How to Clean Paint Oil from Brushes

How to Clean Paint Oil from Brushes

It can be a real pain to wash all the excess paint from your brush, even when you've been using linseed oil. But there are ways to make it easier on yourself!

You have probably heard this phrase before "oil and water don't mix." This is why it can be so hard to remove excess paint from your brushes. Paint pigment sticks to oil. So, even after giving your meeting a few good rinses of warm water, the brush still feels tacky!

Products to Use to Clean Oil from Paint Brushes

There are several commercial products at Art Supplies that are designed to help you clean your paintbrushes. In addition, some household items may be able to do the trick!


Here are some helpful methods you can try if you want to remove oil from your paintbrush:

Method 1: The Dish Soap Method

This is probably your best bet! Dish detergent is designed to cut through the grease and oils found in dish soap. It can help you quickly remove oil paint from your brushes.

You'll need: Dish Detergent (any kind should do) Paper towels or a rag

Step 1: Pour a generous amount of dish detergent onto the paper towel or rag.

Step 2: Swirl your brush in soapy water.

Step 3: Rinse the brush under warm water until all traces of paint have been removed. Your meetings should now be free from excess paint!

Method 2: The WD-40 Method

If you're out of the above products, you can use WD-40 instead. It helps to loosen excess paint from your brush. BUT it's not that great at removing all the oil-paint buildup, so that it may take a few tries

You'll need: WD-40 (any brand should do) Paper towels or a rag

Step 1: Pour a generous amount of WD-40 onto the paper towel or rag.

Step 2: Swirl your brush in soapy water.

Step 3: Rinse the brush under warm water until all traces of paint have been removed. Your brushes should now be free from excess paint!

Method 3: Paint Brush Cleaner

This product is usually in the form of a thick gel. Wipe it on the brush and let it dry (it will become powdery). When you rinse the brush underwater, the gel dissolves, taking excess paint with it.

You'll need: Paint Brush Cleaner (any brand should do) Paper towels or a rag

Step 1: Pour some of the Paint Brush Cleaner onto the paper towel or rag.

Step 2: Swirl your brush in the cleaner gel. You'll notice that it starts to take on satisfactory quality, like baby powder. If your brush still feels tacky, keep swirling. If it feels clean, move on to the next step!

Step 3: Rinse the brush under warm water until all traces of paint have been removed. Your brushes should now be free from excess paint!

Method 4: The Alcohol Method

Alcohol dissolves oil-based products, which is why it's often used to clean brushes. It helps dissolve any leftover paint on your brush, but it doesn't leave the bristles feeling super soft as oil-based cleaners do.

You'll need: Isopropyl Alcohol (any brand should do) Paper towels or a rag

Step 1: Pour some of the alcohol onto the paper towel or rag.

Step 2: Swirl your brush in soapy water. You'll notice that it starts to take on fine quality, like baby powder. If your brush still feels tacky, keep swirling. If it feels clean, move on to the next step!

Step 3: Take a clean paper towel and blot your brush to remove any excess alcohol.

Step 4: Rinse the brush under warm water until all traces of paint have been removed. Your brushes should now be free from oil paint!

After washing your brushes in one of these four ways, they will probably still feel a bit stiff. However, after using them for a few weeks, they will soften. Using a little bit of baby oil on your brushes helps make them feel soft again!

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