Savvy DIYers know how to clean a paintbrush to retain its longevity. To clean latex paint from brushes, use just soap and water (latex paint is water-based). Clean paintbrushes before the paint has a chance to dry on the brush, whether you’re using latex paint or oil (alkyd) paint — it’s the best way to keep your equipment in good shape.

Cleaning paint from brushes can get a little messy. If you have a sink in the garage, well, then, lucky you! If not, then have plenty of paper towels to wipe up the mess.


Gather your materials: a wire paint comb, latex gloves, the used paintbrush, and the can of paint.

Compared with cleaning oil-based paints, cleaning up after a latex paint job is pretty easy. This task should take less than 30 minutes.


Drag the paintbrush across the top of the open paint can.

Dragging the paintbrush across the opening of the paint can is the best way to remove the excess paint from the brush. Reseal the can when you’re done.


Rinse the brush in warm running water.

Hold the brush under warm running water to rinse it. Spread the bristles of the brush to get down into the heel (near the metal band) to clean any paint that may be down there.


Comb out excess paint from the brush.

Hold the brush under the running water and use a paintbrush comb to remove any paint that remains.


Continue rinsing until the water runs clear.

Continue to work the paint out of the brush from the heel to the end of the bristles. Spread the bristles occasionally until the water coming out of the brush is clear.


Tap out excess moisture from the brush.

Turn off the water, and take the brush in one hand and tap the heel of the brush against your other hand repeatedly. This step knocks the water from the brush.

Once the brush is clean and dry, place the brush’s original cover back on it, and hang the brush on pegboard or lay it on a flat surface in your storage area to keep it in the best condition. Make sure the bristles aren’t bent. This ensures that the bristles are like new for years to come.

If you’ve waited several days to clean a brush, try soaking it in warm, soapy water for about 30 minutes before beginning the cleaning process covered in this project. You can also check a paint or home improvement store for products specifically designed to clean dry, hard brushes.