may cut it with latex paint, but the viscosity of oil-based paint must be altered in order to remove it from paintbrushes.

Mona Lisa 32-Ounce Odorless Paint Thinner
  • Ideal as a great brush and accessories cleaner
  • Includes 32-ounce of paint thinner
  • Odorless
  • Danger. Combustible. Keep away from sparks, heat, and flame

Dish Soap

Soap and water are still part of the cleaning process, which means you will need some dish soap. We recommend Dawn dishwashing liquid for its proven power to tackle tough projects.

Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap (4x19oz) + Non-Scratch Sponge (2ct), Original Scent (Packaging May Vary), Combo pack
  • 50 percent Less Scrubbing
  • Contains 3x Grease Cleaning Power (cleaning ingredients per drop vs. Dawn Non-Concentrated)
  • Our NEW More Powerful Formula helps you get through more dishes with less dishwashing liquid
  • Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap, Original Scent
  • Packaging & sponge shape will vary

Paper Towels

Paper towels are going to be used to initially remove excess paint from the brush. Additionally, paper towels are necessary once again to remove excess moisture after rinsing a brush.

Bounty Bounty Paper Towels, White, 4 Double Rolls = 8 Regular Rolls, 4 Count (Pack of 1)
  • Pack contains 4 Double Rolls of Bounty White full size paper towels
  • Each double roll contains 100% more sheets than a regular Roll
  • Bounty, the Quicker Picker Upper Vs. Leading ordinary brand
  • 2X more absorbent vs Leading ordinary brand
  • 1 roll can last 50% longer vs Leading ordinary brand

How To Clean Oil Paint Brushes

Cleaning oil-based paint off a paintbrush is not complicated, and the job can be handled in a few easy steps. It is important to understand the process because the viscosity of oil paint is different than that of latex paint. Once you have gathered your supplies it is time to get started with your cleaning project.

Step 1: Gather Solvent & Supplies

To remove oil-based paint from a brush, you need paint thinner or a similar solvent, a metal bucket, dish soap, and paper towels. Four simple supplies are going to get this job done.

  • Pro Tip: Before getting started with the solvent, use paper towels to remove as much oil paint from the paintbrush as possible. This makes the cleanup process much easier. A brush comb can also be used.

Step 2: Use Paint Thinner

The brush bristles need to be completely submerged in the paint thinner. Keep that in mind when pouring up the solvent into the metal bucket. A well-ventilated area is necessary for this task, outdoors being your best choice.

Once the paint thinner is poured into your metal bucket, submerge the brush bristles and stir for up to 30 seconds. When finished, wipe the brush bristles against the sides of the metal bucket, allowing the paint to continue to separate and come off the brush.

  • Pro Tip: Repeat this process until you no longer see paint coming off the brush when wiping the bristles against the sides of the bucket.

Step 3: Rinse Paint Brush Using Soap & Water

Wash the brush using dish detergent and lukewarm water. Rub the bristles between your fingers for 30 seconds and then rinse thoroughly.

  • Pro Tip: Be sure to hold the brush bristles down, as this prevents water from getting into the ferrule. Additionally, do not use hot water, as it can loosen the glue in the ferrule.

Step 4: Dry, Store & Cleanup

To dry the paintbrush, shake it a little, and then use the paper towels to blot the brush dry. Ideally, you should store your brush with bristles hanging downward. If you cannot store your paintbrush in this manner, it can be laid flat.

  • Pro Tip: Save the original packaging when purchasing paintbrushes. The packaging can be used for storage and to help the brush maintain its shape.

Final Thoughts

Oil-based paints must be removed from a paintbrush using a solvent. Solvents reduce the viscosity of the paint so that it can be removed easily. Outside of using the paint thinner or alternative solvent, you are left with the simple task of using soap and water along with a little elbow grease.

Clean It Advisor is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.
Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved!