Just HOW does one clean a paint brush?

Page 2 of 3  


The fast drying is due to the particle board. The OP should try a small sample on a piece of wallbord/sheetrock that has been previously painted, I'll bet the drying time doubles at least. It also sounds like he never fully cleaned the brush the first time he cleaned it. I always work liquid laundry detergent into the brush and ferrule as part of the cleaning.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert Macy wrote:

Here's what I do...
1. Hang brush in a can of water covering a bit of the ferrule. Note I said "hang".
2. After an hour or so, most of the paint will have fallen out. Remove brush and rinse well in clean water. Squeeze from the ferrule down.
3. Wash with Boraxo, squeezing from ferrule down.
4. Thoroughly rinse to remove Boraxo squeezing - you guessed it - from the ferrule down. Filling a deep container and surging the brush up and down will help.
5. Examine the bristles especially just under the ferrule. If they are clean, smooth bristles and hang the brush to dry. If they aren't clean, go to some number above.

Flotrol.
No paint dries in 30 seconds. Whatever you are painting may suck up the water in the paint so it seems dry but it isn't. I suggest you toss the "self priming" paint (all paint is) and use primer.

To prevent it, clean the brush thoroughly. To remove it, use "Brush Cleaner", available at any hardware store.
--

dadiOH
____________________________
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Great list of instructions!
I misremembered what the pro painter I worked for used to do with his brushes. For overnight, he simply placed his paint brush in the paint container. [even down into a gallon bucket] In the morning he'd simply wipe off the handle and start working. For longer term storage, he put the brush in the freezer.
I checked with HD, and asked them for a flattening agent, and they recommended flotrol also.
Why Boraxo? How is it different than Palmolive dishwashing soap?
I did indeed start putting the brush in water overnight. Forgot that paint uses oxygen to cure, so the air in the water still makes the paint coagulate, but at least with water it's pretty loose stuff.
Brush cleaner...hate adding costs, but if simplifies worth it. And from experience Jasco and such do a trip to the brush anyway.
With regard to drying time, the paintgot sticky instantly so feathering in was not possible, however the paint seemed still slightly tacky the next morning approx 12 hours later. I'm leaning towards thinking that the paint was not completely cured and reacted with the second coat. so I'm trying an experiment to wait 3 days and see what painting a cured paint layer is like.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert:
I think I found out why the Easy Off window cleaner worked well for touching up dry paint, and I've got a guess as to what that "cottage cheese" stuff was.
_________________________________________________________________
1. What was in that window cleaner that made it work well on latex paint?
I think Easy Off Window Cleaner is still available as Easy Off Glass Cleaner. I think they just changed the name.
I downloaded the MSDS sheet for Easy Off GLASS Cleaner (rather than Easy Off Window Cleaner):
http://tinyurl.com/cchky34
and it's got a solvent commonly called PnB in it. The MSDS sheet says it has 2.5 to 10 percent PnB in it, 10 to 20 percent ethyl alcohol and the rest would be water (which doesn't have to be listed on the MSDS because it's not a potential safety hazard).
That MSDS sheet calls one of the constituents of the glass cleaner "2-Propanol, 1-butoxy-", but it also gives it's CAS number as 5131-66-8, and if you simply Google CAS 5131-66-8 you find out that it's a common industrial solvent called propylene glycol n-butyl ether, or PnB for short.
'5131-66-8 | CAS DataBase' (http://www.chemicalbook.com/CASEN_5131-66-8.htm )
(There are different chemical naming conventions so a chemical can be called many different names, so the CAS system was developed to assign a numerical code to each chemical so that different kinds of scientists that use different naming conventions can all talk about the same chemical by just specifying it's Chemical Assay System, or CAS number. Google the CAS number and you find all of that chemical's aliases.)
All of the major chemical companies make PnB and sell it under their own trade names. Dow has Dowanol, Arco has Arcosol, BASF has Propasol, etc. If you can't find Easy Off GLASS Cleaner, then look under "Chemicals" in your yellow pages phone directory and phone around to find out who sells PnB in your area, and who they sell it to. The company that purchases it will hopefully give you some if you toss a $10 bill in that company's Christmas Party Fund. According to Google, Wal-Mart and Staples sell Easy Off Glass Cleaner.
The PnB is important because PnB is also used as a coalescing solvent in latex paints.
http://tinyurl.com/c2gfql9
So, spraying some PnB dissolved in water on dried latex paint would soften the paint, and allow it to self level again as the PnB and water evaporated.
(read the PS below to find out what PnB (or any coalescing solvent) does in a latex paint)
