How To Acrylic Paint

What You Need to Know About Cleaning Your Acrylic Paint Brushes

Cleaning Your Acrylic Paint Brushes

If you’re a serious artist, acrylic paints are the perfect medium for you. They’re affordable and can be found in almost any art supply store. Acrylic paints are water-based, which makes them easy to clean up after use.

There may be some trouble cleaning your acrylic paint brushes, however. That’s because they are made of synthetic fibres that cannot just be washed with soap and water like natural hair brushes can.

Moreover, these brushes should not be cleaned with alcohol or any other chemical solvent because it will damage the synthetic fibres irreparably.

In this article, we will look at what you need to know about cleaning your acrylic paint brushes and how to go about doing so safely and efficiently.

Why Is It Important to Clean Your Acrylic Paint Brushes?

Acrylic paint is water-soluble, but it dries on your brushes much like oil would. This is not only inconvenient because it makes the brushes harder to clean, but it also gets harder with each use and can actually damage the bristles if you clean them with the paint still on them.

Acrylic paints are also prone to hardening inside your bristles, which can be difficult to get rid of and can lead to a much shorter lifespan for your brushes. This will, in turn, lead to you having to buy new brushes more often. You may also have to replace your brushes earlier than you had intended because they are too damaged to use.

In short, cleaning your brushes is not just a chore that most of us try to avoid as much as possible. It is absolutely imperative to the longevity of your brushes.

What to Know Before Cleaning Your Acrylic Paint Brushes

While acrylic paint is water-soluble, you cannot just wash your brushes with water and soap. You cannot wash your brushes with alcohol, either, but for a different reason.

If you clean your brushes with water, you will be able to remove the acrylic paint from the bristles, but you will also be removing the glue holding the bristles in place. Alcohol, on the other hand, will dissolve the paint from the bristles, but it will not dissolve the glue holding the bristles in place.

So, which one should you use for cleaning your brushes? While there are many specialized products for cleaning brushes, you can also just use common household items like dishwashing liquid. You should, however, keep in mind that different types of paint require different cleaning solutions.

While one type of paint may be easily removed with a soap-and-water solution, another type of paint may require a different kind of cleaner altogether. Knowing what kind of paint you have is vital to being able to properly clean your brushes.

How to Safely Clean Your Acrylic Paint Brushes

Cleaning your brushes is the most important step in maintaining them.

  • First, place a small amount of liquid soap in the palm of your hand.
  • Rinse your brushes in that soap and water combination.
  • If you are cleaning a large brush, you will want to submerge the brush in water and soap, then gently agitate it in the palm of your hand.
  • Be careful not to rub your brushes against anything abrasive; this can damage the bristles.
  • You also want to make sure your brushes are completely dry before storing them in a container.
  • If your brushes are damp when you store them, mold and mildew can grow inside the ferrule, or the place where the bristles meet the handle of your brush.

How to Clean Acrylic Paint From Scrapers

When cleaning your paint scrapers, you will want to use water and soap. You can also use a small amount of dishwashing liquid or a solvent, like methyl ethyl ketone, which is commonly known as MEK.

If you are cleaning acrylic paints from scrapers, the most important thing is to make sure your scrapers are completely dry. If they are not dry, the paint will dry inside the bristles and clog them, making them unusable.

You should also clean your scrapers as soon as you are done using them. The longer you leave paint on scrapers, the harder it will be to clean them. If you want to clean your scrapers with water, you can submerge them in water and agitate them lightly.

You can also clean them with a squirt of soap and water or a solvent like MEK. You can also clean them with a small amount of mineral spirits.

How to Clean Acrylic Paint From Brushes

As we have already discussed, you will want to make sure your brushes are completely dry before you attempt to clean them. If they are still wet, you will risk damaging them.

You will also want to use a solvent or solvent blend designed to clean acrylic paints. If you do not have any solvent, you can use isopropyl alcohol instead. You can also use dishwashing liquid and water or a solvent like MEK.

Drying Your Brushes

You will want to dry your brushes as soon as you have cleaned them. If you do not dry them immediately, the water and solvent will harden the acrylic paint on the bristles, making it very difficult to get off later.

You can place your brushes upside down on a paper towel and let them air dry or you can use a hair dryer on the lowest setting to speed up the drying process. You can also use a brush spinner to dry your brushes quickly.

It is important to note, though, that while you can use a hair dryer or a brush spinner to dry your brushes, you should not use the same device you used to clean them with. You do not want to transfer the solvent from the cleaning device to the drying device.

How to Dispose of Dirty Water

As with any solvent or chemical-based cleaning product, you will want to dispose of dirty water as soon as you are done using it for cleaning brushes.

You can pour it down the drain but this is not recommended because it can damage your pipes. If you want to dispose of dirty water but do not have a garden to put it in, you can put it in a sealable plastic bag and throw it in the trash.

If you are cleaning your paint brushes outside, you may want to use a garden hose to clean the dirty water so that you do not have to worry about it damaging your yard or the ground.

You can also pour it into a large bucket and then use the bucket to water your plants or garden.

Recovering Lost Bristles

If you notice that some of the bristles have fallen out of your paint brushes, you may be able to recover them.

Put the lost bristles on the tip of the brush, then use the hot air setting on your hair dryer to heat up the bristles. Once they are warm, gently push the bristles back into the handle of the brush. If you are not able to recover the bristles, you will want to replace them.

Acrylic paint brushes lose about 5% of their bristles each time you clean them. At this rate, your brushes will need to be replaced after about 17 cleanings. You can replace the bristles yourself or you can take the brushes to a brush repair shop.

6 Ways You Should Not Clean Your Acrylic Paint Brushes

There are, of course, many ways that you should not clean your acrylic paint brushes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to clean my brushes?

The best way to clean your acrylic paint brushes is to use a brush cleaner. This will help you get the most life out of your brushes and it will not damage them. If you want more life out of your brushes, you can use a mixture of soap and water. You should also take care when cleaning the bristles because too much pressure on them can damage them.

How often should I clean my brushes?

It depends on how dirty your paint brushes get, but generally speaking, if you keep them in an open container, they will need to be cleaned every two to four weeks. If they get very dirty or if they are used heavily, then you may need to clean them more frequently or replace them altogether. You should not leave your paint brushes in a closed container because this is where they tend to trap moisture and begin to mold.

What are the best brands of acrylic paint brushes?

There are many different brands of acrylic paint brushes available on the market today, so it can be difficult for people who are new to the hobby or who are just learning how to use their tools properly to know which ones work best for what jobs and what kind of results they will produce. Generally speaking, though, there are three main types: natural hair (synthetic), synthetic (natural hair), and bristle-only (synthetic).

What are the best brands of synthetic brushes?

Many people prefer synthetic brushes because they are not only cheaper than their natural hair counterparts, but they also have a different feel and control that allows them to achieve different styles of strokes. They are also less likely to be affected by temperature changes, so they can be used in a wide range of temperatures without any problems or effects on their performance. The only disadvantage with synthetic brushes is that they do not last as long as natural hair brushes, but this is usually not an issue for someone who uses their tools regularly.

What should I look for when buying my first brush? What kinds of things should I consider when choosing my first paint brush?

The most important thing to look for when buying your first paint brush is the type of material it is made from and how well it was made, since these two factors will determine how well it will hold up over time and how much you will have to pay for it in the future if you need to replace it after a few months or even years of use.


Cleaning your acrylic paint brushes is not only good for your brushes, but it also makes sense from an economic standpoint.

By taking care of your brushes, you will get more use out of them and save money. You also need to clean your brushes in the correct way to maintain their quality and prolong their life.

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