Does anyone know a good way to get dried house paint out of the bristles of
a synthetic house brush?
I hate to say it is my favorite brush and i have allowed house paint to dry
into the deep bristles so it is no longer supple.
I have been painting on the house about an hour a day for the past month. I
have been keeping the brush after use in plastic bags and then closed into
an empty paint can with a few drops of water in the bottom out of the sun
but I have ended up with drying in the deep bristles anyway. I know that
the things are not that expensive but the newer ones do not appear to have
the bristle "bulk" of this one, so saving it actually is my aim here.
I put it through the wash cycle of the washing machine twice yesterday with
detergent but that did not seem to work either.
You can get it off with one of a dozen solvents (not water) but if
paint has dried on your brush it is best to toss it.
They still make high quality brushes. The "new ones" aren't lower
quality-- they are all qualities at all different prices. You just
need to go purchase one to your liking. Maybe the store you went to
didn't have the brush you wanted and you gave up but I guarantee you it
Hope this helps,
You did say synthetic bristles right ?
Any solvent that will soften the paint will turn the whole brush to goo.
This calls for, last shot, drastic action as there is no other choice, and
nothing to lose.
Make sure it's perfectly dry.
Lay the brush on a concrete floor, and wolllop the bristles repeatedly with
a steel hammer.
(for more harmless fun, pretend it's that idiot neighbor down the street who
pokes their nose into everyone's business, or your boss, or ex-wife/husband)
Turn the brush over and do it some more.
Keep going and soon the paint will turn to powder.
Wash it out in soapy water, and dry.
repeat as many times as needed.
The brush will never be "like new" but I've salvaged countless brushes I've
gotten back filled with dry paint after lending them to people this way.
(and guess which ones are the only ones I now loan out)
There are any number of "brush restorer" products that will work well.
I've found a couple of the newer citric-based to work quite well, in
fact. Takes a couple of days sitting, but if the brush is a real
quality brush, well worth the time and definitely not the abuse.
Second the citrus solvent. I used the zep citrus degreaser from home depot
and big orange citrus degreaser from smart and final (socal) - they both
work on the housepaint (latex and enamel) when left in overnight or for some
time in sunluight (to get the elevated temps)They also take the print (and
resins)right off circular saw blades. Pat
All well and good ,and some may want to try it.
But the OP did say "synthetic" paint brush.
All of those "citrus" cleaners are still oil based and may be great on a
real bristle brush. (that water based products might damage)
But watch which plastics you try to clean. ;)
Check the label and I'll bet in all the small print it tells you to be
careful with some plastics
You missed the part where I stressed the hammer method was
"last shot, drastic action as there is no other choice, and
nothing to lose."
Perhaps I could have been clearer and said
"after nothing else works, just before you are ready to toss the brush, but
you STILL want to try saving it."
Water-based products won't "damage" any brush I've ever seen made for
painting. Some might not flow as well or hold the optimum amount of
paint but that's going overboard w/ caution, imo.
But time...might as well just pitch it and save the trouble.
Not really imo.
The brush restorer technique is far preferable both in what it will do
to the brush and the probability of success. Quite far gone brushes can
be pretty frequently brought back to at least usability that way. I'd
think the probability of having something useful for other than a
parts-washing grease brush would be essentially zero after beating on it
w/ a hammer extensively.
Beg to differ and most professional painters and furniture refinishers who
know their stuff will verify this.
Brush websites should have it too.
If you know a real pro who uses paint brushes daily, go ask the loan of a
natural bristle brush to put on that next coat of latex in your livingroom.
And count the number of times they use "naughty words"
No natural bristle brush should be used for any water based finishes, or
even cleaned with water.
Oil based paints stains, urethanes only.
You can, but the bristles will split, fray and go funny.
After a few times in water, you just toss it, because you will never get a
decent finish with it.
Few know this, and most of the jerks at the big box stores won't often know
the reason they sell both types either.
Synthetic bristles are not just more popular just because they are often
cheaper, but as most people use latex/water based paints, they simply work
And there are some synthetic bristles that are also for oil based products,
but these are usually as pricy as the natural ones.
If you just want to slap some paint on, and don't really care, use what you
want, but sometimes there are reasons that some paint brushes cost 49 cents
and some cost $50.00+.
There's a difference (as I noted) between using a brush for what it
isn't designed for and "damaging" the brush simply by getting it wet. I
don't believe there's any indication that simply water on a natural
bristle brush, for example, well actually damage the brush once it's
A pamphlet entitled "Care and Feeding" came w/ a brush includes the
"A natural bristle brush includes badger, hog (or china) bristle, sable,
squirrel, goat, ox hair and others.
These natural bristle brushes are hand-set and some of the hairs will be
of different lengths. Consequently you may find the brush will shed
some the first few times you will use it.
To minimize this, you should:
1.Wash the brush with a mild dish soap in warm water ..."
Prior to dipping a brush into finish precondition it by dipping the
bristles into the proper solvent including the ferrule. Remove excess
solvent and start finishing. Stops finish from drying near the
ferrule making bristles stiff and aids cleaning after brushing.