______________________________________________________________
2. What was that cottage cheeze stuff?
Next time, don't use any detergent when washing out your brush. What I'm thinking is that those blobs of cottage cheeze were the coalescing solvent in your primer/paint mixing with the detergent you used to clean the brush with.
Latex paints have water soluble coalescing solvents in them, and detergents are also soluble in water. Both are soluble in water only because one end of the solvent or detergent molecule is polar and is attracted to polar water molecules.
What I'm thinking is that the water soluble ends of the solvent molecules were attracted to the water soluble ends of the detergent molecules and the result was something that had the NON-water soluble ends of those molecules sticking out on both sides, thereby making stuff that was insoluble in water.
Maybe try buying a new (but inexpensive) paint brush (with no cottage cheeze in it to begin with) and paint something with that same primer/paint, and then wash the brush out thoroughly without using any detergent.
(I'm also presuming that this was softened water from your city's water supply system and not hard water from a well that you were using to clean the brush.)
_______________________________________________________________
PS: Why do you need an industrial solvent in latex paint?
Welcome to Latex Paint 101: Latex paints don't have any rubber tree sap in them. Latex paints are a SLURRY (solids suspended in liquid) of tiny hard particles of clear plastic (called "binder resins"), coloured solid particles (called "coloured pigments") and white, clear or transluscent solid particles (called "extender pigments") suspended in a solution of a low volatility solvent (called a "coalescing solvent" or "coalescing agent") dissolved in water. So five things: three kinds of hard particles suspended in a solution of a solvent dissolved in water.
(There are also chemical additives in latex paints like mildewcides and defoamers, and but let's just ignore those. They don't play any roll in what the coalescing solvents do. )
When you spread latex paint on the wall, the first thing that happens is that the water evaporates, and the tiny plastic binder resins find themselves surrounded by that coalescing solvent at an ever increasing concentration. The coalescing solvent dissolves (kinda) those plastic binder resins, making them soft and sticky. The adhesion of the paint to the substrate occurs when the binder resins are soft and sticky.
The same force of surface tension that causes tiny droplets of water to coalesce into large rain drops in clowds then takes over and causes each soft sticky binder resin to stick to and pull on it's neighbors. The result is that all those tiny plastic resins "coalesce" to form a continuous soft film sticking to the substrate with the coloured and extender pigments suspended inside that film very much like the raisins in raisin bread. The coloured pigments give the paint film it's colour and the amount and coarseness of the extender pigments determine how rough or glossy the paint film dries to.
As the clear plastic binder resins coalesce into a solid continusous film, you no longer have gazillions of plastic/water interfaces (which previously reflected and refracted light like miniature prisms). Your eye sees light of all different colours as the colour "white", so as the clear binder resins coalesce to form a film, the amount of white light coming from the drying paint diminishes, and so the paint appears to darken as it dries. That is, latex paints darken as they dry for exactly the same reason that snow loses it's white colour as it melts to form water.
Then, the coalescing solvent evaporates from the paint film, filling the room with that freshly painted smell. And, as the coalescing solvent evaporates from the soft, sticky plastic film, that clear plastic hardens back up again to the same hardness as the original plastic binder resins were when the paint was still in the can.
--
nestork


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This spray was a miracle. I went from cursing and swearing and applying the latex so thick that it destroyed any details under the paint to being able to come back the next day and 'correct' things I didn't like - from drip run not noticed to "I didn't notice those brush strokes in that light until now" removal.
I started using it on everything. When I did a 15 x 18 ft hardwood floor with oil based finish, I could actually wet n dry sand using the spray as a 'wetting' compound and a single sheet of 220 was all it took for the whole floor, plus somehow the spray hardened the finish, so you could do 3 coats in less than a week.
I used the spray for wet n dry sanding the painted finish on a wood wall, and made it seriously look as smooth as formica. Then the wood grain would subtlely start to reacquire and the effect was exceptional.
Thanks for letting me know Walmart carries it. We have one less than 2 miles away, but they seem to have limited product selections, but I can order and pick up there! Also need Affresh Stainles Steel Cleaner, so now two products to get.

