Revive Your Brushes: Make Your Own Paint Brush Cleaner

by Maria Konou

As an artist, DIY enthusiast, or even a casual painter, you know the value of a good set of paint brushes. They’re your trusty companions in transforming your creative visions into reality. However, over time, these loyal friends can become encrusted with dried paint, losing their precision and finesse. That’s where the unsung hero of the art world comes in – the paint brush cleaner. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about this magical elixir that restores your brushes to their former glory. From homemade recipes to expert cleaning tips, we’ve got your brush care covered.

Time to learn how to make your own paint brush cleaner at home 

diy paint brush cleaner

What is a Paint Brush Cleaner?

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of brush cleaning, let’s start with the basics. A paint brush cleaner is a specialized solution designed to remove paint, varnish, or other coatings from your brushes. It’s like a spa day for your artistic tools, rejuvenating their bristles and preserving their longevity. While store-bought options are readily available, you can also create effective paint brush cleaners using common household ingredients. We’ll delve into the world of DIY solutions shortly, but first, let’s understand the importance of clean brushes.

You can make paint brush cleaners using common household ingredients

homemade paint brush cleaner

How to Make Paint Brush Cleaner at Home

There’s something satisfying about crafting your own paint brush cleaner from everyday items found in your kitchen or cleaning supplies. Not only does it save you a trip to the store, but it also allows you to tailor the cleaner to your specific needs. Here are the best DIY recipes to get you started:

Take a look at these DIY recipes for making your own paint brush cleaner

cleaning paint brushes with vinegar

Vinegar and Dish Soap Solution

Reviving your brushes can be as easy as raiding your kitchen pantry. This simple yet effective homemade solution combines the cleaning prowess of white vinegar and dish soap. Here’s how to whip it up:

Things You Will Need

  • white vinegar
  • dish soap
  • warm water


  1. Begin by mixing equal parts of white vinegar and warm water in a container.
  2. Then, add a few drops of dish soap to the concoction and give it a gentle stir.
  3. Now, the magic happens.
  4. Immerse your weary paint brushes into this revitalizing elixir, ensuring they’re fully submerged.
  5. Let them luxuriate in the solution for about 30 minutes, allowing it to work its wonders.
  6. Once their spa session is complete, rinse your brushes thoroughly and gently pat them dry.

Ideal Brushes

This recipe is a boon for brushes that have danced with water-based paints and acrylics, making them good as new for your next artistic escapade.

This recipe is ideal for water-based paints and acrylics

brush cleaner for acrylic paint

Oil-Based Paint Remover

Oil-based paints and varnishes may give your creations a lustrous finish, but they can be a stubborn lot to remove from your brushes. Enter the Oil-Based Paint Remover, a potent solution to free your brushes from their sticky embrace.

Things You Will Need

  • paint thinner
  • glass jar with a lid


  1. To concoct this elixir, you’ll need a glass jar with a snug-fitting lid and some trusty paint thinner.
  2. Start by pouring a small amount of the paint thinner into the glass jar, enough to submerge the bristles of your brushes.
  3. Now, carefully place your tired brushes into the jar, making sure they are comfortably nestled in the liquid.
  4. Seal the jar tightly, like putting a lid on a treasure chest.
  5. Leave your brushes to soak overnight, allowing the paint thinner to work its magic in the stillness of the night.
  6. When the sun rises, the paint should have gracefully dissolved, leaving your brushes liberated and refreshed.
  7. Give them a thorough rinse under a gentle stream of water, ensuring all traces of paint thinner are removed.
  8. Then, allow them to air dry, ready to embark on your next artistic endeavor.

Ideal Brushes

This recipe is the knight in shining armor for brushes that have waltzed with oil-based paints and varnishes, making them ready to paint the town (or canvas) once more.

If you work with oil-based paints and varnishes, try this DIY recipe

cleaning oil based paint brushes

While these recipes can work wonders, it’s important to match the cleaner to the type of paint you use. Some brushes are better suited for water-based paints, while others excel with oil-based mediums. Always exercise caution when using solvents and work in a well-ventilated area.

