Cleaning paint brushes is a vital part of the painting process. Whether you’re using a trade brush to [paint wall trim](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-paint-trim) or an art brush on a canvas, neglecting to clean your brush after a painting session can damage the bristles of your brush. Cleaning your brush prevents paint from drying in the bristles, hardening the brush and damaging its fibers. Improperly cleaned brushes can also discolor your paint job. Fortunately, there are many DIY, affordable, and efficient ways to clean paint brushes.\nThere are a few tools and materials that come in handy when cleaning brushes:\n\n1. __Lukewarm water__: Use lukewarm water to loosen dry paint in your brushes and rinse off the excess paint. You can clean paint brushes by making a water bath in a utility sink or clean brushes beneath a running faucet.\n2. __Brush comb__: While washing paint brushes in lukewarm water, use a brush comb to remove excess paint from the brush’s fibers. Like your paint brushes, you should also clean brush combs regularly. A brush comb is preferable to a wire brush because the wire brush will remove the filaments (or splits) at the end of the brush bristles. \n3. __Dish soap__: A little bit of liquid dish soap or hand soap can go a long way when cleaning brushes. You can pump some mild soap directly onto the brushes or add it to the sink to create a soapy water bath. In lukewarm, soapy water, comb the brush bristles clean before rinsing them in soap-free water.\n4. __Solvents__: Different paint jobs require different solvents as brush cleaners. With oil paints, use turpentine or mineral spirits. For shellac, use denatured alcohol. Solvents are potent substances, so always open the window or use them in well-ventilated areas. \n\nAfter a paint session, follow these steps to keep your brushes in good shape and to set your next [painting project](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/different-types-of-wall-paint-and-finishes) up for success:\n\n1. __Use the right brush for your paint__. Match the type of paint you’re using to the right brush for smooth application and keep the brush’s bristles in good shape. With latex paint, use polyester or nylon paint brushes. For oils, use natural paint brushes.\n2. __Remove excess paint__. Before you start cleaning with water, take a paper towel or rag to remove the unused paint from your brushes.\n3. __Clean with solvent__. When cleaning water-soluble paint, use just enough paint thinner or solvent to submerge the bristles in a bowl, then stir the brush for about 20 seconds. Wipe the brush on the side of the bowl, and repeat as needed until no more paint comes off the brush. With hardened paint, you may need to soak the brush in vinegar for an hour to loosen the dried paint. \n4. __Clean with water and soap__. With lukewarm water, rinse off the remaining paint and solvent. Add some soap to keep the bristles like new, and use your fingers to massage the brush to get rid of any extra paint. Be sure to keep the handle up top and the bristles facing down so that too much water does not get into the ferrule—the metal band that fastens the bristles to the brush handle.\n5. __Rinse with warm water__. With the paint gone from your brushes, you can now rinse them in soap-free water. Hot water will make the ferrule loosen and expand, so use lukewarm water to give your brushes a final rinse.\n6. __Dry your brushes__. There are several ways to dry paint brushes. You can use a brush spinner, shake the brushes over a pail to get excess water off, or pat them dry with paper towels. \n7. __Store your brushes__. Properly storing paint brushes is essential for the brushes to keep their shape. Hang your dry brushes by the handle or lay them flat on a surface. Ensure the paint brushes are completely dry before your next project.\nMaster everything from color theory to pattern mixing with the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com) and exclusive lessons from award-winning interior designers like Kelly Wearstler and Corey Damen Jenkins. From shopping for statement furniture to designing a lighting scheme to choosing the newest member of your plant family, the skills you’ll pick up are sure to make your house, apartment, or condo feel even more like a home. \nLearn how to clean paint brushes to maintain brush quality and to protect your paints.