Possibly true on BOTH counts.
Next time I will NOT use detergent and will soak brush in distilled water.
Distilled water is a 'miracle' product, too. I can lean our bathroom mirrors [covered with those tiny splatters] in 20 seconds. Now do our house windows in less than a minute each. Ms. Macy hates stainles steel kitchen appliances and has delegated that to me, I found that using cheap paper towels [the kind with NO additives] and spray distilled water allows me to wipe dry the surfaces leaving them streak free!

I'm saving this posting in mny construction articles.
Two other thoughts came to mind 1. Will there be a test next Friday? 2. We don't want to learn too much else my head will explode - Calivn and Hobbes
Thank you again for the wealth of solid information.
Regards, Robert
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Know that. Did that. Made NO difference. Wish it did, but didn't.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert Macy wrote:

1. Dip brush into a solution of warm water and fabric softener. 2. Extract the solution using a brush-spinner. 3. Repeat. 4. Rinse brush with tap water.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I built a brush rack from a wire coat hangar to hang the brush into a cut off 2 liter soda bottle bottom.
Don't have fabric softener, but could try Jet-Dri as the 'wetting' agent, right?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Any brush, pig bristle or polyester, will be difficult to clean if you load it up to the ferrule and allow the paint to gum up or dry inside. Latex will crack off polyester bristles after it thoroughly cures, and you can rub it out/off of the bristles unless you formed a dried brick of paint inside. Oil is less tolerant, and most dried paint inside the bristles is there forever. You can wire brush some out but you'll lose bristles. If you turn it into a brick, just throw the brush away. There's no magic "solvent" for dried paint inside a brush. Well, there might be, but I've never seen them used. For me even a good brush wouldn't be worth using strong solvents to salvage it. Probably degrade the bristle quality. Brush care/cleaning goes hand-in-hand with painting technique. Here's what I say/do. Use a quality flagged brush. Don't load it heavily or apply too much pressure when stroking. That's easily said, but never works through the entire job. But try. When/if the paint soaks the bristle 2/3 of the way to the ferrule, STOP PAINTING AND GO CLEAN THE BRUSH. Pros can stretch this because they're pros and work fast. But mortals should be more careful. I've cleaned many brushes early to mid job, oil and latex. Only takes a few minutes. Never spun a latex or oil brush. With oil, brush the cleaning spirits out a couple times firmly on newspaper or wood or even a rag, flexing the brush. With latex just rub the bristles under a running faucet. Okay, there it is. I've cleaned a LOT of brushes, and also worked house-painting with my brother, a long time pro painter, who taught me what I said. I know the SOB would argue about it though. Always roll if you can, but sometimes you need a brush. I've got 6-7 hanging on pegs. One good pig bristle is hard inside, so I don't always follow my own advice. I'll toss it. When I painted more with oil I had 2 covered coffee cans of thinner under a workbench for a 2-step brush cleaning process. BTW, if allowed to set a few days, that dirty thinner will get crystal clear and you can pour it into a new can. Toss the old can with the settled paint.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
clipped

spirits...cut an "X" in the plastic lid, stick brush handle up through the "X", put enough m.s. in can to keep bristles wet. For overnight it is good for keeping the paint solvent and out of ferrule. I've re-used m.s. many times, using your method, for clean-up. Works great for paint remover (first coats) until p.r. becomes too thick to spread.
I've used paint remover to get old, hard paint out of brushes (not good brushes). If nothing else, I can use the brush for junk or for paint removal. Chip brushes have gotten expensive :o)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Vic Smith wrote:

Excellent advice, especially the part about using a cleaned (or clean) brush when the initial one starts to get gummy.
Another alternative is to use a cheap brush - on those areas where you can get away with it, such as the first coat or primer - and toss the brush in the trash when done. Serviceable brushes can be had at Harbor Freight for less than a dollar. Heck, the price for thirty-six 2" chip brushes is thirty-cents each!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Another alternative is to use $10 brushes and toss them in the trash when done. In light of the cost of paint, and the significant labor involved in painting, throwing out a medium quality brush doesn't bother me at all.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

