Are you tired of wasting money on paintbrushes? Sick of throwing them away after only a few uses? These 7 simple paintbrush tips are guaranteed to make your brushes last longer.
These straightforward paintbrush tips will make your brushes last longer. We’ll start by choosing a quality brush, learning how to properly load the brush, and how to effortlessly clean your brushes.
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From even before I was born my grandparents owned a six-family apartment building. My grandfather was the landlord and “Mr. Fixit”. He did all the maintenance from electrical work to prepping apartments for new tenants.
Part of prepping an apartment for a new tenant meant giving each room a fresh coat of paint. And there were LOTS of rooms. A typical flat consisted of a “parlor”, living room, kitchen, pantry, bathroom, four bedrooms and a “back kitchen” or laundry room. As soon as I had my driver’s license I was enlisted to help with the painting duties. I’m not saying I’m an expert painter, but I have A LOT of painting experience.
Unlike those corporate apartment complexes where every room is the same color, my grandfather would paint each room a different color. I practically needed a spreadsheet to know which color went with which room! “Mojave Beige” goes on the walls in the second bedroom with “Arctic White” trim. “Thyme Leaves” green goes in the pantry with “Root Beer” brown trim. I once asked if it would be easier to use one color for all the rooms. My grandfather didn’t really have an answer lol
My grandfather loved a variety of paint colors and he LOVED his paintbrushes. He took pride in saying he owned his collection of brushes for years. My grandfather’s advice to me was if you take care of your paintbrushes they’ll last forever. I don’t think he literally meant they would last a lifetime. Just that if you properly maintain your brush it will last for years. Paintbrush maintenance was ingrained in me at a young age and I still take care of my brushes today.
Well, I usually take care of my paintbrushes. Unfortunately, I forgot about a brush I’ve had for years while I was priming the Skate-Away Camper. The brush was a dried up mess. I had to buy a replacement brush so I thought it was the perfect time to share the paintbrush tips I use to help to make my brushes last longer.
7 Simple Paintbrush Tips Guaranteed to Make Your Brush Last Longer
1. Start with a Quality Brush
The first step to making your paintbrush last is to start with a quality brush. My favorite brush is this Purdy XL Cub. It features a stubby handle which means it weighs less than a comparable long-handled brush. And for me, this makes my carpal tunnel wrist and tendonitis hand much happier.
Even better than weighing less, the stubby handle gives you better control of the brush. Plus, I’ve NEVER had a bristle fall out of any of my Purdy paintbrushes.
2. Don’t Allow the Paint to Reach the Ferrule
Before we go any further with our look at paintbrush tips we need a quick brush anatomy lesson. The bristles apply the paint and the metal part or ferrule connects the bristles to the handle. We want paint on the bristles NOT in the ferrule.
If you take a new brush and press the bristles against your hand you’ll notice the bristles are very flexible. This flexibility is what allows the brush to lay down a smooth coat of paint. Allowing paint to collect and dry in the ferrule can cause the bristles to become less flexible. When the bristles become stiff and lose their flexibility it can affect the way the brush applies paint. Not only that but cleaning paint out of the ferrule can be difficult. Preventing paint collecting and drying in the ferrule will help your paintbrush last longer.
3. Properly Load the Brush
So now we’ve learned that we don’t ever want the paint to reach the ferrule, but how do we prevent this from happening? The short answer is to properly load the brush. We only need about the width of two to two-and-half fingers when loading the brush with paint. Loading more paint than necessary increases the chances of the paint wicking into the ferrule.
Remove Excess Paint
We need to scrape off the excess paint before we begin to paint with the brush. We should have poured our paint into a HANDy Paint Pail or similar container. We can use the edge of the pail to scrape off the excess paint. Scraping excess paint against the rim of the paint can may introduce dried paint chunks and debris into our paint supply. That said, I don’t follow my own suggestion here. I scrape my paintbrush against the paint can!
Don’t lay the brush flat if you need to grab a glass of water or take a quick “potty break”. Laying the brush flat increases the chances the paint in the bristles could wick up into the ferrule. Instead stand the brush upright. Again, the HANDy Paint Pail is a great option for this. It has a magnet inside the cup which holds the brush upright.
4. Clean the Paintbrush Immediately
Allowing paint to dry on our paintbrush is bad. I think dried paint is the number one enemy of our paintbrush. I’ve found my brush is so much easier to clean as long as I keep the brush constantly loaded with wet paint. As soon as that paint begins to dry the brush becomes more difficult to clean. That’s why it’s important to wash the brush as soon as we finish our painting project.
Most often we’ll be painting with water-based latex paint, so I’ve geared this paintbrush cleaning procedure for cleaning a paintbrush used for painting latex paint.
We’ll start by cleaning our paintbrush with hot water. We need to use the hottest water our hands can tolerate. Hot water practically melts latex paint off the brush. Flex and pounce the paintbrush against the bottom of the sink allowing the hot water to flood the bristles. Most of the paint should just run right out of the brush.
The second step to cleaning our paintbrush is soap. I like to use original Dawn Dish Soap to clean my brushes. You know, the Dawn they use to rescue wildlife from oil spills. If it’s good enough for animals it’s good enough for my paintbrushes.
I add a couple drops of Dawn to the brush and massage the soap into the bristles. I start near the ferrule and work my way towards the ends of the bristles. Again, we’ll flex and pounce the paintbrush against the bottom of the sink allowing the hot water to flood the bristles.
The last step to cleaning our paintbrush is to use the brush side of a painter’s comb to brush the soap and any remaining paint out of the brush. I use this time to really inspect the brush. If I notice any dried paint on the bristles I’ll scrape it off with my fingernail. Once again, we’ll flex and pounce the paintbrush against the bottom of the sink allowing the hot water to flood the bristles. The brush is totally clean when the water runs clear from the brush.
5. Comb the Bristles
Now that our paintbrush is totally clean it’s time to prep the brush for storage. First, we’ll flick the brush into the sink to remove any remaining water. Next, don’t put away that painter’s comb just yet. Use the comb to straighten any stray bristles.
6. Hang to Dry
I like to wrap my paintbrushes in paper towel to maintain the shape of the freshly combed brush. The paper towel prevents those pesky bristles on the outside edge from “winging out”. Plus, the paper towel prevents dust from accumulating on the brush while it’s in storage. Once our brush is wrapped we can hang it to dry until our next project.
7. Keep it Cool
There might be a time while we’re painting when we need to take an extended break. If we’re using latex paint we can wrap our brush in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge. The plastic wrap and cool temp slows the paint drying process.
We need to stand the brush upright and not resting on the bristles. Resting the brush on the bristles can change the shape or bend the bristles. We want our bristles straight so we’ll use painter’s tape to attach the brush to an orange juice container or anything else we have in our fridge. And remember, this is for short breaks only. We don’t want to leave our brush in the fridge for days.
Bonus Paint Tips
Easy Paint Can Cleanup
Paint in the rim of a paint container can be difficult to clean. To make the clean up easier we can use an awl or the pointy end of our five-in-one tool to punch several holes around the rim of the can. After we pour the paint we can use our paintbrush to push the paint towards the holes so it will drain back into the container.
Easy Hand Cleanup
Paint on our hands can also be difficult to clean. To make the clean up easier we can apply a little hand lotion to our hands. The paint won’t stick to the lotion and washes right off when we clean our hands!
Following these straightforward paintbrush tips will help you make your brush last longer. Start by choosing a quality brush, properly load the brush, and then effortlessly clean your brushes.
Thank you for stopping by. If you found this information helpful, would you please pin it to Pinterest? Other DIYers would appreciate it and I would too! Thank you – Scott