How to Clean Oil Paint Off Paintbrushes

Keep your paintbrushes looking like new with these cleaning tips.

You will need

  • Paint thinner
  • A clean rag
  • Three clean containers
  • A paintbrush comb
  • Soapy water

Step 1 Prep with paint thinner The first step to cleaning oil paint off of a brush begins before you’ve even started painting. Dip your dry brush into paint thinner, carefully shake off the excess, and then proceed to paint.

Step 2 Don’t let it dry out Whenever you take a break, wrap the paintbrush in a clean rag that’s been soaked in paint thinner. Keep the wrapped brush out of the sun.

Step 3 Swish with paint thinner When you’re ready to quit for the day, fill a container to the halfway point with paint thinner, and swish the brush around for about 30 seconds.

Step 4 Comb Run a paintbrush comb through the brush.

Step 5 Swish again Fill another container with fresh paint thinner, and swish the brush around once again.

Step 6 Rinse Fill a third container with warm water, add a few squirts of dishwashing liquid, and gently move the brush back and forth in the soapy water, taking care not to hit the bottom.

Step 7 Drip dry Hang the brush by its handle to dry.

Step 8 Dispose of paint thinner Dispose of the used paint thinner properly.