On Tue, 06 Sep 2005 08:09:25 -0400, FACE
Wrapping and refrigerating is OK for a shitty brush, but if you use
good ones (and they do work allot better), buy a brush spinner and
clean them often. On a hot day I clean em every two or three hours.
For latex use "Fantastic" or some other super cleaner with water. A
brush comb is a good idea.
On Tue, 06 Sep 2005 08:09:25 -0400, in alt.home.repair FACE
A big thanks to all that have replied. All sound like good ideas.
The in-the-freezer-overnight will become a new thing of mine. Hopefully the
Miz will accept that along with the caulk and spackling knives in the
drainer. :-) (I am still convinced that the best caulk smoother in a corner
joint is my fingertip.)
The solvents are also attractive. I had considered gasoline overnight but
that may turn the synthetic bristles to goo as someone said. However, white
vinegar sounds pretty benign.
Besides giving me a good laugh, beating the bristles with a hammer and
powdering the dry paint then combing it out also sounds reasonable.
I just bought a new wire brush since one I have had for years I have worn
out in the previous 5 weeks. Combing the body of the bristles sounds good
too, and maybe the fact that I did wear out the other wire brush (the first
seven rows of the sixteen rows of bristles are now gone) on flaking and
otherwise 'bad areas' on the old paint and boards should tell me something
-- like painting a coupla thousand square feet of rough cedar siding just
may be nearing the limit on this brush anyway. I have used it for the porch
and basically touch up jobs for about 5 years but never for this much -- i
am repainting the entire house and have double-coated some areas that are in
Seems I found the right newsgroup to ask this, I am looking at some
"situations" in this endeavor that I have not tackled before and may be back
for advice. <G>
Question to Pat: Do you use the Big Orange citrus cleaner full strength or
in a dilution? I am also using Zep housewash.
All in all, thanks to all,
I don't know about beating on it w/ a hammer... :(
Just clean the damn brush when you've finished using it and get avoid of
the problem...doesn't take 30 minutes and is <far> better for the
brush. The one thing whoever talked about solvents had correct is that
removing dried paint from a brush is never absolutely complete and the
brush will not be as good as it was, ever. How much you lose depends on
how bad you let it get and how good a brush it was originally.
Not if you want a decent brush to work with when you're done. You'll
break darn near every bristle and weaken those you don't. You'll be
picking bristles out of the paint continuously.
A bristle brush is <not> a common wire brush.
Not Pat, but you use it according the instructions on the container.
Don't know the particular brand and sometimes the same brands are sold
in both concentrate or ready-to-use containers.
On Tue, 06 Sep 2005 13:16:23 -0400, in alt.home.repair FACE
After the last two days of cleaning the brush was supple enough to use again
so I did my 100 square feet of housepainting on the second story (split
level, 3 two story sides)from the extension ladder yesterday afternoon.
Sure, 30 years ago i would have done 1000 square feet or so in a day but
this is not 30 years ago. :-)
That I have only been doing an average of 100 square feet a day is the
reason i have not been washing the brush out everyday but looking for ways
to keep it from day to day and washing it maybe once a week...or two.
And that is how I ended up with dried paint in the bristles. I got enough
out in the past two days, including the fingernail bit someone suggested
to go with it yesterday.
The brush, complete with it's 6 oz of paint, overnighted, well wrapped, in
the freezer. I put it in just after I had finished my painting yesterday
Another day, another 100 square feet, maybe 200!, this afternoon. Weather
is beautiful for this I started my other soon-to-be-sold house in late june
and just the front split-level face over there lasted through July. All but
the face of that house is well shaded and the rest does not need paint nor
is the new paint on the face, which bakes in the sun daily, obviously
different from the rest.
Same situation over here except since this house has not been fully painted
in 11 years other than area touch-up and front trim and painting the chimney
chase twice and I am doing the whole thing.
Whooee, and I though I was slow! 100 sq ft is less
than 13 feet linear on an 8 foot wall. That
shouldn't be an all day job. I can do a side of a
house, about 500 sq ft, in a day so that it takes
me about 4 days. Then another 2 days for trim.
Other friends claim they can paint their house in
2 days, maybe one more for trim. So I though I was
about the slowest painter around.
I think most of your problem is how slow your are
and how long the paint brush is out in the air.
If you are going that slow, you need to be dipping
that brush in water at least every 1/2 hour.
Waste a little paint but you will paint faster and
On Wed, 07 Sep 2005 22:34:06 GMT, in alt.home.repair "George E. Cawthon"
Yep. That's about right. On each patch, i feather it out on the edges and
the next day feather it in so it doesn't look like a start/stop job. :-)
Who said I was out there all day? :-) Most days are about 1 hour or a
little less in actually painting that 100 sq feet from an extension ladder.
Some days I get really squirrelly and spend over 2 hours painting! If I am
am doing a lower portion from the ground, i do more square footage and paint
for a longer time, but i feel sure that is about the same with a lot of
I think the last time i had this house professionally painted it took 4 days
-- last day was a partial for the trim. That's when I was paying
over a grand for someone else to do it though. He wore out a $30
horsehair brush on this job.
I sure do feel bad about doing it so slow. ;-) The other side of the coin
is that i am doing it at all. I will keep your suggestion in mind about
dipping the brush.
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