Last Updated on August 7, 2012 by Kristi Linauer
It’s no secret…I big fat puffy heart LOVE oil-based paint. When it comes to cabinets, trim, and doors, I always choose oil-based paint over latex, and I’ll continue to do so until that last gallon of oil-based paint disappears from the stores. (Yes, I know that day is coming, and it brings big, sad tears to my eyes.)
But when I mention this, I always get questions and comments from people who wonder why in the world I would ever choose oil-based paint. “It stinks,” they say. “It’s so hard to work with,” they say. “The clean-up is impossible,” they say.
The smell part is true. Oil-based paint stinks. BUT…if you haven’t used oil-based paint in the last ten years or so, you might be surprised, because it isn’t nearly as foul-smelling as it used to be. In fact, when I use it outside, I can barely smell it.
The “hard to use” complaint I hope to address soon. It’s true that if all you’ve ever used is latex, then there’s a definite learning curve with oil-based paint. I’ll share my tips and tricks with you shortly.
But today, let me address the “impossible to clean” complaint. To that, I say…
Yes, that’s right…phooey! Cleaning oil-based paint out of a brush is easy peasy if you know what to do, so I’m about to show you exactly how to clean your brush in under five minutes without tears, without cursing, and without giving up and chucking the brush in the garbage can.
First, you’ll need a non-plastic bowl (glass or ceramic works just fine), mineral spirits, dishwashing liquid (preferably a name brand that claims it “cuts through grease” or something like that), and a couple of papertowels.
Turn on the faucet, and if you’re doing this indoors, use hot water. Pour a small amount of mineral spirits into your bowl, and dip the brush into the mineral spirits.
Now vigorously rub the brush back and forth over your hand. Be sure to do both sides. Get the mineral spirits worked into the bristles as much as possible. DO NOT put the brush under the water yet!!!
With the mineral spirits still in the brush, pour a small amount of dishwashing liquid on the brush. You really don’t need as much as shown in the photo below. I got a bit carried away.
Now rub the dishwashing liquid into the bristles with vigorous back and forth motions.
Now squeeze out as much paint/mineral spirits/dishwashing liquid as you can.
And then rinse the brush under the hot water, again squeezing out as much paint/mineral spirits/dishwashing liquid as you can.
You will need to repeat the above steps several times. On this brush, I repeated the steps exactly five times.
When you have repeated the above steps four or five times, and have removed as much as the paint as you can, then pour a small amount of fresh mineral spirits directly from the can onto your brush, and then add a tiny pea-sized amount of dishwashing liquid. Use your fingers to work the mineral spirits and dishwashing liquid into the bristles, but this time don’t rinse out the brush.
With the mineral spirits and dishwashing liquid worked into the bristles, put the brush onto the folded paper towels…
….and squeeze out as much of the moisture as you can.
Leaving that small amount of mineral spirits and dishwashing liquid in the brush will keep the bristles soft…almost like new!
And that’s it! It really does only take about five minutes.
Now let’s do a little comparison.
In the photo above, the brush on the left is one that I used with latex paint. It’s been used on two different projects, wrapped in plastic while wet with paint and left in the fridge overnight once, and cleaned thoroughly. I even used the scrubby side of a sponge on it to get all of the little dried on bits of paint out of the bristles. That’s as good as I could get it.
The brush on the right is the one I used with oil-based paint. I used this brush four days in a row, and each night I wrapped it in plastic and put it in the fridge. You can see how beautifully it cleaned up, and in under five minutes.
Sooooo…those of you who discriminate against oil-based paint because of the clean up can now mark that excuse off of your list!!
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
I hope you’ll join me on my DIY and decorating journey! If you want to follow my projects and progress, you can subscribe below and have each new post delivered to your email inbox. That way you’ll never miss a thing!