Below are some of the most-common painting questions. We hope you will find this resource to be useful during your next painting project.
Brush/Roller Care and Cleaning
What is the best way to clean my brushes after use?
- Clean brushes immediately after use. Do not soak brushes in solvent or water, as this can damage the bristles.
- After cleaning, remove excess solvent or water by spinning the brush into a clean container or using a mechanical spinner. Professionals often have paint brush spinners to ensure that the maximum amount of moisture is out of the brush. If you have a lot of painting projects to accomplish, you may consider investing in one.
- We recommend the use of a brush comb. This tool is very useful in cleaning through the center of the brush and removing any residue near the ferrule’s edge. (This is the point where the metal cap and the bristles meet.) Paint residue left in the brush will harden and “set” the bristles, which will lose their ability to bend and flex.
- Once clean, use the comb to straighten the bristles or filaments to prevent “fingering”. Reshape the brush to its original shape, replace in its keeper and lay flat to dry. (After hard use, it may be necessary to steam synthetic brushes or dip bristle brushes in boiling water to aid in reshaping.)
- Whenever possible, store brushes by hanging them. Never store a brush on its tip, which can result in “curling.”
Cleaning oil-base paints, varnishes, lacquers and shellacs from your brush: Closely follow the manufacturer’s instructions to select the proper cleaning solvent (mineral spirits or paint thinner for paint and varnish, denatured alcohol for shellac, etc.) Pour the solvent into a container and dip the brush into the solvent. Work thinner through the brush bristles, dipping up and down in container several times. Spin the brush into a waste area to remove excess thinner and then repeat process with clean container and clean thinner.
Cleaning water-base (latex) paints from your brush: Warm water and mild soap suds are the best cleaning solution for water-base paints. Any mild bar soap of dishwashing detergent will work. Prepare soapy water and pour into a clean container. Dip the brush into the mixture, working the soap through the brush bristles. Follow with a clear water rinse. Repeat the process if necessary. Always use a clean container with clean soapy water and follow with a clear water rinse. For stubborn water-base paints, try mineral spirits or lacquer thinner, followed by warm soapy water and a clean water rinse.
What is the best way to clean a roller cover?
Start out with a quality roller cover such as Bestt Liebco® Tru-Pro® or Master roller covers. This will enable you to clean it several times.
- Remove roller sleeve/cover from frame immediately after using. Do not allow the paint to begin drying on the roller.
- Clean roller covers immediately after use. Never leave the sleeve or cover soaking in water or solvent.
- Dry and store your roller covers with care. String roller covers on rope or dowels to aid in drying the sleeves. Don’t stand roller on its end or lay it on its nap. Dry thoroughly before storing in dust-free cabinets or boxes.
- Push excess paint out with a 5 in 1 tool or putty knife, then wash.
Cleaning oil-base paints, varnishes, lacquers and shellacs from your roller cover: Closely follow manufacturer’s instructions in selecting the proper cleaning solvent (mineral spirits or paint thinner for paint and varnish, denatured alcohol for shellac, etc.) Pour the solvent into a container and dip the roller cover into the solvent. Repeat this process using a clean container and fresh solvent until the roller cover is clean.
Cleaning water-base paints from your roller covers: Wash with soap and warm water and rinse until clean. Repeat the process if necessary. Always use a clean container with clean soapy water and follow with a clear water rinse. If needed, use a putty knife to help scrap off the paint. For stubborn water-base paints, try mineral spirits or lacquer thinner, followed by warm soapy water and a clean water rinse.
I have dried latex paint on my brushes. Will soaking in warm, soapy water remove the paint?
Latex paint that is dried on your brush will soften. You will need to use hot water, soap and patience. Prepare soapy water and pour into a clean container. Dip the brush into the mixture, working the soap through the brush bristles. Now place the brush back into the hot/warm water for about 20 minutes. Remove the brush, and using a stiff nylon bristle brush gently rub the filament following the flow of the bristles. Follow with a clear water rinse. Repeat the process if necessary.