If the paint levels well, they work fine. My wife does most the painting, and she uses edging pads, and foam corner rollers. But I'll make sure one of us tapes next go-around because I put up new varnished door trim and crown molding. Tape works best for a clean line and no paint on the woodwork.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert,

To clean brushes after using water based paints or stains, I simply use a small container of water. I put a few inches of water in the container, then swish the brush in a circular motion (pressing against the bottom of the container, as if painting the bottom of the container). When the water looks dirty, I dump it, refill with clean water, and repeat as many times as necessary until the water is no longer dirty from the circular swishing. Then I take it out in an open area and with an overhand slinging motion I sling out as much water as possible. Finally, I dry the outside of the brush with a paper towel, and store it in the original package so it doesn't dry out.
For oil based stains, polyurethane, etc. I use the same procedure above except I use mineral spirits instead of water (refer to the "clean up" instructions on your paint or stain to see which solvent you should use, most of the time it's mineral spirits).
I have a couple different brushes that have lasted me a few years. But, if I'm working on a new project, especially polyurethane on a new piece of furniture, I'll simply go out and buy a new quality brush for the project.
In many cases, such as the final coat of poly on a project, disposable foam brushes work better than bristle brushes anyway.
In your case, I'm better the old paint was causing problems more than the brush cleaning techniques.
Take care,
Anthony Watson Mountain Software www.mountain-software.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I rinse mine under running water for a few minutes, then dunk them in water with dish detergent for a few hours. Rinse and set aside to dry. Works well, except for the brushes I've used all day. It still works but some paint dries on the bristles.

I use disposable brushes. The cost of the mineral spirits exceeds the cost of the brush.

I like foam brushes for poly, too. Spraying would be better but I haven't gotten that far, yet.

??
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I use disposable brushes for things that don't need a good finish. Applying protective coatings that get sanded or covered up later, and that sort of thing. I haven't been very happy with them for final paint or stain coats.
I use disposable drinking cups to clean my brushes. A mason jar or any narrow container wide enough to accommodate the brush would work well too. I only add enough mineral spirits to reach the bottom of the ferrule. If I am using and cleaning the brush multiple times over a few days (typical when finishing a project), I can usually reuse the same mineral spirits two or three times before I have to dump it. (I usually set it aside several days until it "gums" up from the finish and I can just toss it in the trash)
A can of mineral spirits normally lasts me for a few different projects, and is usually cheaper than buying a new brush each time. It really depends on the project. Most of the stuff I build is fairly utilitarian and doesn't need a showroom finish (shop cabinets and whatnot). For pieces I am more concerned with, I just buy a new brush.

I haven't sprayed poly either, other than the rattle can variety on a few rare projects. Most of the time I can brush on poly in less time than it would take to set up a sprayer and clean it afterward. Not to mention, my air compressor isn't really up to par for spraying purposes.
Anthony Watson Mountain Software www.mountain-software.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Thanks, I tried only water and dish soap, seems to have solved the problem.
I once took one of those variable air brush and used it to spray on Zinssner(sp?) primer. Wow! now THAT was a flat finish. Oh, this was for the French Doors in our home that lined the sunporch entry. Over 80 little frames to do. Air brush was incredibly quick for all that trim.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Tried that, works great! I even got really lazy and didn't do a thing but hang the wet brush in water for overnight storage and the next day just shook it out ready to use.
I found that one of the water based cleaning compounds reacted badly with the Glidden paint. The same solvent is great for Dunne Edwards, but for some reason reacts with Glidden. Turns it instantly to 'cottage cheese' crumbs. Avoid that solvent and not had crumbs again.
Still fighting their gummy paint though. Even added Floetrol to make it work better, doesn't. Still get those irritating lines being drawn by the individual bristles in the brush. But at least this project is a kitchen pantry and don't care about appearance quite so much.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert,

Unlike a self-leveling finish like polyurethane, I don't think you'll ever avoid the brush marks with most paints. Ironically, some people pay more for cabinets that have that "hand painted" look (with the brush strokes instead of mass production spraying).
Anthony Watson Mountain Software www.mountain-software.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.