View Full Version : Brush Cleaning

06-19-2001, 08:46 PM
FYI, for those who prefer to use linseed oil soap for cleaning brushes, I've located another source for the product in Canada:

GP Chemicals
12 Henderson Ave.
Brampton, Ontario L6Y2A5
905-450-8511 (FAX)
[email protected]

Their soap is VERY reasonably priced compared to other U.S. sources and they'll send you a price list if you call/e-mail the above.

06-20-2001, 07:29 AM
Many thanks, also Murphy's Soap is an Oil Soap...

06-20-2001, 08:57 AM
what's the advantage of oil soap? i've been using ivory all these years and it seems to work just fine.

i also put a little hair conditioner on my natural bristle brushes after i wash them to keep them healthy, flexible, happy!

06-20-2001, 10:43 AM
I believe the reason that the linseed oil soap cleans so well is the high linoleic acid content compared to soaps made with other oils/fats. It cleans without being harsh (like Ivory) and it conditions the brushes, so you can skip the conditioning step in your regimen.

I used to use B&J's Master Brush soap, but about a year ago I tried linseed oil soap and I was surprised how much gunk came out of brushes I thought I'd cleaned pretty well with turps & soap. I guess RH of StudioProducts obviously knows this, but they price their brush soap like caviar, NOT soap. As I recall, it's about $12.50 + shipping for about 6 fl. oz. of soap -- ouch! Event the Master's Brush soap was ~$20 or so for the big 24 fl. oz. tub, no great deal either.

GP Chemicals primarily markets their soap to Tack Shops and Equestrian Centers for cleaning and reconditioning saddles and other leather products, not pricey art stores. They sell their soap by the case in 6 different size tubs/buckets from 1/2Kg. to 23 Kg. each (the 1/2Kg. tub is about the size of a large tub of margarine). I believe I paid around $5.50/Kg. and that included shipping. A case of anything may seem like alot, but if you paint every day you can chew through plenty of brush soap over the course of a year. You could always split the cost with a friend, too.

If your interested, just call or drop them a line and they'll send you a sample to try out for yourself. I was pretty surprised when they sent me a 1/2Kg. tub just to try out. That's the equivalent of 2-3 containers of StudioProductsGuys linseed oil soap for those of you who are keeping track.

Good luck!

Doug Nykoe
06-21-2001, 05:18 PM
I like a clean, conditioned brush !!! I did all the home brews and nothing cleaned my brushes better than B&J's Master Brush soap. I will give the one you (artoguy) suggested a try as well as Studio Products. It would be nice to know thier secret soap recipe then I would make my own already. :evil:

Does anyone know what they put in these soaps (recipe)??? Like I said I tried everything from olive oil to whatever and these special soaps really do work well.

06-21-2001, 07:49 PM
I'm not sure what's in B&J's Master Brush Soap, nor StudioProducts for sure. It's been hinted that the Ugly Dog soap is simply Linseed Oil Soap plus some sooper-secret conditioners, etc. My guess is it's also superfatted with something, perhaps it's some hydrogenated vegatable oil, since it's quite solid. The GP Chemical stuff is supposedly just Linseed Oil and Lye, so it falls somewhere in between softsoap and the hard milled stuff. I believe the technical term is "muck".

I'd make it myself, since there's hundreds of soapmaking recipes on the web, but who's got the time? :clap:

Doug Nykoe
06-21-2001, 09:37 PM
Actually I think making my own soap would make for an interesting project. You said Hydrogenated vegetable oil Ö hmmm you could be right, I believe thatís what they use to keep peanut butter from separating. Hey, how about a peanut butter smelling brush cleaner. :D No ,,, I didnít think so. Well, until I figure it out, Iíll keep buying the good stuff. But one thing for sure I will never go back to dishwashing liquid, hair conditioners etc. again. I ruined a lot of brushes in my experiments.

06-24-2001, 07:45 AM
What about just letting your brushes soak in linseed oil between uses? Then you can just wipe them off and they're good to go. Seems like someone mentioned that a while back (Milt?).

Scott Methvin
06-24-2001, 05:46 PM
Originally posted by ldallen
What about just letting your brushes soak in linseed oil between uses? Then you can just wipe them off and they're good to go. Seems like someone mentioned that a while back (Milt?).

You know, it all depends on the brush type. I have some good bristle brushes that will not die and I keep bringing them back to live and they seem fine.
On the other hand, an expensive kolinsky sable, like a windson-newton series 7 needs lots of TLC. Never soak it in a drying oil, instead of washing it with a good brush soap. If any linseed oil dries in the ferrule or on the shafts of the hairs-the brush will become a worthless stick that is only good for stirring paint.
Take care of your brushes and they will take care of you!:D

06-24-2001, 06:48 PM
I do handle my Kolinskies (sp?) differently than my bristle brushes. Do you clean your brushes when you stop for lunch? I do, and I'm wondering if I'm doing them more harm than good.

06-24-2001, 06:49 PM
Originally posted by ldallen
What about just letting your brushes soak in linseed oil between uses? Then you can just wipe them off and they're good to go. Seems like someone mentioned that a while back (Milt?).

Titanium has talked about using walnut oil in that fashion.

10-04-2001, 09:51 PM
I'm actually replying to the post made by Artoguy, regarding the use of a soap used for cleaning saddles, etc. made by the GP Chemicals Co. Do you have an address or phone number for them?

I can't afford $12.50 6 oz. cleaners.

It puzzles me to think that a soap made for leather could be good enough for fine sable brushes.

Do you think this GP Chemicals cleaner is as good as the linseed oil soap discussed?


10-04-2001, 09:56 PM
Sorry, I just noticed you already posted the address and e-mail address for GP Chemicals. I had overlooked that post.


10-05-2001, 12:58 AM
I use B & J Masters soap too. I always have a bar around for my hands too as well as the other for my brushes.

10-12-2001, 03:02 PM
Go to Home Depot or Hardware store and get some Mechanic paste hand soap. It is in a 1 pt plastic jar and after you wash brush in hand cleaner then dip it in the paste and rub it into the brush and wash off with warm water. Try to get the type that contains alo.

Also...for best brush health...it is nice after giving them a cleaning that you dip them in kerosene. That restores oil to the brush and helps to preserve it.

10-13-2001, 06:11 AM
I posted this on another thread and perhaps it will help here. After cleaning my brushes thoroughly ( and the soaps recommended here are great) I dip them in a plastic cup filled with vegetable oil. The cheapest gallon jug from my supermarket. The veg. oil leeches out any remaining paint and I wipe most of it off and store them, brush end up. I tried linseed oil and because it is a drying oil, it ruined some of my good brushes. With the vegetable oil, the brush is always soft and when you use it next time, simply pull the brush through a cloth and the excess oil will come off easily. This was recommended in "Oil Painting-Discover Your Natural Ability" by Charles Sovek. Renee http://www.LongIslandFineArt.com