Cleaning Brushes
What you'll need:
Here's everything you'll need to get it right the first time.
  • Coffee cans
  • Wax paper
  • Newspaper or drop cloth
  • Brush hook
  • Brush comb
  • Goggles (for alkyd paints)
  • Respirator
  • Gloves
  • Turpentine or other solvents (for alkyds)

Give your brushes a little TLC and they'll reward you with years of service.
Latex Paint
If you used latex paint, remove the excess paint in a bucket or container while the paint is still wet. It is much more difficult to remove dried paint with soap and water —if necessary, use a brush comb to remove it. Wash off the remaining paint under running water.
If you're going to use the brush again within a day, suspend the brush in a coffee can full of water making sure the bristles don't touch the bottom of the can. You don't want a brush with bent bristles. For long-term storage, hang brushes from a hook.
Alkyd/oil Paint

Oil-based paint should be removed in a bucket or container with mineral spirits (petroleum distillate), rinsed in tap water and then washed with soapy water. Rinse the brush until the water runs clear.

Keep alkyd paint containers closed when not in use. Do not transfer contents to other containers for storage or disposal. In case of spillage, absorb with an inert material such as sand or kitty litter. Dispose of contaminated absorbent, container and/or unused contents in accordance with local, state and federal regulations.

DANGER: A spontaneous combustion hazard exists when cleaning up after using products that contain drying oils, such as linseed oil or tung oil. Rags, steel wool, sanding dust or waste soaked with oil-based products may spontaneously catch fire if improperly discarded. Immediately after each use, place rags, steel wool, sanding dust or waste in a sealed, water-filled metal container.
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