How to Clean Dried Paintbrushes

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Learn how to clean dried paintbrushes. Don’t you hate when you stumble upon a paintbrush that you’ve forgotten about?

Dried latex paint can be a pain to clean out, but I have an easy tip on how I do it! No paint thinner needed!

You might also like this post on how to paint French doors.

how to clean dried paint brushes

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By the way, this method is also a great way to condition brushes between use. It makes the bristles soft again after heavy use.

Think of it as a hair conditioner for your paintbrush. Plus, it smells amazing!

Cleaning Dried Paint Brushes

My husband cleaned up my painting mess last weekend and placed my brushes in the garage where I promptly forgot about them. They’re not completely dry, though this method works for dry brushes too.

Rinsing the brushes removed a lot of the paint on the outside, but the inside was completely dried out.

Supplies Needed:

  1. If the brush is still damp, rinse the brush out as best as you can.rinsing paint from brush
  2. Use the brush to remove what paint you can.scrub paint brush
  3. Then soak in a glass jar of Murphy oil.soak brush is murphy oil until paint is gone
  4. This also works for completely dry brushes, but you might need to let it sit for about a week.
  5. Let the brush sit for a few days depending on how bad it is.
  6. Bad brushes will need a clean supply of Murphy oil because the paint leaks to the bottom of the jar.
  7. Rinse the brush well with water.
  8. Use the brush comb to make sure the inside of the bristles is clean as well. Soak longer if needed.
  9. You can scrub excess paint off of the bristles with a scrub brush.
two brushes soaking in jar to remove paint

Other Solutions for Dried Brushes

I haven’t had as much success with these methods, but I wanted to share them.

Fabric Softener

Let the brush soak in fabric softener. Then rinse well.

Hot Water

Let your brush sit in hot water for about 20 minutes. Scrub with a brush comb. For more details, check out this post.

Paint Stripper

I’ve never tried this tip, but it sounds promising!

If you’re desperate, paint stripper works. Let it soak for a few minutes and scrape it away with a putty knife.

How to Avoid Letting Your Brush Dry Out

  • In between coats of paint, wrap your brush in plastic wrap or place it in a plastic baggie.
  • You can place the plastic-wrapped paintbrush in the fridge if needed.
  • Don’t place the brush is a place where you will forget about it. (Looking at you hubby for putting my brushes in the garage…)

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clean dried paint brushes

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  1. I haven’t tried this method, but I’ve used goo gone and acrylic & artificial nail tip remover. From Dollar General. It was all I had on hand to clean a bunch of brushes my daughter use. Both helped clean dried paint on brushes. I’m going to try Murphy’s Oil next. Thanks

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