Clean Your Paintbrushes – Secrets From a Brush Recycler

This post is meant mainly for artists but could apply to other creatives such as writers, photographers or potters.  In fact, it applies to anyone who uses materials to create.

As a novice, I seemed to be eternally buying paintbrushes.  One day it dawned on me that perhaps I could save myself some money by making sure they were really clean after I used them and perhaps they would last longer.  And guess what, it worked!  I keep my brushes for much longer now and I have brass in pocket to boot.  I urge you to realize that your materials have energy and an intelligent life of their own.  They contribute greatly to your craft so love and respect them and they will do likewise for you.

Here are some tips to help you do the same.

Nylon brushes are best to use for watercolour, gouache, tempera and acrylic.  To clean them, firstly, use warm water and pour a little dish washing liquid into the palm of your hand.  Swirl the wet brush around in the soap right down to the base of the bristles (called the ferrule).  Rinse the brush off in clean warm water under the tap and dry off to a nice point. If you do this your brushes will last for ages!  I urge you to now lay them out in your organized studio ready for the next day.

Next post I will show how to clean oil brushes, now that is a little more complicated!

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