Remember to match the cleaner to the type of paint you use

cleaning acrylic paint brushes

Brush Safety: How to Clean Your Paint Brushes

Your brushes are more than mere tools; they’re the extension of your creative soul. Caring for them isn’t just about restoring their beauty; it’s also crucial for their longevity. Neglecting proper care can lead to bristle damage, fraying, and a shortened lifespan. So, let’s delve into the art of brush safety and maintenance to ensure your brushes remain your trusted companions throughout your artistic journey.

Ensure that your brushes remain in great condition with these tips 

paint brush cleaning station

Prompt Cleaning

The golden rule of brush care is never to let paint dry on your brushes. As soon as you finish your masterpiece or take a break, clean your brushes promptly. This practice prevents paint from settling deep into the bristles, making cleanup more challenging. Imagine it as giving your brushes a refreshing spa treatment after a long day of work.

Gentle Handling

While cleaning, treat your brushes with tenderness. Avoid vigorous scrubbing or using abrasive materials that can lead to bristle damage. Instead, be patient and gentle, coaxing the paint out with care. Think of it as a delicate dance between you and your brushes, preserving their grace and precision.

As soon as you finish your masterpiece or take a break, clean your brushes promptly

oil painting brush cleaning

Use the Right Cleaner

The type of paint you use determines the cleaner you should employ. Different paints require different solvents or cleaning agents. For water-based paints and acrylics, a gentle solution of warm water and dish soap does wonders. On the other hand, oil-based paints and varnishes often necessitate more potent paint thinners. Always ensure your DIY cleaner matches the type of paint you use.

Reshape and Dry

After the cleaning ritual, it’s time to pamper your brushes further. Reshape the bristles to their original form, taking care to maintain their distinct shapes. Then, allow the brushes to air dry horizontally. This positioning is vital for the well-being of your brushes. Hanging them vertically can lead to water seeping into the ferrule, the metal part that holds the bristles, potentially causing damage over time. Think of it as a cozy nap for your brushes in a safe, horizontal resting place.

Reshape the bristles to their original form and allow them to air dry horizontally

cleaning an oil based paint brush

Proper Storage

When your brushes aren’t in use, they deserve a cozy home. Proper storage maintains their shape and shields them from dust and damage. You have two excellent options: either lay them flat in a container or hang them bristle-down. The key is to ensure they remain undisturbed and protected, ready to embark on your next creative adventure.

Regular Maintenance

Even when your brushes have some downtime, don’t forget to schedule regular maintenance. Periodically clean and condition your brushes to prevent dust buildup and keep them in tip-top shape. It’s like providing your brushes with a spa weekend, ensuring they emerge refreshed and revitalized when you need them most.

Don’t forget to schedule regular maintenance of your brushes and supplies

cleaning acrylic paint from brushes

Incorporating these brush safety and maintenance practices into your artistic routine ensures that your brushes will be reliable companions on your creative journey. With every stroke, they’ll translate your vision into masterpieces, and with proper care, they’ll do so for countless paintings to come. So, embrace these brush-care rituals, and your brushes will respond with unwavering loyalty, helping you achieve artistic excellence with each stroke.

Incorporate these brush safety and maintenance practices into your artistic routine

painting brush cleaner


With these insights into the world of paint brush cleaners, you’re well-equipped to maintain your artistic tools and ensure they serve you faithfully for years to come. Whether you choose to create your own DIY cleaner or opt for a commercial solution, remember that the care you provide to your brushes directly impacts the quality of your artwork. So, next time you pick up your favorite brush, you can do so with the confidence that it’s ready to help you create your next masterpiece. Happy painting!

Now you know how to make your own paint brush cleaner!

cleaning oil paint brushes

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Maria Konou

Maria Konou is a specialist in the field of digital marketing and fashion. However, she has always had a way with words. That’s what led her to her dream job here at Archzine. She has worked in many different fields over the years, but according to her, being an author has been the most rewarding. Maria is a huge plant enthusiast, loves everything fashion-related, is very sustainably aware, and is always open to learning about new things.