Author Topic: Cleaning small paint brushes without thinners  (Read 3674 times)

Offline vtsteam

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Cleaning small paint brushes without thinners
« on: February 06, 2015, 10:38:29 PM »
Tonight I was brushing some oil based enamel and polyurethane varnish on a small model and I didn't have any thinner or turpentine handy to clean the brushes -- I also wanted to avoid stinking up the house with solvents, especially in winter when windows are closed. Then there's also the matter of dealing with open containers of leftover solvent once the brush is clean. And the expense nowadays.

It ocurred to me to try what was available in the kitchen:

1.) first drying most of the paint off the bristles by squeezing with a paper towel, and then adding a few drops of salad oil to the brush. I tamped the brush well to mix oil and remaining paint, which actually worked just like a thinner.

2.) Then I added a few drops of dishwashing soap to emulsify the paint/salad oil mix.

3.) Then rinsed the brush with hot water.

It worked perfectly! The brush was squeeky clean, there was no mess, no odor, and the amount of "cleaning materials" was tiny -- a few drops of comon kitchen items. Drying the brush with a paper towel was all that was needed, and the bristles were shiny like new. In fact I think the oil and dish soap are probably kinder to the brush than sitting in refined petroleum products would have been.

Now this was a small brush, and not something to paint a room wiith and this method may be practical mainly for brushes 1-1/2" and smaller. But it really did work extremely well, so I though I'd pass it on.  :beer:

I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
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Offline Ginger Nut

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Re: Cleaning small paint brushes without thinners
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2015, 12:58:23 AM »
 :thumbup: well done I like the idea. LOML uses Eucalyptus sometimes for small brushes, I have pinched her nail polish remover/acytone for a real quick clean some brushes do not like it.

Cost of a bush these days in the bin if a cheapy.

Offline DMIOM

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Re: Cleaning small paint brushes without thinners
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2015, 05:52:12 AM »
Tonight I was brushing some oil based enamel and polyurethane varnish on a small model ....

ooh - might this have reciprocating and rotary elements perchance?

Quote
... and I didn't have any thinner or turpentine handy to clean the brushes -- I also wanted to avoid stinking up the house with solvents, especially in winter when windows are closed. Then there's also the matter of dealing with open containers of leftover solvent once the brush is clean. And the expense nowadays.

It ocurred to me to try what was available in the kitchen:

1.) first drying most of the paint off the bristles by squeezing with a paper towel, and then adding a few drops of salad oil to the brush. I tamped the brush well to mix oil and remaining paint, which actually worked just like a thinner.

2.) Then I added a few drops of dishwashing soap to emulsify the paint/salad oil mix.

3.) Then rinsed the brush with hot water.

It worked perfectly! The brush was squeeky clean, there was no mess, no odor, and the amount of "cleaning materials" was tiny -- a few drops of comon kitchen items. Drying the brush with a paper towel was all that was needed, and the bristles were shiny like new. In fact I think the oil and dish soap are probably kinder to the brush than sitting in refined petroleum products would have been.

Now this was a small brush, and not something to paint a room wiith and this method may be practical mainly for brushes 1-1/2" and smaller. But it really did work extremely well, so I though I'd pass it on.

Just a thought - whilst this may have got all visible traces of enamel/varnish etc. out of the brush, I would be inclined to suggest making a test before using it again on something that you've invested time in. There's a possibility that next time you paint, depending on the paint's solvent, the salad oil or detergent residue may mean it'll maybe have some mayonnaise or other effect.

Dave

Offline Beone

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Re: Cleaning small paint brushes without thinners
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2015, 12:54:51 PM »
Real GoJo, the solvent based hand cleaner works very well too.  I use it on epoxy brushes. Often I massage it in and just leave it. Rinse and dry before the next use
Dave

Offline vtsteam

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Re: Cleaning small paint brushes without thinners
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2015, 02:23:43 PM »
Tonight I was brushing some oil based enamel and polyurethane varnish on a small model ....

ooh - might this have reciprocating and rotary elements perchance?

Yes sir, Dave. see the Mod-Ups section of the forum for the latest (if you haven't already!).

Quote

Just a thought - whilst this may have got all visible traces of enamel/varnish etc. out of the brush, I would be inclined to suggest making a test before using it again on something that you've invested time in. There's a possibility that next time you paint, depending on the paint's solvent, the salad oil or detergent residue may mean it'll maybe have some mayonnaise or other effect.

Actually, Dave, I re-used it several times, and with different colors. It's easy to rinse out very well, and I even used varnish with the paint brush and checked it out on paper first -- no tint at all.

I used to paint paintings in oils and used dish soap always to clean brushes -- oil paints use vegetable oils as vehicle (liinseed, safflower) and that's what gave me the idea to try the vegetable oil as a thinner with enamels and varnish as a first stage in cleaning with dish soap. Works great -- just try it!
« Last Edit: February 07, 2015, 03:48:01 PM by vtsteam »
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
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Offline krv3000

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Re: Cleaning small paint brushes without thinners
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2015, 04:28:05 PM »
good old fairy liqid works well to

Offline Manxmodder

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Re: Cleaning small paint brushes without thinners
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2015, 06:32:57 PM »
Steve,I have been using B100 Bio-Diesel (Fully processed veggy diesel) to clean paint brushes for about 3years now. It will also soften and reclaim old paint hardened brushes very effectively and you don't get any of the precipitated bits that you do if leaving brushes in white spirits. Try it,you'll be mighty impressed with the cleaning power.....OZ.
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Offline Manxmodder

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Re: Cleaning small paint brushes without thinners
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2015, 06:35:24 PM »
good old fairy liqid works well to

You just wait until they outlaw the liquidising of fairies. What will you use then?....OZ.
Helixes aren't always downward spirals,sometimes they're screwed up

Offline vtsteam

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Re: Cleaning small paint brushes without thinners
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2015, 09:46:51 PM »
Oz I appreciate it but a couple drops of vegetable oil and dish soap with a tap water rinse is for me, the perfect solution to small brush cleaning. It takes seconds, costs nothing, uses what's in every kitchen, doesn't smell, does a great job, and doesn't leave half a can full of used solvent to deal with.

I'm afraid biodiesel is really no better than any other thinner in that regard. Maybe it does work as a paint remover -- that's a different matter. (Though I like a citrus oil paint remover I've been using lately -- don't remember the brand.) But thanks for the suggestion. :beer:
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
www.sredmond.com