Cleanup Shortcuts: The 5 Best Painting Tips and Tricks



Interior painting can be very easy and rewarding, once you get some experience under your belt. However, after every successful painting project, the most daunting part of the painting process still looms – cleaning up. When the weather creeps into the 90s in Nashville, your brushes and rollers will begin to dry out, and make cleaning difficult. Paint cans and painting trays are usually sources of unwanted drips and messes, and cleaning them is a chore. Instead of throwing away perfectly good painting tools and trays, follow these five tips to make cleaning up a breeze and to save your painting tools and prevent having to buy new ones for the next painting job.

1 — Keep Your Brushes Pliable

Whether you need to take a short break from your painting project, or you are calling it a day, washing your brushes and rollers immediately and thoroughly is a pain. To keep your tools at the ready, wrap and store them.

  • For rollers, completely wrap the roller from end to end with kitchen plastic wrap. Place in a plastic shipping bag and tape shut with painter’s tape.
  • For brushes used with latex paint, cover the brush with plastic wrap and pop into a zippered plastic baggie. Place in your refrigerator or freezer for until needed again.
  • For brushes used with oil-based paints, cover with plastic wrap, place in a baggie, and store in your freezer. Allow to warm to room temperature before using.


2 — Protect Your Tray

For easy tray cleanup, cover your painting tray with several layers of foil. Tape any seam overlaps with painter’s tape. Alternately, place the entire tray inside a small garbage bag and tape it shut. Pour your paint on top of the bag or foil. When it is time to clean up, simply remove the foil or bag and toss. You will never have to wash another paint tray again!


3 — Don’t Let Paint Ruin Your Brushes

Once you get paint embedded into the bristles near the handle, it is a pain to get it out. It can ruin your brushes and affect their shape. Wrap a strip of painter’s tape around the top inch of the bristles, where they meet the handle. This will prevent paint from creeping.


4 — Clean Your Brushes Thoroughly

For easy paintbrush cleanup, fill a small bowl with ½-cup hot tap water and ½-cup vinegar. Place your brush in the mixture for a few minutes, and then clean as usual. For stubborn paint-caked brushes, bring the mixture to a boil, add your paintbrushes, and simmer for a couple of minutes. Allow to cool, and then rinse your brushes with tap water.


5 — Stop the Rim Glop

Pouring paint from the can usually leaves drips down the sides, and gets paint in the grooves, making it difficult to seal the can later. Avoid paint messes by using a hammer and large nail to tap holes in the can’s rim. This stops paint from pooling up, and makes it drain back into the can. When you put the lid on, it will seal the holes. Alternately, after opening your paint, cut a long, thin strip of aluminum foil and place it around the edge (lip) of the can. At the end of your project day, simply remove the foil and throw it away.


Awesome Paint Tips

Do you have any secret painting tips that make cleanup less challenging or preserves your tools? If so, please be generous and share them with our community below in the comments. We always reply back!

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