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How to Get Dried Paint Out of Paint Brushes – Old-School Artist Hacks

how to get dried paint out of paint brushes

Don’t worry because in this article, we’ll teach you the best hacks on how to get dried paint out of paint brushes, so you won’t have to buy another set. Just keep on reading to learn the old-school hacks that every aspiring artist should know and keep your brushes in excellent condition.

Tempted to start painting again? You might have accidentally forgotten about cleaning your paintbrushes, and now you have dried paint that keeps the tips dry. Does this mean that your brushes are ruined for good?

How to Get Dried Paint Off Your Brushes

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There’s no doubt that painting is a great mental exercise that helps you channel your emotions, show off your creativity, and kill time while doing something productive. Since the beginning of time, humans have used multiple tools to tell their stories using colors and shapes, and modern humans are no different.

Luckily, today you don’t have to carve tools from wood or rocks or use your hands to tell your story, as there are lots of high-quality brush sets available on the market that you can choose from. But after using your brushes, you need to make sure that they’re clean so they can be ready for your next artistic project.

Acrylic and other water-based paint types are suitable for beginner and amateur artists because they dry fast. However, if you forget about cleaning your brushes on the spot, you will find that they have dried too fast. Fast forward a few weeks when you want to use your paintbrushes again, and your brushes are unusable. The problem becomes more complicated if you’re using oil-based paint.

But don’t throw your old brushes away. In this article, we’ll share with you the best tips, tricks, and hacks that professional artists use to keep their brushes squeaky clean, even if they didn’t clean them on the spot. Here are our best tips on how to get paint out of brushes using materials that you can easily get.

Cleaning Water-Based Paint

Cleaning Water-Based Paint

Acrylic and latex are the most used paint types by amateur painters and are also the easiest to clean off after drying. Here are some hacks to clean dried water-based paint.

1. Use Water and Soap

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This method is the easiest to use if you forgot to clean your brushes after finishing your last artistic project. Since water-based paint tends to dry fast, you might use it even if you have left your brushes to dry overnight.

All you have to do is to fill a glass container with warm water and some dish soap or another mild detergent. Soak the brushes in the mixture and let the paintbrushes sit for a few hours up to one day. You can wiggle the brush a little bit every now and then to make sure that the mixture has got to all the hardened bristles.

Remove the brush and rinse it with clean water until the water runs clear. You can repeat this process if necessary as the soap won’t damage the bristles. Let the brush dry before using it to create a new artistic project.

2. Use a Fabric Softener

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This method won’t only remove dried paint but also extend your brushes’ life as it keeps the bristles soft. Even if you don’t leave the paint to dry, you can use a fabric softener every now and then to keep the brushes in an excellent state.

You just need a little amount of fabric softener and add it to a jar of water. Soak the brushes in the mixture and start swirling them to remove the excess paint. You will notice that the paint particles are sinking to the bottom of the container.

Rinse the brushes until the water runs clear. You can soak the brushes for a few hours if the dried paint doesn’t seem to come off easily. Keep the brushes on a flat surface and let them dry.

3. Use Vinegar

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Using vinegar is another potent way to get rid of dried acrylic and latex paint. You can use white or cider vinegar.

All you have to do is to fill a pot with vinegar and heat it on medium heat until it starts to simmer. Once hot, put your brushes in the vinegar and let them sit for about half an hour. After that, use your fingers to remove the dried paint particles.

If you don’t want to heat the vinegar, you can let your paintbrushes sit in the vinegar overnight. Use dish soap or a mild detergent to clean the brushes after the vinegar has removed the dried paint particles.

You should rinse the bristles until the water runs clear, then leave the brushes to dry. Although this is the least inexpensive method, some people don’t prefer it because they don’t like the smell of vinegar.

4. Use Rubbing Alcohol

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Rubbing alcohol is potent in removing dried paint, but it tends to dry out the brush bristles. However, this is one of the fastest ways to remove paint from old brushes if you need to start working on your new artistic project.

Soak your paintbrushes in alcohol and swirl them a little to remove the dried paint. Don’t let the brushes sit in the alcohol for too long, as it might damage the bristles.

Remove the brushes and give them a rinse. Use a moisturizing soap to wash the bristles and let them dry before using them one more time.

Cleaning Oil-Based Paint

Cleaning Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paint is a little bit more challenging to remove than water-based paint, but you can still get rid of dried oil-based varnishes and paints easily.

The only way to get rid of these types of paints is to use an appropriate solvent or thinner that breaks the paint molecules. You need to follow the instructions of the manufacturer to choose a proper solvent that breaks the paint particles without damaging the bristles of your brush.

Paint thinners usually work for several types of oil-based paints and varnishes, while denatured alcohol works for shellac. You shouldn’t soak the brushes for too long, as these chemicals can damage the bristles.

Just soak the brush in the suitable chemical and swirl the brush for a few minutes. The solution will break the chemical bond of the paint so it can be removed quickly. Keep on dipping the brush up and down until all the paint has dissolved.

If the brush is still dirty, you can repeat the process with a clean thinner. Rinse the brush using water until it runs clear. Leave the brushes on a flat surface and let them dry completely before using them.

How to Get Dried Paint Out of Paint Brushes – Wrap Up

Leaving paint to dry is more common than you think. Some types of paint, like acrylic, tend to dry too fast, so you won’t be able to use your brush to draw or paint. Luckily, you can use a lot of methods to get rid of dried paint without ruining the bristles. You can also combine more than one method to remove all the residue of dried paint.

Oil-based paint is a little more challenging to remove, but some special solvents and thinners can successfully do the job. Just follow the instructions and choose the appropriate thinner, and your brushes will be as good as new.

Now that you know all about the best methods to get rid of dried paint, it’s time to get back to painting. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about our painting products.

To view our complete selection of high quality paint by numbers kits and brushes, CLICK HERE!

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