Whether you are an amateur artist or a professional painter, if you work with paint brushes—you need to be able to keep them clean. The right paint brush cleaner will make sure your brushes stay clean and ready for use.
We looked at several pain brush cleaners and determined that the Klean Strip Brush Cleaner was the best overall product on the market. We also detailed several other great products to consider and an in-depth buying guide that will help you find the right cleaner to meet your needs.
Paint Brush Cleaner Buying Guide
No matter what type of paint projects you find yourself doing, if you are using paint brushes on a regular basis—then you need to have a good paint brush cleaner. Simply rinsing your paint brush in water may seem like it removes some of the excess paint, but it won’t be able to really get deep down and remove the paint particles in your brush. Even if you can’t see a ton of extra paint on your brush, this paint can damage your bristles over time and cause you to need to replace your brushes much more often then you should. This is where a paint brush cleaner comes in.
A quality paint brush cleaner will be able to remove paint, so you don’t have to worry about colors mixing in the future and keep your brushes in their best possible condition, conditioning the bristles to keep them looking their best.
However, not all paint brush cleaners are created equal. There are many different products out there today and understanding what features to look for in a cleaner will help you make sure your paint brushes will remain long-lasting additions to your collection.
Buying The Right Type of Cleaner for Your Brushes
The first thing to keep in mind when shopping for paint brush cleaners is what type of medium you typically work with. Not all paint brush cleaners work with all types of paints. There are many “general” paint brush cleaners that claim to work with all types of paints, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the best option for certain types of paints.
Generally speaking, acrylic paints and oil-based paints are the most difficult to remove. There are specialty cleaners meant specifically for acrylic paint brushes and meant specifically for oil paint brushes. If these are the medium you most commonly paint with, then you will want to make sure that you focus on buying a cleanser meant for these individual types of paint.
If you are using a natural hair brush, you will need to pay close attention to the cleaner you use. Typically, these cleaners need to be very gentle and natural and are marketed specifically for use with natural hair brushes. Since these brushes are a rather large investment on their own, it is important that you care for this investment by buying the right type of cleaner.
Once you have checked to make sure that the paint brush cleaner you are employing will work specifically on the types of paints you are using, then you can look for other features that can help keep your tools clean.
Finding Safe Cleaners
When paint brush cleaners first came out, they were typically quite harsh, and for good reasons. Paint is extremely difficult to remove. However, if these cleaners are too harsh, they can actually do more harm than good. With only a few uses, they can start to destroy the delicate bristles on the paint brush and make the brush hard, brittle and difficult to work with. These harsh cleaners can also be rough on the skin for the individuals who are handling and using these cleaners. This is why it is so important to pay close attention to the chemicals that are in these paint cleaners.
It is best to look for products that are made with non-toxic chemicals, so you don’t have to worry about the paint cleaner harming your skin or being too rough on your paint brushes—especially if you are utilizing more delicate artists paint brushes. Products made with non-toxic and more natural chemicals also tend to leave very little behind in terms of leftover residue.
There are now more paint cleaners than ever that proudly are only made with eco-friendly products, which is another smart way to make sure you aren’t exposing yourself or others to potentially harmful chemicals when using a paint brush cleaner.
Buying Conditioning Cleaner
Another important feature to look for with any paint brush cleaner is one that also has a conditioning element to it. A paint cleaner and conditioner is extremely important if you plan on cleaning and using your brushes quite often or if you are an artist using soft paint brushes. Even the gentlest of cleaners can have a serious impact on the condition of your bristles. It is like washing your hair without putting conditioner in it. The bristles will be clean, but they will be rough and may stick out in different directions. If you want to keep your bristles smooth, you need to find a product that states it has a conditioner or preserver in it.
One unique thing that shoppers will tend to notice about paint cleaners is that they come in a variety of different types of bottles and with a number of different applicators. There are large gallon bottles, which are best for home painters who need to clean brushes, rollers and other supplies. There are also spray bottles which are meant for smaller, more delicate artist brushes. Many cleaners come in squirt bottles, which can be quite messy if you aren’t careful. There are also pomade-type jars of paint cleaners that you rub directly on the brushes, and cleaners that come in a jar meant for dipping brushes directly in.
There is no one “best” type of these paint brush cleaners. This is one feature that is mostly up to preference, but you need to think about what types of paint brushes you will be cleaning before you make a decision on which type of application works best for you.
Any person who uses paint brushes regularly knows that keeping their brush clean is always of the utmost importance. This is why we have taken the time to really review the different paint brush cleaners out there to find the best overall products that will not only clean your brushes but help retain the integrity of those brushes as well. Make sure to review the detailed instructions in our buying guide and explore our top picks for best overall paint brush cleaners—so you can find the right products to meet your needs.