No, not really, natural hair brushes go limp when used with water based
products, in my experience and as you suspect water does not wash out oil
And concerning artificial brushes, different strokes for different fokes. I
never use natural brissle brushes and I would be willing to compare finish
results to what would be considered a good spray finish. Its all about
knowing what you are doing. Contrairy to popular belief I get glass smooth
with General Finishes oil based finishes and the recomended "foam brushes",
a quality foam brush however, I use Wooster foam brushes.
Certainly oil based paints I've used you can wash off the brushes with
hot water and detergent, but that instruction is the only indication
that it contains water. Anything to get the VOC down I suppose.
I was very surprised when I bought gloss paint for a garden bench - it
looked and smelled like standard oil-based paint, but the instructions
said to use water to wash the brushes. The coating lasted for 4 or 5
years, in an exposed location on the north coast of Scotland.
I don't remember the brand, but I bought it from B&Q.
In my youth I watched my father on many occasions washing brushes in thick
washing powder 'solution'. In those days there were not many other
household cleaning agents, and washing powder was used for many things,
including washing dishes. I still use a sequence of: wipe brushes as dry as
possible on sheets of newspaper; then hot water and detergent, and dry wipe
on newspaper again; then a last clean up in brush cleaner or white spirit.
That way you minimise the amount of dirty solvent you are left with having
to dispose of.
Typically you want to clean oil based products out of a brush with paint
thinner and or mineral spirits. You can clean out that solvent with water
and a cleaner that breaks down oil such as dish soap that cuts the grease on
When I work with oil bases stains I clean my hands afterwards with paint
thinner and then wash my hands with an automotive type hand cleaner, that
removes the paint thinner.
This is what I just said, except that you should wipe off the bulk of the
paint on newspaper and keep the use of solvents to the minimum. You do not
want to be using water last as this will take longer to dry, and speed the
rusting of the metal bands and nails of many brushes.
Incidentally, whilst finally drying, roll the brushes up in strips of
newspaper, held on with rubber bands. That keeps all the hairs together for
There is always a temptation to do this, but you are damaging the protective
surface of your skin and quite likely to become sensitised and be stuck with
the dermatitis, discussed here recently.
You might want to hold the use of solvents to a minimum but after painting
all day long I don't want to spend 15 more minutes cleaning the brushes.
Additionally, I have never had a brush rust then again I buy the more
expensive brushes ..and a few of my brushes are not of this millenium.
No need, at least with a good brush..
Possibly but I suspect that paint or varnish on my hands for a much longer
period of time is worse. I normally have thinner on my hands for 10-15
seconds, that is all it takes. After painting 20-25 homes in the last 12
years and using this method of cleaning I have not had any problems. This
has been my practice for 30 or so years with stains. I try now to wear
synthetic gloves to speed clean up even more but you always get something on
You are one of the lucky ones. I last worked in a lab maybe 30 years ago,
and I still can't touch greases or solvents without coming out in a rash.
I'm allergic to the gloves too...
We are here to advise others: not to say what we have got away with and
invite others to do the same.
But that is an extremely slow process to start with. Better to use a quick
solution, clean the brushes with oil based solvents and once the brushes are
clean wash the solvent out with a grease cutting soap like dish soap. Or
let the solvent evaporate naturally if you are not going to use the brush
for a period of time.
I'd much prefer to paint with oil based as clean up is much faster using oil
based solvents than with water based products and cleaning up with soap and
water. I have lots and lots and lots of practice. ;~)
Some of the new water-soluble oil paints are allowing that nowadays,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_miscible_oil_paint This is for
artist oils, but I've seen it advertised for house paints, too, though
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