How To Clean and Store Paintbrushes

Investing in high-quality paintbrushes is an important part of setting your DIY projects up for success. Just as important is making your investment last by properly cleaning and storing them. Not doing so can cause low-quality paint application and introduce debris into your next project.

A close up of soaking paintbrush in a bucket of soapy water.
Learn how to clean and store paintbrushes so they last.

Cleaning and Storing Paintbrushes

From cleaning properly to extending its life with correct storage, caring for your paintbrushes is always a good idea. Check out the video to hear from our expert on the best way to maintain this essential painting tool and see our step-by-step guidance below.

Need help selecting a paintbrush? Check out our guide.
Removing excess paint from the brush by pressing it against the inside lip of the paint can.

Step-by-Step: How to Clean a Paintbrush

Step #1: Scrape Off Excess Paint

If the paint is still wet on your brush, start by scraping any excess paint off the brush by pressing it against the inside lip of the paint can. Then brush whatever paint might be left onto a piece of scrap paper.

Helpful Tips

• Clean your paintbrushes immediately after you are finished using them.
• If paint is dry on your brush, start by cleaning it with hot water and dish detergent.
Rinsing paintbrush under running water.

Step #2: Clean The Paintbrush

To clean a paintbrush after using acrylic- or latex-based paint, like AURA®, Regal® or ben® Interior Paint, run hot water over the brush, and add in a few drops of dish detergent.

Helpful Tips

• The hotter the water, the better, but make sure to wear rubber gloves for comfort and safety.
• Be careful not to use too much soap.
• To clean a brush after using oil-based paint, start by dipping the brush into a small container of paint thinner. Press the bristles repeatedly to the bottom of the container to facilitate the solvent removal process.
• Once clean, dry the brush with rags and lay flat. Be sure to soak the rags in water when you’re finished to avoid a potential fire hazard.
A person removes excess water from a paintbrush by using a brush comb.

Step #3: Remove All Paint

Work the paint out of the brush with your hand. You can also use a brush comb, available at your local Benjamin Moore® retailer, or a scrub pad to remove stubborn paint spots. When all of the paint is removed, thoroughly rinse the brush with warm water.

Two dried and clean paintbrushes in front of a window.

Step #4: Shake, Reshape And Let Dry

Shake as much water out of the paintbrush as possible and reshape it with your hand or brush comb to make it look like new. Set the brush flat where nothing will touch the bristles while it dries.

A person places a paintbrush back into its original packaging to maintain bristle shape.

Step #5: Protect The Paintbrush

For best results, return the clean, dry brush to its original packaging to maintain bristle shape. If you don’t have the original packaging, you can protect the shape of your brush by wrapping it in a paper towel or newspaper, or placing it between two pieces of cardboard and securing it with a rubber band or tape.

Visit your local Benjamin Moore® retailer for help with all your painting needs. Find more tips in our How-To section.