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How to Clean Paintbrushes

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One of the most annoying things to find is a paintbrush that has been left to go hard and is no longer useful. Its good to make sure you look after your brushes so that you can use them as soon as you need them.
What you'll need: 
Warm water
Washing up liquid
A rag or newspaper
Paint Scraper (optional)
White Spirit (for oil based paint)
1: 
The best thing to do is to to try to clean your bushes straight after you've finished using them. If this isn't possible or you are going to use the brush within the next 24 hours, then you can do one of two things. Firstly, you can clean off most of the excess paint on a rag and wrap the brush in a plastic bag or something similar. This will stop air getting to the brush and drying it out. Secondly you can seal the brush inside the paint pot you were using, making sure that the bristles are completely submerged. These will only work temporarily.
2: 
If you are unlikely to use the brush with the same colour of paint soon, then you should wash it completely. Brush all of the excess paint onto a rag or newspaper. You can then use a paint scraper down the length of the bristles to get off any larger blobs.
3: 
If you are using water based paint (it will say so on the packaging), you should thoroughly rinse the brush through with some slightly warm water, with a drop of washing up liquid. You should press the brush into your palm and firmly massage the bristles. You should continue to do this until the water coming out of the brush is completely clear. This may take some time.
4: 
If you are using an oil based paint (this will be on the packaging) then you may want to use a little white spirit (not too much) to get the bulk of the paint off.
5: 
After rinsing the brush it should be dried on a rag (different to the one you put the excess paint onto!) and then wrapped in clingfilm or plastic, making sure the bristles are not too bent and keep your brushes useful. Brushes should be stored flat or hanging by the handle. Avoid keeping them on the bristles.
Conclusion: 
If you follow these easy steps, you should be able to keep your brushes for much longer. Happy painting.
Tips: 
With rollers, the steps are pretty much the same, but generally take a bit longer.
If you find a brush that has gone hard, you can use brush restorer and follow the steps above.
Warnings: 
Never store your brushes in water for longer than a couple of hours. The bristles will bend and the brush will become useless.
This guide works for most types of paint, but specialist paints and varnishes will have specific instructions on the packaging.

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