If you are an avid wood worker or do it yourselfer do not you just hate it when the neighbor comes over to borrow one of your precious paintbrushes? Then a day or two later he lets you know that he returned your brush back to the workshop. You go to use it a week or two later and it's hard as a rock. Simple answer it was not cleaned properly.
No doubt if you are into doing a lot of various painting, you have a good selection of brushes and probably some more expensive ones as well. The first thing you need to learn is to clean and maintain your paintbrushes properly.
Even if you clean your brushes but do an improper job then the paint job you do with them is going to be inferior as well. All too often, a novice painter will blow a poor paint job on the paint when the real culprit is a badly cared for paintbrush. If you do not get yourself into the habit of cleaning your brushes properly then you might as well throw your money away because you are going to have to toss the brushes.
The next question is when you do clean your brushes. Ideally as soon as you have stopped using then for the day, not two days later when the paint job is done. If you are only going to be stopping for an hour or two then you can wrap your brush carefully in some plastic wrap. If you are going to be gone for several hours then soak the brush in the proper cleaning solvent suitable for the type of paint you are using. Filling a glass jar, just enough to cover the brushes will do the job.
Most people prefer to use water based paints and products because of the ease in which they clean up. If you are using a water-based product then you will be able to use soap and water for cleaning your brushes as well. Preferably using an old laundry tub for your cleaning just let some warm water run through the brush to remove the initial excess paint. Then put some liquid soap on the brush and gently work it in. You can use shampoo for this if you want because it conditions the bristles as well Do not squish or twist the bristles. Then rinse well. Repeat this as often as necessary until the brush is totally clean and the rinse water runs clear of the color you were using.
If you are using an oil-based product then you are going to have to use a solvent to clean the brush. Ideally, if you have an old piece of board use this to brush the excess paint out to it. Then soak the brush in a glass container that contains the solvent. Weaving gloves work the solvent well into the bristle. Use an old comb to separate the bristles so the solvent can get into the inner bristles. Repeat the step using a second jar of solvent and twirl the brush around in the solvent until it looks clean. Then take an empty small bucket and twirl your brush around in it to remove the excess solvent. Now wash the brush as you did for the water-based brushes.
Source by Ryan Henderson