Caring For Your Brushes
Brushes, they come in many brands, shapes, sizes and textures. We give them a real workout with paint, wax, sealers, stains etc.
Good brushes are not cheap. You generally get what you pay for. So having invested in your good quality brushes, we want to have many years of use from them. It’s like your car, your home or your body. To get the best performance and longevity they all need maintenance services from time to time.
Ok so you wash your brushes after use which is great, but do you use a brush cleaner? Simple rinsing will be fine for a bit, they will feel clean enough but eventually you will feel like they are not squeaky clean. It’s like washing your hair, you can give it a rinse for a few days or so but eventually you will find that there is a build-up of dirt or oil. The same can be said for brushes. You will get a build-up of pigment and paint particles that will compromise the finish you get.
Soap can clean this out, but again like your hair, how does it feel after a cake of soap has been used on it, like you could mop the floor with it no doubt. The bristles of your brush need to be cared for in much the same way as your hair.
Specialised brush soaps like the Fusion Brush Soap contains cleaning agents along with linseed oil to help protect and nourish the bristles of your brush.
For best results I recommend the following daily process when using your brushes.
Always rinse the bulk of paint off your brushes as soon as you finish using them
Pop them into a bucket of clean water and let them sit so the paint high up in the filaments can loosen and drain out. It is preferable to suspend them into the water rather than leave them standing on their bristles which can compromise the bristle form. You can even leave them overnight like this
Use your brush soap to work into the bristles. I put a little on the palm of my hand and lather up into the bristles.
Rinse well and hang from a hook or string to drain dry. By hanging, you encourage any loose particles to drain downwards rather than back up into the top of the brush.
Now I don’t know about you, but I find that every few months I feel like my brushes need a major service. The bristles can feel like they don’t have as much movement due to build up near the ferrule (the top part where the bristles are held together). This can affect the movement of the bristles limiting their movement and the ease of paint application.
So it’s off to the Hardware Store to buy some brush and roller restorer. I tip some into a clean glass jar (which has a lid for sealing), you can reuse this several times. I Pop my brush in, making sure it is covered up to the ferrule area. Go off for an hour or so while it has time to work, dissolving any built up areas way up high in the centre.
When you return, give it a good rinse, then apply your brush soap, lather rinse then apply fresh brush soap and repeat the lather and rinse step leaving your brush soap on for several minutes to have time to really benefit the bristles. Your brush should be feeling almost like new after this.
One final step I like to do, is take a little fabric softener that I use in the laundry. I pour into a container and pop my brushes into it for a minute or so, then take out and shake off any excess and hang to dry.
Cleaning Wax Brushes: You should always have separate designated wax brushes for applying wax. They are made differently to paint brushes and have a different type of bristle. Usually you can clean them up after use with warm water and brush soap after use.
If you have let them go and the wax has set or cured on the bristles, you will need to give them a rinse in a container with some mineral spirits (mineral turpentine). Pour into a glass jar with a lid, so I can reuse it. Make sure there is enough to cover the bristles. Give your brush a swirl and lightly pounce the bristles up and down for a bit to help the wax soften and loosen. Remove your brush, rinse and apply brush cleaner, lather and rinse again.
Stains, Sealers etc. – I never use my lovely paint brushes for applying these harsh products. I usually have some cheaper throw away brushes on hand. It is much better to spend a little using a disposable brush than risk ruining your precious expensive paint brushes.