Save A Brush!

I sat down to work today and was ashamed at the way my brushes looked!

I know better, was taught better, but here they were with paint in the feral, hadn’t been really cleaned in who knows how long, to the point where I actually considered turning them into ‘glue’ brushes.

But, I decided to give them a good cleaning and see if they could be salvaged. I’m sharing this so that together we can


1.)  Determine the condition of your brushes. Do they need a DEEP cleaning? It there’s dry paint in the feral (metal part of the brush) they do. If they’re just a little dirty you could probably skip to Step 6. Overuse of the brush cleaning solution is not good for them either.

If your brushes look like this (yes, I’m hanging my head in shame) then it’s most definitely time to try and save them!

2.)  I really like this Brush Cleaner and Restorer by  Windsor Newton. It doesn’t stink, and it’s water soluble. The best thing is that it works!

Use an old cup and put just enough of the cleaner in to cover the bristles and feral of the brushes. Don’t allow the the cleaner to cover the handle of the brush; it’ll ruin the painted wood!

If your brushes are really dirty like mine, you’ll want to let them soak overnight.

3.)  After their soak, take an old toothbrush and gently scrub out the old paint wiping the toothbrush from the feral out. Don’t go back and forth, just wipe away from the feral.

4.)  Rinse the brush and then wipe it across the Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver several times and rinse again.

5.)  Take the damp brush and run it across the Masters Brush Cleaner once on each side to put a thin coat that will dry keeping the bristles together and maintaining the chisle edge of the brush. This is important because the paint in the feral tends to splay the bristles and you need to put them back into the original state. Next time you use the brush you just rinse the dried soap out.

The challenge is not to let my brushes get like this again…

14 responses

  1. Oh I should hang my head in shame too. I hared how bad my brushes looked awhile back and then I saw a sculpture in the Philadelphia Museum of Art made of old brushes . Didn’t know this product existed – thanks for sharing. Love your art – just beautiful!

  2. A very good reminder for those of us that know better, but just don’t do better. I am an artist and teach art. I’m hanging my head with the rest of us. I didn’t know about the W&N cleaner, but will give it a try.
    I have two more tips to share:
    1) If the head of your synthetic brush is curled try dipping the bristle into boiling water for 2 or 3 seconds. It should straighten out like magic!
    2) And don’t throw away those damaged brushes. Use them the way they are for glue or scrubbing your paint. You can use them for stippling out foliage or other textures. Alter them further by trimming with scissors in a variety of ways. They can make good tools for rendering fur & textured backgrounds.

  3. I love the “Be nicer to my brushes” note! I was just introduced to you over on Carmen Torbus’s site and loved your interview. You’re in Springfield, MO? My sister and I are in St. Louis! I’m glad I found your site- it really looks like you are living your dreams and I could use some great inspiration like that:) Good to “meet” you!


  4. Oh I didn’t even know there is such thing as a brush cleaner & restorer, thank you Pam as I am guilty as could be and can definitely use this magical solution. I am even guilty of getting so frustrated that I throw them away, bad bad me.

  5. oh how it looks your brushes have gone to
    i found you through somerset studio.
    congratulations & well deserved!
    your artwork is bloomy beautiful.
    wishing you refreshed brushes
    & ongoing sweet inspiration. x

  6. Great advice Pam! That cleaner really works, and i found out the hard way that you shouldn’t have the cleaner solution above the feral.
    I did NOT know, however, about the Winsor Newton Brush restorer product. I’ll have to add that to my supplies!

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