How to clean your brushes for oil painting

By Milan Art Institute on January 31, 2020
How to clean your brushes for oil painting

Let’s face it, oil painting is messy! Oil paint gets everywhere and is extremely difficult to remove. Your paint will pile up in your jar of thinner, and this will eventually corrode your brushes. Having healthy clean brushes is essential to creating beautiful artwork rich in color.

To take care of your brushes, you’ll need to know how to really clean them. You might be surprised, but Dawn dish soap is actually the BEST for removing oil paint from your brushes. Pour a quarter size amount of soap in your palm, take your dirty brush and scrub into the soap in circular motions. Press and scrub really hard. Rinse your brush, and repeat until the soap suds are clear. You might have to do this a few times before your brush is totally clean.

So how often should you clean your brushes? As often as you’d like, it’s a great habit to remember to clean your brushes after each oil painting session. But if you forget and leave your brushes in your thinner, they’ll be totally fine for a few days. If they’re left any longer than a week, they’ll start to get destroyed and become frayed. And remember, never leave your brushes out! If you leave them out of the thinner without washing them, they’ll become hard and totally unusable.

Having clean brushes will actually transform your painting experience. Not only does it help you achieve richer color, but it also helps you maintain the longevity and quality of your brush. With richer colors, you’ll be more able to accurately depict the visual representation of the painting that exists in your mind. You’ll immediately notice a difference in the quality of your work when you take good care of your brushes.

Dimitra Milan
Co-Owner of Milan Art Institute, Professional Artist

Milan Art Institute
Milan Art Institute

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