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How to Clean Oil Paint Brushes Between Colors?


Painting is rewarding. It stimulates our brains and keeps them engaged. Painting makes us forget about our worries and anxieties, while also relieving our stress. We can, for a while, take our minds off the things that are happening around us. However, it can be sometimes challenging to clean our paintbrushes later, especially for amateurs, who’ve just started their painting hobby. So, here are the tips on how to clean oil paint brushes between colors.

Cleaning oil paint brushes between colors

This is one of the problems that we face from time to time, but it is not impossible to solve at all. After all, developing this skill is as important as any other being as an artist. It can help you a lot, especially in making more impressive artwork.

In addition, you’ll be able to save money if you learn how to remove oil paint from brushes between colors because you will save some brushes in every session. It can be impractical to use a new paintbrush for every project, anyway.

This will also help in improving your painting skills, too, as cleaning them between colors will let you get the right color blend you need in painting.

Cleaning oil paint brushes without a paint thinner

In most cases, thinner is the typical paint stain remover, but then, its fumes can be very irritating and harmful. They can cause some issues, such as eye irritation, dizziness, and nausea. Some may also suffer from muscle twitches and weakness. Sometimes, it can also cause allergic reactions, unconsciousness, and convulsion for severe exposure. Other types of exposure can also lead to death.

The effects of thinner can vary from one person to another. Some might have a higher tolerance to it, but others don’t. So, if you cannot tolerate the fumes of turpentine/thinner, how do you remove oil paint between colors? Check out these suggestions on how to do it.

Cleaning paint brushes with vegetable oil

Using vegetable oil in cleaning your paint brushes is also a good idea. It is your safer choice than the use of chemicals, like turpentine or thinner. This household item is also effective in cleaning your oil paint brushes. To do it, you can check out the following steps.

Combine ¼ cup of vegetable oil and ¼ cup of soap, ideally murphy oil soap in a plastic container or jar. Fill the remaining space in your container with water, and then put a lid on it. Shake it well.

Use a separate container and transfer a part of your mixture into it. Soak the bristles in this mixture for about five minutes.

Use tissue paper or a used newspaper on the paintbrushes, and let them absorb the residue of both the mixture and paint. Start wiping the bristles on the tissue paper or used newspaper. For any remaining residue, you must soak them onto the liquid mixture. Repeat the process until all the paint and mixture residue is gone.

Steps to clean the paint brushes with olive oil

Many people are wondering if this is even possible. If you don’t know yet, yes! Olive oil isn’t only for making sumptuous salads and dishes but also a useful tool in cleaning oil paint brushes. Get a small cup and pour some of it there.

Gather the oil paint brushes to clean, and soak them into the oil for about 10 minutes. Gently wipe the bristles of the brushes on newspaper or paper towels to remove the paint residue. When done, start soaking the bristles into the mixture of soap and water.

Again, wipe the bristles to remove the residue. If you still notice any of it, you can repeat soaking the bristles again on soap and water.

How to clean oil paint brushes using baby oil

Baby oil is another alternative in removing oil from paint brushes between colors. Using it to get rid of the oil in the brushes is easy. Also, it can help in preventing the brushes from drying especially for those left for a long time in the open air.

To do it, use baby oil to remove any remaining paint on the brushes. Next, wrap the brushes on tissue or paper towel, and then start pinching the bristles firmly. But then, this method might not work well on dried paint.

Get a plastic cup, and be able to dip your brush into baby oil. Be sure that the bristles are wrapped completely. However, don’t try swishing the brush into the oil to avoid muddling it.

Get a tissue or paper towel, wrap the bristles on it, and then remove the oil in the paintbrushes.

Start pinching the bristles so that the excess oil and residual paint will be absorbed by the paper towel. If there’s still standing paint remaining, you can repeat the steps. When all of it is removed, you can start wiping it on a used newspaper or paper towel.

There you have simple and easy ways on how you should clean paint brushes. You can use olive oil and baby oil, to name some, to do it effectively. But for a reminder, do not smoke when painting or cleaning your brushes because oil can be combustible. Paper towels are, too.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your oil paint brushes between colors is possible and one of the most important skills to develop as an artist. By learning how to do it, you can prevent the deterioration of your brush, save money in the process, and mix colors perfectly well.

Maintaining the cleanliness of your paint brushes can also improve your strokes. So, whether you’re a beginner or a professional artist, cleaning your oil paint brushes is an important skill to develop for a more rewarding painting session.

But again, always be careful and do not smoke while cleaning oil paint brushes or cleaning them.

We hope that this article has helped us learn ways on how to clean oil paint brushes between colors. Which among these methods have you tried for yourself? Share experience with the community.

If you find it useful, share it with friends on social media to help fellow artists develop the same skill today!

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