After you are done painting a surface, you will need to clean the paintbrush so that you can use it later. However, cleaning a paintbrush is not as simple as dipping it into a bowl of water or keeping it under a running tap. Modern paints, such as latex or oil-based offerings, are very difficult to get off. Cleaning the paint after you are done painting is essential, because it prevents the paint from hardening on the bristles, which would effectively mean that the brush is now worthless.

What is Latex Paint?

The term latex paint can actually be deemed a misnomer: there’s no latex in latex paint. Latex is an essential substance used for making rubber nowadays. It comes from the latex plant found in the rain forests of Brazil. Currently, latex is produced widely in Southeast Asia and distributed all over the world. Decorative painters generally use latex paint for a variety of different purposes. It is used under slow drying glazes which keeps the paint wet for longer periods of time. It’s also used as a coloring agent for clear glazes. You might see a “latex paint” label on several water-based paints as well. However, that’s just because these paints share the same properties such as latex, for example appearing milky when they are wet.

Cleaning the Paint Brush

If you purchase a good brush and keep it clean, it can easily last for several big jobs. Always remember that a single expensive brush is much better than a dozen cheaper ones. Invest in a high quality polyester or nylon paint brush that’s good for painting with latex. It’s not a wise move to purchase a brush with natural bristles for water-based paints such as latex. It won’t be long before the natural bristles begin to swell and lose their shape.


You will need a wire paint comb and a paint can for scraping off excess paint. Drag the paintbrush along the opening of the can to remove all excess paint before you reseal the can.


The next step is to wash the paintbrush in a bowl of warm, soapy water. Put on some latex gloves so that the paint doesn’t get on your fingers when you start cleaning. Work the paint off the bristles and use the wire paint comb to remove the paint that’s stuck to the bristles.


Once you are done with the washing, the next step is to rinse the paintbrush in a bowl of clean water. Again, you will need to work the bristles with your hands to remove the last traces of paint. Keep it under a tap and wait for the paint to fall off the bristles.


This is one of the most critical steps that so many painters miss out on. Once you are done cleaning the paint brushes, you need to wrap up the brush with heavy paper and then tie it with a loose string to maintain the strength of the bristles.