How to clean plastic-bristled brush used for applying polyurethane? (Ecofriendly process preferred ...)

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I have a woodworking project I'm starting but don't know how to clean the brush after applying coats of polyurethane. Any recommendations?
Thanks.
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I have a woodworking project I'm starting but don't know how to clean the brush after applying coats of polyurethane. Any recommendations?
Thanks.
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On 6/3/2011 6:58 AM, snipped-for-privacy@fastmail.us wrote:

First you need to know what kind of poly you are using. Oil or water based.
Oil based, clean with mineral spirits or thinner. Water based, clean with warm soap and water.
This all works well if you are planing ahead. If the poly is already dried on the brush, toss it and plan ahead next time.
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wrote:

Geez, didn't know there were two types <g>. But it turns out that what I bought is oil-based.
Thanks for the education!
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In which case, soaking in ammonia might or might not cut the hardened poly and restore the brush. Worth a shot if the brush was other than the cheapest.
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Generally, the can of finish will include cleanup instructions. It will also generally include a toll-free phone number that you can use to follow up on any questions after reading the can.
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On 03 Jun 2011 15:36:46 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal) wrote:

Cool, thanks.
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Cleaning a brush actually starts with preparation before using it. Saturate the bristles with the appropriate solvent for your finish before starting to use it. In the case of oil based polyurethane, that would be mineral spirits. Make sure you get the solvent all the way up to the ferrule. Shake out the excess solvent. When you are using the brush, dip the bristles into the finish no more than half way up the brush. These two procedures keep the finish from getting up into the ferrule where it is hard to clean.
To clean the brush after you are done with it:
1) Wipe off the excess polyurethane from the brush onto some newspaper or equivalent. 2) Swish the brush in some mineral spirits three times using fresh mineral spirits each time. Really work the solvent into the bristles on the last rinse. 3) Squeeze out the remaining mineral spirits using your hands and some rags or paper towels or swish the brush in some lacquer thinner to help remove the mineral spirits and replace it with something a bit more water soluble. I do not use the lacquer thinner method. 4) Clean the bristles using water and something like LESTOIL or PINESOL. Make sure you rinse out all the cleaning agent. I have started using MASTERS BRUSH CLEANER instead. It is like a soap / shampoo made for brushes. It does a great job and conditions the bristles, especially natural bristles. Just follow the directions on the container. 5) Spin the brush or whip it to remove the remaining water. 6) Wrap the brush with paper to preserve the desired shape.
Good Luck.
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FairFax wrote:

And after you have to sand it back down and start over because of dropped bristles, it's false economy. I've wiped it on with a rag - works great. Old t-shirt cut into 4" squaresis fine. Cut off loose threads. Cut the poly half to two-thirds with mineral spirits, stir well, and start wiping. Once you wipe out any big streaks - STOP. It skins faster than you would think and you end up with a mess. Do lots of thin layers and lightly sand between coats. Google it.
--
-----
Don't use a brush with artificial bristles for ANY oil base coat...use
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You've obviously been ignoring your own advice as given lower down.

Quality brushes of any type, man-made or natural bristle work just fine.
Clean your brushes using whatever method is recommended by the paint manufacturer, it usually says on the tin.
Even if the recommended method is some sort of organic solvent, give a final clean with water and "fairy liquid" (or whatever liquid detergent you use for washing up (the old way, by hand) in your parts. Rinse thoroughly in clean running water and dry on paper towel.
Never leave brushes standing in a jar of solvent or brush cleaner. If they need to be left for a while for a brush cleaner to work (If you always clean properly you won't need to do this) they should be suspended so that the ends of the bristles aren't touching the bottom of the jar.
--
Stuart Winsor

Midland RISC OS show - Sat July 9th 2011
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FairFax wrote:

You already got them re cleaning, mine is this:
Don't use a brush with artificial bristles for ANY oil base coat...use bristle, the best you can afford.
--

dadiOH
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wrote:

Darn. Oh, well. It's a one-time job and money is tight so I might have to pass on that. I don't like plastic bristles myself but the deal was too good to pass on. The set came with about 6 brushes of different sizes and cost about $2.99. thx.
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"FairFax" wrote:

---------------------------- At $0.50/brush, it will cost more for solvent to clean the brush than it is worth.
Lew
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On 6/4/11 12:29 AM, FairFax wrote:

In that case, don't bother cleaning them... toss em.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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They'll not be much good then. Expect them to shed bristles like a moulting dog.
--
Stuart Winsor

Midland RISC OS show - Sat July 9th 2011
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Just wait till the brush dries out then you can just blow the dust off with a an air hose.
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On Fri, 3 Jun 2011 16:22:33 -0700 (PDT), "SonomaProducts.com"

Is this really the case? Seems a bit too good to be true, no? <g> thx.
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wrote:

F:
You can blow the dust out, just not the paint.
A couple of other tips would be:
*Try not to get paint in the upper third of the brush. Try. Painting upside down makes gravity the enemy.
*If you are using a water-based paint, very, very lightly pre-wet the brush and use a brush spinner or very gently flick the brush along its length across a board or something to get most of it out. Water-based paint will load better this way.
*When you do get paint in the forbidden zone and intend to use the brush again, you might find a fine comb good at removing it. Don't let the paint cake in that region because it's no fun getting it out.
*The solvent/water (depends on the paint) cleaning followed by a detergent and water cleaning works nicely. Rinsing with pure water to purge the second mix is the last step. If you have a brush spinner, you can use that to dry the brush or flick it along its length to drive off the moisture.
*When through cleaning, putting the brush in the supplied cardboard sleeve you don't have would be nice. A gentle winding with cling wrap also is good. This helps the brush retain it's designed shape if you didn't mash it.
*Remember the name "Purdy". Great brushes. If you want to hold a fine line or paint a particular angled area or cover an area of certain width, they make dedicated brushes. They're not cheap, but, just like ladies, if you treat them well, age hardly withers nor does time stale them. Someone here will tell you of a well-tended Purdy that could probably be in Junior High by now.
*Ask your paint store about the foam "hot dog" rollers and your paint. Sometimes you use them alone. Sometimes on complex things like doors in combo with brushes. For certain paints, the furry knap rollers are good too.
*Start high and work down low. That way you don't drip on finished areas.
*If you have to stop in the middle of a painting project, some people refigerate their brushes wrapped in cling film. I haven't tried it. But if a brush gets gummy on a hot day, I will stop for a cleaning before continuing.
*Ask about blue painter's tape. Ask how to get the best edge seal by burnishing. Frog tape is mighty fine but not mighty cheap.
*Don't believe every bit of the above is gospel or the whole of it. Other people will have good ideas.
*Next time, say you're a lady to start. We don't often get the chance to practice at the gentleman thing.
Regards,
Edward Hennessey
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wrote:

I have painted a lot of metal doors with the foam hog dog rollers. A 6" roller makes short work of doors, and since most metal doors on commercial jobs are beat up anyway, this is an excellent solution. As long as you work fast and don't reuse, they work fine with oil based paints.
I use them on just about anything I can outside, including door and window trims, siding trims, and anything else that has any kind of texture that doesn't require smooth a finish.
Robert
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On Sat, 4 Jun 2011 02:39:36 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

Thanks. I never would have thought of using a roller for this type of job. Good point.
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