How to Cleanup Enamel Paint from Brushes

Once you’re done painting, it’s time to think about the cleanup. Enamel paints are kind of stubborn and you may face difficulty removing them from your brushes.

But hey, this problem is not worth giving you a headache. We are here with a complete guideline on how to cleanup enamel paint from brushes. So, worry about anything but this!

Cleaning Enamel Paint Brushes

Before you step into the core of our discussion, here’s a quick rundown about what this article will cover:

The fundamentals of enamel paints including their types.

  • 5 easy steps to clean up water-based enamel paint from brushes.
  • A simple method to clean up oil-based enamel paint from brushes.
  • Some bonus tips to maintain your paintbrushes.
  • Frequently asked questions with answers.
  • And much more!

The Fundamentals of Enamel Paints

Before delving into the cleanup process, you better have some basic idea about enamel paints and their different types. Because each type requires an individual cleanup procedure.

Enamel paints dry to a solid, lustrous, and durable finish. People usually use enamel paints to create a glossy trim for surfaces that need a shiny finish but must endure constant washing.

Yes, all enamel paints offer you a hard, glossy, washable finish but there are two basic types of enamel paint. The types are- water-based (aka acrylic or latex paints) and oil-based (Aka alkyd-based paints).

The first type, water-based paints usually dry faster and have a low odor. But the second type, meaning oil-based paints dry slower and come with a strong solvent scent.

How to Clean Up Water-Based Enamel Paint from Brushes?

For this cleaning procedure, you’ll need:

  • Warm water
  • Dish soap or Super clean
  • Brush comb
  • Paper towel

Now, wade through the following steps.

Clean Up Water-Based Enamel Paint from Brushes

Step 1: Remove the Excess Paint from Your Brush

Firstly, you’ll want to get rid of as much paint as you can. To do so, simply scrape the paint off against the paint’s rim or any clean cloth.

Also, use your fingers to pull off any strips or clumps of paint from the bristles. Be careful while doing so because you don’t want to scrape the brush so hard that it gets damaged.

Step 2: Mix the Warm Water and Dish Soap

Take a fair amount of warm water in a bowl or bucket and then add a dash of dish soap to it. Then, mix them thoroughly and make the combination nice and sudsy. Or you can use super clean directly instead of using dish soap & warm water combination.

Remember, you should use warm water, not hot water.

Step 3: Work the Brush in The Soapy Water

Nothing much to do, you’re almost there. Swirl your brush in the soapy water mixture to remove the paint. Or spray the super clean on the brush. You may need to use your fingers for separating the bristles and getting rid of any strips or clumps of the dried paints.

But what if the water-based paint dried on the brush before you could clean it?

In this case, soak the bristles in soapy water. It may take around 20 minutes then you can swirl it around and the stubborn paint should rub off.

Step 4: Rinse Your Brush Well

Now, you need to remove the soap from your brush. So, rinse it off using a faucet or hose and the work will be done perfectly.

After that, use the brush comp and scrape off any remaining paint on the brush. It will help the bristles put back in line and vanish any little bits of paint that might be stuck on the brush.

Step 5: Dry the Brush Well

Lastly, use a paper towel for drying the brush. But before doing so, remove any remaining water from the brush by shaking it off. Then soak up the brush using a paper towel.

You don’t need to make the brush completely dry but don’t store it having the water logged in it. Otherwise, the logged water can make the bristles weak.

Finally, you can go through an additional step- wrap your brush with paper to keep its shape.

That’s all for cleaning up water-based enamel paint from brushes.

How to Clean Up Oil-Based Enamel Paint from Brushes?

This time, you’ll need:

  • Paint thinner/ mineral spirit
  • Protective rubber gloves
  • Face mask
  • A plastic container
  • Brush comb
  • Paper towel
Cleanup Oil-Based Enamel Paint from Brushes

Once you manage the things, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Put On Your Safety Hat

Please don’t skip applying the ‘Safety first’ theory here because paint thinners may lead to chemical burns after getting on your skin. So, make sure you wear a protective face mask and rubber gloves to keep you safe from the chemicals.

Also, you should keep the windows of your room open to make sure that you’re working in a well-ventilated place.

Step 2: Swirl The Brush in The Paint Thinner

Now, take a clean container or jar and gently pour the paint thinner into it. Be very careful while doing the job to avoid the paint thinner spill or splash.

After that, take the used brush and swirl it around the paint thinner. Do it for around 30 seconds and you’ll notice the solvent will start removing the paint from your brush. At this time, the paint thinner will take the color of your paint.

Avoid soaking the brush for more than 30 seconds. Otherwise, the solvent may weaken the bristles.

Step 3: Comb Through the Bristles

Get a brush comb and break up any remaining clumps of paint by gently combing through the bristles. Do it very carefully because you don’t want to strip or bend the bristles from your brush. You may need to run the comb around 7-10 times and that should be enough.

Step 4: Re-fill the Container With Clean Paint Thinner

Now, we are going to repeat step 2. Get rid of the dirty paint thinner and pour clean thinner into the container. Then do the same thing you did in step 2, meaning swirl the brush to remove the last bits of paint that are stuck to the brush.

Step 5: Rinse and Dry the Brush

Use clean water to rinse the brush well. Then, shake off the brush to remove any excess water from it. Get a paper towel and gently dab the bristles. Finally, you’ll want to reshape the bristles before putting the brush away.

Bonus Tips to Keep Your Paint Brushes Looking New

Here are some additional tips that work like a champ when it’s about maintaining your paintbrushes.

  • Avoid dipping your paintbrush more than halfway in the paint. Using a larger brush is a better idea if you need more paint.
  • Thick paint is harder to eliminate from brushes. So, make sure you thin the paint properly.
  • Make sure you keep the paintbrushes separated from the dry-brushing brushes.

Read More: How To Remove Enamel Paint From Metal?

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Do I have to clean my brush immediately after use?

Answer: Yes, this is the best practice. Still, if you can’t make it happen, you can clean the brush later but it may take more time than usual.

Question: What if my brush has dried paint?

Answer: Try the methods we shared, just spend a bit more time than usual. Another way is to use vinegar. You can add vinegar, dish-washing liquid, and soda to some water and rub the brush gently. The paint should be removed quite easily.

Question: Can I use nail polish remover to clean my paintbrushes?

Answer: No, you should not actually. It may damage the bristles of your brush.

Question: How long does it take for enamel paint to dry?

Answer: Water-based enamels dry within 0.5-1 hour. Oil-based enamels take 8-24 hours to dry.

Final Word

So, that’s all we kept about how to cleanup enamel paint from brushes. Hopefully, you’ve got what you were looking for.

Before we wrap up, we would like to remind you that you must be careful while working with the chemicals to clean your brushes. If you use, clean, and maintain the brushes properly, you’ll have a longer journey with your paintbrushes.

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