Recently on Facebook, I posted a quote that  gave me a lot of interesting replies and comments,

“My paintbrushes are having a bad-hair day!” ~Lori McNee

Top Paintbrush Tips from the Art Pros on Facebook

This lead me to a great idea for a blog post. A while ago I asked my Twitter friends to share their tips and for this amazing post > 14 Art Business Tips from the Top Pros on Twitter.
So, what if I ask my Facebook friends (many are professional artists) to help me with great brush cleaning tips? This is what I posted on both my personal Facebook profile and my Fine Art Tips fan page:

Help! “My paintbrushes are having a bad-hair-day!” Please share your tips for keeping your paintbrushes clean! If you have a good tip, I will use it and link to you in an upcoming post on! Thanks for sharing your tips with other artists!

Here is what the Art Pros on Facebook had to say at their paintbrush tips: (one even made an entertaining video, be sure check it out below!)
Teri Granger Martin Soak for 5-10 minutes in baby oil (yes, baby oil) – This gets a lot of paint and medium off before washing thoroughly with mild soap and warm water.

Sandra Dechiro Wegmann Murphy Oil Soap, works wonders for cleaning brushes. I have been using it for years.Dip brushes in it and work it into the paintbrush hairs. Then wash with out with warm water. It works fantastic.

Jennie Rosenbaum Good question! I hate cleaning my brushes so I have a very rigid system to make sure I actually do take care of them. Next to my easel I have a fresh cleaning tub to keep my brushes fresh while painting. At the end of the session (or the end of that brush’s run) I put them all in the tub and head off to the sink to give them a good clean. I use laundry soap and massage the bristles thoroughly from the base to the tip. Then rinse and repeat until wiping them on the soap leaves no stain. I rinse my tub out and refill, then stack my brushes in their holes on the side to dry (I flick off the worst of the water and shape first) and set them back ready for the next session!

I use water miscible oils which are just magic, very easy to clean and take care of, better for the environment and for lazy brush people like me! I always work better when everything is ready to go as well.
karen fox tarlton artist
Karen Fox Tarlton Ivory bar soap when finished painting…nothing beats it!

jen hoffman
Jennifer Hoffman Gessler vaseline.

edward kennedy artist
Edward Kennedy I use Murphy’s oil soap. Fill up an old pump soap dispenser and use just what I need.

mark sheehan artist
Mark Robert Sheehan Mineral spirits,dry,then soap and water followed after drying by mineral oil if you use oil paint. http://www.marksheehanmetalartist.vpweb….
dee lee artist
Dee Lee Silicoil helps me out. I’m the worst brush cleaner ever.

utah painter johnson
Utahpainter Johnson I think the trick to cleaning is keeping the ferrule dry so that the bristles don’t rot up inside the paintbrush and come loose.
I used to store mine in Murphy’s oil soap when I didn’t want to clean them. is a great little book on brushes. How they’re made, different types, uses, care etc.
cheryl greenfield artist
Cheryl Greenfield What great suggestions already…Since it’s been awhile w/oils and now w/new brushes… thanks to all for these tips!!

deanna schrell artist

coralee mcnee girl in hatCoralee McNee I use Dove – I think that the moisturizer in the soap helps keep the bristles conditioned.

marilyn fenn artist
Marilyn Fenn First I clean them using Turpenoid (for oil) or water (for acrylic, watercolor, ink), until no paint comes off onto a paper towel. Then to the sink where I wash with “The Masters” brush cleaner (big tub) until no more colored soap comes out of the bristles. Finally, for those times when I forget to do that, I soak the now stiff brushes in “Better Way” brush cleaning fluid…very effective stuff, but be careful — it will take the paint right off the handle if you soak them too deep. Works better even than Silicoil. For my encaustic brushes, I just leave the paint in the brush, and use a lot of brushes (one for each color).
P.S. I appreciate everyone else’s great tips!
marc hanson
Marc Hanson I’m personally not nuts about introducing other oils into my paint through my brushes. That goes for soap residual also. So I only clean them with other than OMS when I’m using some kind of a drying medium. Otherwise a daily rinse in the OMS and they’re ready for the next day.
If I do need a deep clean I use either Turpenoid “Natural”, the citrus based cleaner in the green can, and let them stand in that for 10 minutes. Then I work them on the glass palette, kneading back and forth to loosen up the paint down deep into the ferrules. Once I’m happy that a lot of that paint is out of there, I take them to the sink and rinse the Turpenoid “Natural” out of them completely in warm water.
In a ‘worse case scenario’ I will use the bar of Fels Naptha Soap under the sink if I feel like they need a soap bath. But the Turpenoid Natural does the trick and conditions without drying them out.
You do not want the Turpenoid Natural left in the brush, it’s nasty stuff and doesn’t ever dry.
Washing daily with soap will dry them out making the bristles brittle. Other greases and ointments scare me because I don’t think they are completely out of the brush the next time I go to paint and that ends up in the paint film.
I guess I use a similar approach o Marilyn. 🙂
carol mcintyre
Carol McIntyre If the ferrel gets gummed up, I was told that you can soak your brushes in rubbing alcohol for a couple of days and that will solve the problem.

nolan clark artistNolan Clark here is a paint brush tip I did for our site a week or so ago Lori

lori mcnee artist with pugLori McNee Wow! What a fun way to start my day…thanks so much for all the great tips. I will pull this together into a fun post. I will let you all know when it’s up – hopefully this week. 🙂


Well, I guess I better give my brush cleaning tip: My paint brushes are extra challenging to clean since I do not use turpentine with the water soluble oils. I have tried many products over the years. Lately, I am using Windsor & Newton’s Brush Cleaner & Restorer. First I rinse out my brushes with warm water and Dawn dish-soap to cut through the oils, then I soak them in the cleaner overnight. This is working pretty well, although I am still having trouble with the oils in the ferrel. I can’t wait to try the tips above!
Thanks to all my Facebook friends for sharing their tips with
Here are some more articles you might like:
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How to Choose the Right Paint Brush for the Art Technique
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