Nobody likes cleaning, especially after a long day of painting. 

If forgot to clean your paintbrush and now you have dried paint on it, all is not lost. 

Cleaning your paintbrush will be more difficult, but it can be done. 

Here are the steps for cleaning a paintbrush with dried paint on it.

 

How to Clean Dried Paint Off a Paintbrushphoto courtesy of Gary Knight flickr.com/photos/garryknight/8454811952/Hot Water
When cleaning a paintbrush, start by using water. 

Hot water tends to work better than room temperature or cold water.  

Start by putting the paintbrush under running water or swirling it around in a bowl of water.

 

Hot Vinegar
If the hot water did not remove all of the paint on your paintbrush, you can use hot vinegar.

Heat vinegar in your microwave then submerge your paintbrush in it for 15 to 30 minutes. 

The vinegar should start dissolving the paint off the brush. 

You can also heat the vinegar on the stove, however be very careful of open flames mixing with paint.

 

Fabric Softener
Fabric softener has also been shown to clean paintbrushes with dried paint. 

Mix a little bit of liquid fabric softener with water and soak your paintbrushes to soften the paint.

 

Solvent
If the paint that is dried on your paintbrush is oil based, you may need to use mineral spirits to remove the paint. 

If the paint is shellac, you should use denatured alcohol. 

Soak your dirty paintbrush in these solvents to remove the dried on paint.

 

Comb
When the paint has softened using one of the methods above, use your hands or a fine toothed comb (a 5 in 1 tool or a brush cleaning tool also work) to comb out the paint from the brush. 

Make sure to dispose of the old paint properly.

 

Repeat if Necessary
In order to remove all of the old paint, you may need to repeat these steps up to 5 times to get your desired result.

 

Warm Soapy Water
Finish cleaning your paintbrush by washing it with warm soapy water to remove all of the cleaning solution. 

Dry the paintbrush well before storing.

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