For stubborn water-base paints, try mineral spirits or lacquer thinner, followed by warm soapy water and a clean water rinse. It may take 2 or 3 times of repeating the above steps but the paint will eventually break and wash away. Be sure to dry the brush completely.
I used an oil-based bristle brush with latex paint. Is the brush permanently damaged?
The brush is not ruined. You need to follow this procedure to bring the brush back to its original finish. First, be sure the brush is completely clean and totally dry. The water from the latex paint and from washing the brush will have leeched the natural oils out of the bristles of the brush.
To bring the brush back to its original softness, use raw linseed oil which can be found at many paint dealers. Put a dime-size drop of the linseed oil in the palm of your hand and work it into the bristles. You may need to repeat the application of linseed oil several times to completely repair the brush. Once soft, comb out the brush, place it in a plastic bag or the packaging it came in to store it.
Can you use a wire brush to clean a paint brush?
Do not use a wire brush on a paint brush. While it will help remove the dried paint from the tips of the bristle, it can damage the filament / bristle. Instead, use a brush comb to clean the paint from the inside of the brush, which will increase the life of the brush. To get the outside of the brush clean try using a stiff nylon bristle brush. This will be less destructive on the ends of the filaments.
Which Brush Should I Use?
Why can’t I use a natural bristle brush (like white china bristle or black china bristle) with water-based or latex paints?
Natural bristle brushes are made from natural fibers like our hair. And, like our hair, natural bristles absorb water resulting in a soft and floppy brush that won’t paint very well. Also, rough surfaces will quickly wear out a natural bristle brush. So, if you’re using a water-based or latex coating or painting a large, rough surface, choose a synthetic brush (like a nylon or nylon/poly brush) instead. Synthetic filaments retain their stiffness and body with all types of finishes.
What is the difference between a nylon/poly brush and a 100% nylon brush?
Professional painters often prefer a 100% nylon brush for painting interiors with latex (water-based) enamels. However, a 100% nylon brush reacts to heat and humidity by getting softer and harder to use.
Polyester adds stiffness retention to the brush and helps limit the reaction to heat and humidity, so nylon/poly bends are ideal for exteriors as well as interiors. Polyester or nylon/poly blend brushes work with all types of paints and stains and are considered “all purpose” brushes.
Both the 100% nylon and nylon/poly blends allow paint to flow smoothly, thus, the choice comes down to the environment. If your climate has high heat and humidity at the time you will be painting, use the poly/nylon blend. If not, select the brush you prefer.
Can I paint over stain?
You should have no problem getting paint to hold over stain. Be sure that the surfaces to paint are clean, that the stain is totally dry and that there are no loose chips on the surface. Prime with a pigmented stain sealer to prevent “flashes” or “hotspots” coming through the paint. Then, choose a Bestt Liebco® brush for high-quality results and a smooth finish.
At what temperature can you begin to paint? Is it the same all paints and stains?
Once the temperature drops below about 55 degrees Fahrenheit, paint becomes a little harder to work with. It is also easier to get sags in paint because of the slower dry times. Temperatures for latex and oil paints differ, as do stains and paints. Please read the label on the can of finish and follow the manufacturers’ recommendations.
How Do I “Cut In?”
“Cutting in” is a process of applying paint at all corners where ceilings meet walls or where walls intersect. Also, paint is applied next to all molding, trim, and baseboards. Cutting in is easy without painters tape if you use a high-quality paint brush and follow these simple steps below. However, if you are not comfortable cutting in with a brush, you can always use special painters tape to ensure you get a straight line.
- Fully load the brush with paint.
- Place the brush parallel to the area to be cut, push the bristles against the surface and let the brush open up into a semi oval. Then move it into the line you are cutting. Follow the line until the line of paint begins to break up. Repeat.