Cleaning Chalk Paint Brushes

First, clean out the brush by removing excess paint. Scrape the brush against the edge of the paint can to remove any large amounts of paint. Then, work out most of the remaining paint by painting sheets of newspaper brushing back and forth in an 'X' motion until the brush is pretty dry. Fill a mason jar with enough Mineral Spirits to cover the wax coated bristles. Lightly press the tips of the bristles against the bottom and sides of the jar to loosen the wax. Let the brush sit about 2 minutes. The wax will start to dissolve in the Mineral Spirits.

Follow these simple steps to properly clean paint brushes after your next do-it-yourself project.


An investment in high-quality paint brushes is wasted if they are not properly cleaned and stored after use. Indeed, rushing through the end of a paint job can leave you with flecks of paint in your brushes—which will lead to an imperfect finish on your next project—as well as misshapen bristles. So invest the extra two minutes it takes to do the job right and follow this guide on how to clean paint brushes.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
– Newspapers
– Mineral spirits
– Turpentine
– Mild liquid dish soap
– Small plastic buckets
– Paint brush and roller spinner
– Rags

The Right Way to Clean Paint Brushes


  1. Use up what paint remains on your brush on whatever you are painting.
    Press the bristles against the inside of the paint can, and lift it up and out as you do—that will squeeze out more paint. Paint away the rest on newspapers, because cleaning a brush is made easier if you remove as much of the paint from its bristles as possible.
  2. Next, examine the can of paint, and use the appropriate sol­vent.
    The right solvent makes the job easy by loosening dried paint, but the wrong one will probably be no help at all. Fill a small bucket with one of the following depending on the type of paint you’ve used:
    • Mineral spirits or turpentine to remove oil-based paint
    • Hot water and mild liquid dish soap to clean paint brushes that have been used to apply latex paint
  3. Immerse the paint brush in the solvent.
    Stir the solvent with the brush for about 10 seconds, wiping and squeezing the bristles on the sides of the container. Work the bristles between your fingers, and run a brush comb through them to remove excess paint without damaging the bristles. If some of the paint has begun to dry on the brush, soaking the brush may be necessary.
  4. Wash it in warm soapy water in a utility sink or bucket.
    Once the paint has been removed from the brush, warm soapy water will clean the brush of the sol­vent and remaining paint.
  5. Shake or spin the paintbrushes dry.
    Before you store your paint brushes, you’ll want to remove all of the water from their bristles. Many DIYers will do so by shaking the brush at the top of a bucket and then blotting the brush dry with a clean rag or news­paper.

    But, for those that have plans to do a lot of painting and wish to preserve their tools, a brush and roller spinner will come in handy. This dual-purpose tool will speed-dry either type of paint applicators using centrifugal force. Just attach a paint brush to the bottom of the tool, then pump the top several times to spin it and fling all water off the business end of the brush.

  6. When storing paint brushes, hang them up or lay them flat.
    Hanging paint tools from a pegboard in your workshop or craft room is not only a great organizational method, but it ensures that the brush’s bristles don’t get bent out of shape stuffed in a bin somewhere. Replace the packaging on your paint brush to maintain its form and prolong its useful lifespan.


Your Brush.

All of our brushes are hand-crafted with great care and attention to detail. Each brush has three (3) main parts: handle, ferrule and head. Inside the ferrule are two (2) epoxy barriers. One at the top to hold the hair together and a second at the bottom of the ferrule to hold the head on to the handle.

Prepare Your New Brush For Painting.

When you are ready to start using your brush, and before you start painting, it’s important to properly prep the brush to help minimize unnecessary bristle shedding. It’s worth mentioning that with every new natural hair paint and wax brush it’s perfectly normal to have a few loose bristle hairs, even after prepping. I assure you, once your brush has gone through its break-in period bristle loss will be nominal with proper ongoing maintenance care.


*TIP - If you do lose a hair from the brush while painting, we recommend not using your fingers to pick off the loose bristle. Using your paint brush, approach the hair at an angle and swoop up the loose hair, then pick off the bristle from your brush head and continue with your painting project.

Five (5) Steps: How To Break in Your New Chalk Paint Brush.

Removing loose and rogue bristles.

STEP 1 (Slap).
Slap the brush head against the palm of your hand several times or firm taps against a hard surface (i.e. table) to nudge upwards any stray bristles. Not a lot of force is required, so use caution to avoid unncessary damage to your brush or impacted surface area.

STEP 2 (Pluck).
Using your finger tips, gently pull at the bristles in a plucking manner across the entire head of the brush to remove any visible/hidden loose or stray hairs. We don't recommend twizzers for removing bristles, as they can accidentally damage or loosen perfectly good bristles. Next, examine your brush and remove any bristles that are bent and sticking out by cutting off with a nail clipper.

STEP 3 (Knife).
Knifing is a simple and quick process that involves using the back (dull side) of a knife, by pulling the hair gently in a repeating sweeping motion over the entire head of the brush. Do this several times to remove any loose hairs and remember to do it gently, but firmly.

For your convenience, a #4 palette knife is included with our Signature Pro Brush Set and is ideal for this step.

STEP 4 (Rinse & Condition).
Rinse your brush under warm water while gently squeezing the bristle hairs and lightly pulling the hairs down from the ferrule to the tips of the brush hairs. Be sure to remove any excess water from the bristle head before painting.

