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Easy Steps to Wash and Clean Your Paint Brushes and Rollers


On any painting job the most important item in your toolbox is going to be your paintbrushes and rollers. Anyone who has painted a larger job or one with fine details knows about the brushmarks that inevitably come when you try to paint a straight line with a cheap brush. If you are spending the proper amount to buy quality brushes and rollers then keeping those items in good shape for the next project should become a very high priority for you. Cleaning your paint brushes and rollers is an essential part of maintaining their quality and prolonging their lifespan. Since we’ve been in business for 50 years – we are meticulous about how we clean and store our equipment so it lasts from one job to the next. In this article we’ve compiled some of Al’s Painting best tips for maintaining the brushes and rollers on your job.

Al’s Painting is a renowned house painter based out of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. We serve Eau Claire and the surrounding areas as a neighbor for over 50 years. Our specialization is exterior and interior painting, anything from fences, decks, doors, walls, to kitchens, bathroom, hallways, cabinets, light fixtures, garages, workspaces, and anything in between Read on to discover our tried-and-true methods for keeping your paint brushes and rollers clean and ready for your next painting project.

1. Gather Your Materials

Before you begin cleaning your paintbrushes and rollers, gather the necessary materials. You will need warm water, mild dish soap or a paintbrush cleaner, a bucket or sink, a wire brush or comb, and clean rags or paper towels. If you were painting with water-based paints then it is ok to use a standard kitchen sink for this process. If you were working with something else then you may want to consider a more robust way of disposing of the excess water. Having these items ready will make the cleaning process way more efficient.

2. Remove Excess Paint

Our first step is to remove as much excess paint from your brushes and rollers as possible right after you are done with your painting project. Brushes and rollers are way harder to clean when everything is hard (with a few exceptions). Scraping off the big chunks is crucial to try to get to immediately after you are done painting as it prevents the paint from hardening and clogging the bristles or fibers. Scrape the excess paint onto the edge of the paint can or use a paintbrush scraper to remove the excess from your brushes. For rollers, roll them back and forth on a clean surface or held down paper towels to spread away the excess paint.

3. Clean with Warm Water and Soap

Next, rinse your brushes and rollers under warm running water. This helps to remove any remaining paint and prepare them for a thorough cleaning. Add a small amount of mild dish soap or a paintbrush cleaner to the bristles or the roller cover. (1)  Gently work the soap or cleaner into the bristles or fibers, using your fingers or a clean rag. This isn’t a “rub back and forth” job but more of a gentle circles so as to not pull fibers aggressively out of place or against the grain. This step helps to loosen the paint particles and ensures a more effective cleaning process.

4. Rinse and Repeat

Continue rinsing your brushes and rollers under warm water until the water runs clear. Squeeze out excess water and repeat the process if necessary, especially for heavily soiled brushes or rollers. For stubborn paint residue, use a wire brush or comb to gently remove the remaining paint. Be careful not to damage the bristles or fibers during this step.

5. Dry and Reshape

Once your brushes and rollers are clean, it’s important to dry them properly. Gently shake off any excess water and use a clean rag or paper towels to blot them dry. Avoid using excessive force as it will almost always damage the bristles or fibers. Reshape the bristles of your paint brushes with your fingers and fluff up the fibers of your roller covers to their original form or as close as you can. This step ensures that they maintain their proper shape and are ready for future use. You want your brush bristles to be as aligned as possible for the next job and your rollers to be capable again or applying even paint to the walls. Reshaping them is the most overlooked step and one of the most important besides removing the old paint.

6. Store Properly

Proper storage is key to maintaining the quality of your paint brushes and rollers. Hang your brushes vertically or lay them flat with the bristles facing upward. This helps to prevent deformation and keeps the bristles in optimal condition. Store your rollers in a clean, dry place, ensuring they are fully dry before storing them. Consider using protective covers or wrapping them in plastic to prevent dust or debris from settling on the fibers. If you are in a pinch – ziplock bags are a great way to store your rollers/brushes.

7. Professional Assistance

The easiest way to make sure your brushes and rollers stay clean is to hire a professional to do the work for you. They bring their own tools, fully prep the space, deliver an excellent paint experience, then do a full clean up and haul it all away. Professional painters are usually much faster and neater than doing it yourself. If you are looking for a good professional painter in Eau Claire, give Al’s Painting a call and experience the difference of hiring a trusted and reliable team.


Properly washing and cleaning your paint brushes and rollers is essential for maintaining their quality and maximizing their lifespan. By following these easy steps, you can keep your painting tools in excellent condition and ensure optimal performance for future projects. Rinse the paint off in soapy water, rub wit the grains until all the paint is out, gently use a wire comb if needed, then pat dry and reshape before storing somewhere dry ideally in a ziploc back or plastic wrapper.

With your paint brushes and rollers in top condition, discover our tips for tackling challenging projects like painting high ceilings and hard-to-reach areas.


Painting can be difficult but we hope this guide helped you! Dive into our interior painting services by clicking here.

Experienced and Reliable House Painting in Eau Claire

At Al’s Painting, we’ve been serving the Eau Claire community for over 50 years. There is undoubtedly nobody with a more workable system to extend the life of painting tools than us. Painting houses and painting businesses across Wisconsin, we know how to make our tools last so the quality of our projects stay at the highest level. Contact us for all your painting needs, and let our professional team provide exceptional service and expert advice. Trust Al’s Painting for reliable, punctual, and professional painting services in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. We are here to assist you with all your painting needs!


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