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June 16, 2011

Don’t wash your paintbrushes!

Used paintbrush, still wet from use.

Used paintbrush, still wet from use.

If you do a lot of painting and staining around your home like I do, you’ve probably gone through quite a few paintbrushes and may have tried to clean them after use with various nasty solvents or water. Here’s a simple tip to avoid using those solvents entirely, while keeping the brushes ready for next use. Just seal the used, still-wet brushes in plastic bags. I tend to use old bagel or bread bags since they are about the right size. Make sure the bag is airtight. Just flatten the bag to remove excess air, and knot or secure the bag opening once the brush is in, then store it. With this trick, I’ve found I can keep brushes ready-to-use for many months. This pretty much limits you to using the brush with one paint color or stain, but brushes themselves are pretty cheap. A fairly obvious tip and surely not a new idea, but given the benefits of reduced solvent use, and even time saved, this is probably worth posting.

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