How to preserve your painting tools

To get that paint job right, you need to invest in good-quality tools and supplies. With a little care, you can make sure your brushes, rollers and other supplies will be ready for duty the next time you need them. Here are some pointers.

Preserve your painting tools
How to preserve your painting tools

Wrap and freeze rollers

  • You can clean a paint roller, but it’s usually more trouble than it’s worth. But if you plan to continue painting with the same colour within a day or two, you can reuse a roller several times without the cleaning hassle.
  • Just squeeze excess paint back into the can and then wrap the roller in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and put it in the freezer.
  • The roller will be okay for continued use for up to several days. In fact, if you wrap it thoroughly with plastic, the roller will be fine overnight without freezing.
  • This tip works for rollers used with oil or latex paints and for brushes, too.

Make roller frames last

  • Brushes and roller covers aren’t the only things you should clean upon completing a paint job.
  • Be sure to keep roller frames clean as well.
  • Remove a roller cover from the frame as soon as you’re done painting so it doesn’t stick to the frame. Buy good-quality roller frames that come apart for easy cleaning.

Use tray liners

There’s no need to keep buying new paint trays for rollers. Just be sure you have a good supply of plastic tray liners on hand.

Clean brushes the easy way

Cleaning brushes need not be a messy ordeal and, if you do it properly, can add years of life to your brushes.

  1. Upon completing a paint job, brush out as much paint as possible on the wall, ceiling, or on old newspaper. Then use an absorbent rag to wipe as much of the remaining paint from the bristles as possible.
  2. Soak a small area of a clean rag with the appropriate solvent (paint thinner for alkyd or water for latex), and wipe the bristles again. If you take a few moments to do this carefully, there should be very little paint left on your brush at this point.
  3. Rinse the brush in solvent or water, and wipe the bristles clean one more time.
  4. Finish by washing your brush in a bucket of warm water and several squirts of liquid dishwashing soap.

Store brushes in jackets

  • When you buy a good-quality brush, it will come packaged in a cardboard brush jacket.
  • Don’t discard this jacket. Use it to preserve the brush shape while it’s being stored.

Revive a crusty paintbrush

  • If your paintbrush is hardened with dried oil-base paint, give it a vinegar bath.
  • Place it in a pot of white vinegar and simmer it for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse the bristles with water, and use a brush comb to clear out any remaining particles. Finally, hang the brush until it dries.

Soften a stiff paintbrush

  • Even when you clean them carefully, natural-bristle paintbrushes may dry out and become stiff.
  • A quick soak in 15 millilitres (one tablespoon) of hair conditioner mixed with 475 millilitres (one pint) of warm water will soften up a clean, stiff brush.

Don’t toss stir sticks

It’s a nuisance to not have a stir stick on hand when you need it. Avoid this by simply wiping stir sticks clean after each use. The thin dried film of paint that remains won’t affect paint in the next can you stir.

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