The 7 Best Paint Brush Cleaner Options That Extend the Life of Your Tools
These top-rated paint brush cleaner options, including solvents, will extend the life of the tools.
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The right tools for a household paint job come at a cost, and investing in quality paint brushes makes painting easier and more efficient. But how many times have you kicked yourself for letting a paint-laden brush sit too long, making it difficult to downright impossible to clean? (It’s not just me that does that, right?) That’s why you need to buy a paint brush cleaner before starting your next DIY project.
It’s important to protect your painting tools (and your investment) by cleaning your paint brushes properly. We rounded up the best paint brush cleaners on the market, ranging from handy gadgets to hard-working solvents, including a few items you may have never known you needed.
Best Overall Paint Crush Cleaner
Rollingdog Four-in-One Paint Brush Comb and Roller Cleaner Tool
You know how you when you rinse a paint brush out, the residual paint just seems to keep pouring out of it? Or you think you’ve done a good job at cleaning the brush only to find more paint has crept out? That’s because paint sits deep within the interior bristles where water can’t reach it. This toothy paint brush comb digs down deep into the bristles to dislodge “hidden” paint. It also functions as a paint roller cleaning tool, with features to clean standard and mini rollers.
- Compact, mutli-functioning tool
- Cleans both paint brushes and rollers
- Budget-friendly price
- Made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel
- Tool may be small for some hands
Best Budget Paint Crush Cleaner
Ace Black Steel Brush and Roller Cleaning Tool
Make a small investment in the life of your brushes with this inexpensive paint brush cleaner from trusted brand, Ace Hardware. There are no bells and whistles here—just a handy two-function tool that includes a brush-cleaning comb and a paint roller scraper. It has a steel blade and plastic handle to get the job done. Now all you need is to buy your paint color and you’ll be ready for the aftermath.
- Wallet-friendly price
- Cleans both paint brushes and rollers
- Available in stores and for home order/delivery
- Teeth may be too thick to reach deep into brushes
Best Paint Crush Cleaner for Oil-Based Paint
EcoRing Plastic Paint Brush Cleaning Tool
If only cleaning up oil-based paints were as easing as rinsing them in water! Alas, oil and water don’t mix, and paint thinners and solvents literally stink. Solvents can also emit toxic fumes and can damage flooring, furniture and textiles. This clever paint brush cleaner, which is meant to be used with two wide-mouth Mason jars, allows you to soak brushes in solvent while containing fumes and mess. It’s also good for storing a dirty brush in-between coats.
- Reduces the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Can also be used for latex-based paints
- Has a patent-pending design
- Mason jars not included
- May not allow for deep solvent penetration
Best Solvent Cleaner for Oil-Based Paints
Klean Strip Mineral Spirits Paint Thinner
There’s no trade secret here—mineral spirits are a universal solvent for oil-based paint. They emit less odor than paint thinner and are considered more effective as a paint brush cleaner. Klean Strip Mineral Spirit comes in a 1-quart container, which should be sufficient for most paint brushes.
- Produces very low odor and dries with minimal residue
- Can be used as a paint remover or thinner
- Dissolves grease and grime from most surfaces
- Comes in a plastic container
Best Paint Crush Cleaner for Acrylic Paint
General Pencil Masters Brush Cleaner
You may or may not feel very artistic when you paint your guest bedroom, but this paint brush cleaner—designed for artists’ brushes, but suitable for larger brushes, as well—earns extremely high marks from users, many of whom swear by it. The semi-solid soap comes in a convenient tub with simple instructions. It has an average of 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon. That just about says it all.
- Works for acrylics, watercolors, varnishes, glazes and most synthetic finishes
- Just a small amount is needed for most cleaning jobs
- Suitable for water- and oil-based paints
- Higher price point than other products
Best Cleaning Wipes
MiracleWipes for Paint Cleanup
Want to keep your paint brushes really, really clean? These paint clean-up wipes remove dried paint from paint brush handles and heads (as well as paint buckets), and clean any non-porous surface that’s been dirtied by paint, caulk or adhesives. They also remove paint and stain from hands, so you can skip scrubbing later on.
- Heavy-duty wipes for various messes
- Contains moisturizer to help protect hands
- Reasonably priced
- Won’t work on textiles or any porous surfaces
Best Spinner Tool
Purdy Brush and Roller Spinner
Here’s one of those paint cleaning tools you probably never knew you needed. This manually operated paint brush and roller cleaner from Purdy uses a spinning motion to whisk moisture and excess paint out of brushes and rollers. Used in combination with a brush and roller cleaning tool, it helps ensure the products are dry when you put them away. At 1.31 pounds, it’ll be a comfortable job.
- Can reduce paint waste
- Has an easy pumping mechanism
- Lightweight and sturdy
- May be challenging to get the brush secured in the spinner
What to Consider When Buying a Paint Brush Cleaner
We think one or two paint brush cleaners or cleaning tools are a smart investment, mostly because they’re inexpensive tools that can make cleanup so much easier. They’ll also keep your brushes in good shape for a lot longer. Unless you do a lot of painting, one handheld gadget is probably enough. If you’re buying a cleaning solution or solvent, be sure to get one that’s effective for the type of paint you’re using. And remember that a paint brush cleaner is just one tool in your arsenal—make sure you’re equipped with drop cloths, painter’s tape, paint buckets and edging tools, as needed.
Types of Paint Brush Cleaners
Paint brush cleaners fall into two broad categories: hand tools that make the job easier and solvents that aid in cleanup efforts.
- Paint brush cleaning tools: These include paint brush combs, spinners and containers for soaking brushes in solvent, as well as wipes for convenient cleanup.
- Paint brush cleaning soaps or solvents: These include mineral spirits, paint thinner and turpentine, as well as liquid or solid soaps formulated for oil- and water-based paints.
How We Found the Best Paint Brush Cleaner
As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.
Can you clean paint brushes in the sink?
Water-based paint can be cleaned from brushes in household sinks. It’s a messy job, though, so if you have a garage or utility sink, that’s the best place for brush wash. If you splash paint in your kitchen or bathroom sink and faucets in the process, be sure to wipe it off right away.
How do you dispose of paint brush cleaner?
Solvent cleaners, such as mineral spirits, turpentine and paint thinner, absolutely, positively can’t go down the drain. They should also never be washed into storm drains, or even into soil. Instead, empty solvent containers, including those with dried product at the bottom, can be disposed of in household garbage. Unused solvents, as well as solvent-soaked rags, need to be disposed of via your community’s hazardous-waste removal program.
How do you store paint brushes after cleaning?
Once your paint brushes are clean, it’s best to store them vertically with the bristle end down. This will help them finish drying and retain their shape. This comprehensive DIY garage storage project includes options for adding hooks and brackets for hanging your paint brushes, as well as other small tools.
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