Note: If you're not ready to begin painting after this step then we recommend wrapping the bristle head with a cloth or paper towel (see instructions) and allow to dry on a flat surface. This will help your bristles from natually fanning.

For those wishing to soften their bristles, we recommend our Bristle Cleaning and Conditioning Soap during this step (see instructions). The moisturizing soap is included with our Signature Pro Brush Set and also sold separately in our store.

STEP 5 (X-ing).
Dip the brush in paint (1/3 of the bristle length) and paint back and forth diagonally over old newspaper print or brown kraft paper in an 'X' pattern several times. This step should remove any last remaining or potential loose bristles.


Prepare Your New Brush For Painting Guide
Grab your own copy for future reference. Follow our five (5) steps for the care and removal of loose natural hair bristles.
« Click image to enlarge. Download PDF

How to Remove Those Loose Bristles
Grab your own copy for future reference. Follow our five (5) steps for the care and removal of loose natural hair bristles.
Download PDF

DID YOU KNOW? (Fun Fact)
It's not uncommon for natural hair bristles, like boar hair, to have a slight odor and on the rare occasion a more noticeable scent. This stronger smell can be associated to the natural and also edible ingredient, Camphor (Bhimseni Kapoor), used to clean and eliminate insects and germs found in natural hair. Camphor is derived from trees/plants and has an inherit strong odor. Camphor is also commonly found in popular vaporizer brands for its healing agents. The smell will naturally dissipate over time or after a few rinse and cleaning cycles. For those who wish to minimize the smell we recommend soaking just the bristles (not the ferrule) in vinegar for no more than 15 minutes and then rinse and clean. It's important to note that many of our competitors have chosen to use a chemically produced Camphor extracted from turpentine, which we have chosen not to do.

Note: Soaking the ferrule in vinegar can damage the ferrule and weaken the epoxy securing the bristles in place.

Cleaning Your Brush.

All Vintage Tonality brushes are entirely made from natural double-washed boar bristles. Unlike synthetic brushes, our brushes can hold up to a lot of wear and tear, however, it’s important to point out, just like the real hair on your head, using harsh cleaners (including bleach) will damage your bristles. Since the overall care for your brush is quite simple you won’t need anything that harsh to clean your brush.

Chalk Paint Brushes Wholesale

Our handmade cleaning and conditioning soap was created especially for our brushes. With ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, lavender, and lye, your brush will keep in top shape. Don’t expect a ton of suds, just superior cleaning and conditioning power.

our all-natural handmade soap will clean and condition your brush

Alternatively, a mild grease-cutting dish soap or hair shampoo and conditioners can work well. Over time, the use of standard dish soaps will cause the bristles to dry out and become brittle. If you rinse your brush immediately after painting, just warm water is often enough to do the job effectively. But the use of harsher solvents on your natural bristle hairs will cause unwanted breakage and shedding.

Removing Wax.

Wipe off all the excess wax from your brush. Pour Mineral Spirits into a glass jar just enough to soak the bristles without submerging the ferrule. Let the brush soak in the Mineral Spirits for about a minute or until all the wax has dissolved. River zen campground.

For speedier results, swish and press the bristles against the bottom of the jar to help dissolve any remaining wax. Once the wax has been thoroughly removed you can now clean and condition your brush using the steps listed above.

Additional Cleaning Notes:
  • It’s important to highlight that natural hair can/will dry out. For best results – after every use apply our cleaning and conditioning soap.
  • We strongly recommend not soaking your brush in water for any extended period of time and/or submerging the brush’s ferrule under water. Over time this will degrade the epoxy that bonds the hair bristles to the brush, causing bristles to fall out prematurely.

Drying Your Brush.

Let your brush dry on a flat surface, wrap the bristle head using our cotton cloth, a household rag or a paper towel so the bristles retain their shape. This will also guarantee that water doesn’t continuously drip down to the ferrule, degrading the epoxy that holds your bristles and handle in place. Alternatively, you can drip dry them by hanging them upside down from a hook. Avoid blow drying, they’ll air dry on their own overnight. If you want to start a new project right away, just take a dry clean cloth and squeeze out the excess water.r.

Maintaining Your Brush’s Shape.

Natural hair bristles will eventually want to fan out over time. To prevent this, we recommend training your brush after every washing. After your brush has been cleaned, gently wrap the bristle-end of your brush using a cotton cloth, tie with string, and allow to dry. This will help train any bristles that want to fan out to straighten up.

Shaping: After cleaning your brush gently wrap the bristle-end of your brush with a cotton cloth and allow to dry.

Alt. Brush Training.

After your brush has dried (or nearly dried) there are a variety of brush shaping methods to keep your bristles straight and looking like new.

Rubber BandApply a rubber band gently around the head of the brush.

Paper Towel / Clean RagWrap the head with half sheet paper towel or clean household rag.

TapeApply masking or painter tape, with the sticky side facing out, around the head of the brush.

Chalk Pro Paint Brushes

Additional Info:Chalk
• Download our free eBook guide: How to Prep, Clean and Maintain Your Brushes.
• Chalk Painting Basics - Chalk

Cleaning Chalk Paint Wax Brushes

The Beginner's Guide To Painting Furniture

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Cleaning Brushes

• Review our Frequently Asked Questions

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