How to clean oil paint brushes?
Cleaning the oil paint brush is very simple. Here are some steps mentioned below to clean brushes.
Wipe down your brushes with a paper towel to remove most of the excess oil-paint mixture, leaving just a little bit on the bristles for lubrication. If you are working outdoors or wearing rubber gloves, this step may not be necessary.
Wet your brush with water and swirl it around in either bowl containing soap solution (mix one part mild dish soap with two parts water). Mix in some more drops of dish soap if necessary to achieve desired consistency.
Rinse brush in water until there is no more suds visible in the bristles. Continue rinsing until all traces of color have been removed from the bristles.
If you are working outdoors or wearing rubber gloves, dip brush in a can of clean mineral spirits and wipe dry on a rag to remove paint from the bristles. If not, rinse with water as above and let air dry facing down with handle resting on a rack.
Tips and methods
When dipping brush into oil solvent , be mindful that the suspension fluid (mineral spirits) has an even lower surface tension than oil paint itself; this means that if your brushes are particularly dirty you could end up smearing color across your painting, so approach with caution!. Rinse your brushes thoroughly after using either type of solvent because it will strip away natural oils from the hair which may lead to bristles breakage.
Cleaning brushes with solvent
The problem is that once you start using oil paint your water-based brush cleaning technique simply doesn’t work anymore. Oil paint must be removed with a solvent such as turpentine, mineral spirits, or odorless mineral spirits. There are also some other options that I’ve seen mentioned around the internet, such as dish soap diluted with water. However, since most of these are not specifically marketed towards artists they may not be the safest or best option for your brushes.
General rules for cleaning oil paint brushes
- Oil paint [in any given single application]
- Take a small amount [a fingertip’s worth] of safflower oil and add it to the jar. Next add in two parts odorless mineral spirits (approximately). You can use much more or less solvents if you like depending on how dirty your brush is.
- Dip into that mixture (just enough to cover all my bristles completely), then the brush back and forth/in circles to make sure all the paint is dissolved. Wipe away as much of this mixture as possible with a paper towel before rinsing out under running water (keep in mind, you shouldn’t let water run through your brush for more than 10 seconds or so).
- Dip into clean safflower oil and remove as much excess solvent as possible by wiping them on a paper towel/rag. You want just enough oil that they aren’t dry or damaged but not too much that there’s still residue from the oil paint.
- Give your brushes a general wipe down to much of the excess paint (you do not need to remove all the excess paint for this process).
- Dip the tip of your brushes in slow-drying oil such as Winsor & Newton Safflower Oil or artist grade poppyseed oil. These are slower-drying than the more popular linseed oil.
Rest the brushes on a drying rack to keep them in good shape until you’re ready to use them again. The most common mistake beginners make is cleaning oil paint brushes with paper towels or newspaper – but the fact is newspaper ink dissolves in water, so it will NOT clean your brushes.
1. Paint thinner
This is usually an excellent suggestion for people that are willing to spend a bit more money to get high quality products. This solution has its pros and cons, though:
Pros: It does clean oil paint off brush really well; Odorless solvent doesn’t smell as strong as other solvents do.
Cons: You can only use this type of solvent for oil-based paints. If you accidentally spill some of the cleaner on your skin, it may cause a rash.
The major downside of using paint thinner is the fact that a small mistake might ruin a good brush – or even your whole set! If you have been playing with oil paints for some time now, this solution is probably not as scary as it used to be – but I still recommend testing it on an old brush first before trying it on your favorite brushes.
Soaps are usually less expensive than solvents. They can also be used on water-based and solvent-based paints (including acrylics).
Pros: It does clean responsibly. This type of cleaner can’t damage brushes like thinner can; It is a great value for money.
Cons: You need to use soap and water to rinse the brush. Some people feel that brushes don’t dry as easily using regular soap.
3. Some old cups or mugs
If you’re not too picky about cleanliness, you could just put your brushes in some old mugs or cups filled with paint thinner.
Pros: It’s a super easy way of cleaning oils off brushes; Brushes soak up the cleaner so they dry faster after being cleaned.
Cons: If you have a rather expensive set of brushes, you might feel like this method is too risky. You can’t clean solvent-based paints with this method (it might ruin your bristles).
4. Oil paint brush cleaner
Many artists swear by these two cleaners. They are eco-friendly and they do not damage even the most delicate bristles. You may also find them in some art stores near you.
Pros: It’s a great value for money. It cleans responsibly; No need to rinse if using oil paint brush cleaner specifically formulated for oil based products
Cons: Depending on where you live, it might be difficult to get one of these. If you don’t live in the US, they might be more expensive than regular solvent cleaners.
5. Gloves (optional)
If you’re using paint thinner or soap to clean your brushes, this is certainly not mandatory – but it sure can come in handy if you’d like to avoid getting any of the cleaner on your fingers. In fact, I highly recommend wearing gloves whenever you are cleaning solvent-based products off your brushes.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are solvents good to use?
Yes, solvent are good to use. Oil paint brushes can be cleaned by solvent easily.
- After how long, it is necessary to clean the brushes?
It depends on the need. When you are using the brushes, look carefully if there is need to clean the brushes or not.