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MAINTENANCE : Job Isn't Over When Paint Is Dry

January 22, 1994|From Associated Press

To extend their life, it's important to clean brushes, rollers and pads immediately after you finish painting. Here are some tips for your next paint project:

Mid-Job Best Bets

If you take a short break from painting, you don't need to clean brushes, rollers or pads. Just wrap them in plastic food wrap.

To store a brush coated with latex paint overnight, drill a hole in the brush handle just above the metal band and insert a wire rod through it. Suspend the brush in water, making sure its bristles don't touch the bottom of the container.

Cleaning Paintbrushes

Wearing vinyl gloves, place the paintbrush on newspaper and squeeze out as much excess paint as possible. Or brush the excess paint on newspaper until no more comes off.

Wash brushes used with water-base latex paint in warm water, adding a bit of dishwashing detergent. Work the paint out of the bristle with your fingers all the way to the metal band to loosen and dislodge remaining paint. Rinse under running water until the water runs clear.

For other paints, soak the brush in the appropriate solvent--mineral spirits for oil-based paints, alcohol or lacquer thinner for shellac or alcohol-based stains or paints. Wash with detergent and warm water, then rinse well.

Most paint solvents are highly flammable. Don't store them in the house and don't leave open containers sitting around. Read container labels carefully for proper use.

Use a metal bristle-brush comb to dislodge any tenacious paint particles and to straighten out the inner bristles.

Remove excess liquid by shaking or spinning the handle rapidly--brush down--between the palms of your hands. Do it in a cardboard box if you want to contain the spray.

When the bristles are thoroughly dry, wrap the brush in brown grocery bag paper and secure with a rubber band. Store brushes flat or hang them up. Standing them will bend the bristles.

Cleaning Rollers

Roll out excess paint on newspapers. Then slide the roller from its frame.

Remove latex paint from the roller with warm water. Immerse a roller used with alkyd paint in mineral spirits. Wear vinyl gloves if using solvent and work the nap between your fingers to get out any embedded paint. When the liquid becomes discolored, use fresh water or solvent. Wash in detergent and water and rinse well.

Squeeze out excess water, checking that all signs of paint are gone. Rub the roller with a clean, absorbent cloth. Upend the roller on newspaper to dry. Wrap the dried roller in foil.

Paint Pads

To clean a pad, first blot out as much paint as possible on newspaper. Then remove the pad from its holder.

Wash the pad in warm water if you were using latex. Wear rubber gloves and use mineral spirits to wash out alkyd.

Do a final wash in detergent or soap and water. Detergents containing ammonia are particularly effective on oil paints. Rinse thoroughly under running water.

Squeeze out excess water on newspapers and stand the pad on edge to dry.

Wrap the dry pad in brown paper or foil to keep it clean while stored.

Salvage Tips

To soften a paintbrush that's stiff with dried latex paint, soak it in a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water for 10 minutes.

Snip about an inch off the tip of an old paintbrush with ruined bristles and use it for dusting. Or cut the bristles to stubble--about three-quarters of an inch long--for a handy scrub brush.

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