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Old 10-06-2018, 06:24 PM
jnicholes jnicholes is offline
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Cleaning dried oil brushes

Hello,

So, I made a mistake, (or "happy accident" as Bob Ross puts it,) I failed to clean my brushes properly last time I painted. I pulled them out today, and they have dried oil paint on them. I guess I didn't clean them good enough. Oh well! I guess this is a learning experience for me.

Is there a way to get the dried paint off these brushes? I can't paint until I get it off.

Any help will be appreciated,

Jared
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Old 10-06-2018, 06:57 PM
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Humbaba Humbaba is offline
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Re: Cleaning dried oil brushes

There is a good chance you will have to throw them in the trash.

Lay them in turpentine for at least 2-3 hours, then rub them vigorously in paper towels or a rag, repeat if necessary.

If the above method fails, try with acetone, but be careful, only the hair should be soaked in it.

Third method, try with hot water, again only attack the hair, rub in paper towels or a rag.
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Old 10-06-2018, 07:17 PM
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Freesail Freesail is offline
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Re: Cleaning dried oil brushes

Master's brush cleaner and preserver has saved a few brushes of mine. I give it a try.
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Old 10-06-2018, 07:41 PM
kentiessen kentiessen is offline
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Re: Cleaning dried oil brushes

I would recommend Masters- cover the bristles in dense soap and keep wet (wrap in plastic film or foil) and let sit a day or so. It will start to soften the paint- carefully flex, scrub, and rinse, and repeat as necessary. If you're in a hurry, you may use a host of chemicals including auto hand cleaner- but know they will likely shorten the life of the brush.
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Old 10-06-2018, 07:53 PM
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Re: Cleaning dried oil brushes

Many here on WC have had success with an overnight soak in Murphy's Oil Soap....always works for me.
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Old 10-06-2018, 10:34 PM
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sidbledsoe sidbledsoe is offline
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Re: Cleaning dried oil brushes

I have restored many with soaps like those mentioned, and also with an overnight soaking in Weber's Turpenoid Natural.
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Old 10-07-2018, 03:24 AM
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Ron Francis Ron Francis is offline
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Re: Cleaning dried oil brushes

Paint stripper works.
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Old 10-07-2018, 06:38 AM
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Re: Cleaning dried oil brushes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Francis
Paint stripper works.
I think, that Paint stripper, based on DimethylFormamide is best advice. If you can't get such a powerful paint cleaner, then try to soak your brushes in Acetone or Nitrocellulose Lacquer's solvent. Works just fine. I always use nitro solvent as an emergency brush cleaner.

Last edited by Gigalot : 10-07-2018 at 06:53 AM.
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Old 10-07-2018, 08:07 AM
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ronsu18 ronsu18 is offline
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Re: Cleaning dried oil brushes

mine says potassium hydroxide and sodium metasilicate, do i dare use it on soft synthetic brushes?
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Old 10-07-2018, 08:31 AM
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Re: Cleaning dried oil brushes

Quote:
Originally Posted by ronsu18
mine says potassium hydroxide and sodium metasilicate, do i dare use it on soft synthetic brushes?
That potassium hydroxide will destroy natural brush after several seconds you put it into such solution. Synthetic brush can resist potassium hydroxide, but that depends of synthetic polymer, used to make brush hair. To wash artists brushes you need solvent, that can dissolve old paint, but can't harm natural hair. Potassium hydroxide and Sulfuric acid are not a drug of choice.

Last edited by Gigalot : 10-07-2018 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 10-07-2018, 08:50 AM
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ronsu18 ronsu18 is offline
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Re: Cleaning dried oil brushes

thank you!
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:25 AM
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Re: Cleaning dried oil brushes

I have found that paint stripper can cause brushes to swell and distort.
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Old 10-07-2018, 10:28 AM
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Re: Cleaning dried oil brushes

The bad thing about letting brushes dry with oil paint in them is that there is dried hard paint that is way up the bristles, near the base of the tuft, next to the ferrule. This hard caked paint is pretty nigh impossible to get out with anything, and you will wind up with restored brushes that are not exactly like new. Flats will become less flat and brighter, brighter brushes get even brighter too.
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Old 10-07-2018, 10:37 AM
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Re: Cleaning dried oil brushes

I use those "not so perfect brushes" for dry brush and scumble.
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Old 10-07-2018, 11:15 AM
JCannon JCannon is offline
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Re: Cleaning dried oil brushes

In my experience, paint stripper can restore a completely lost brush -- hardened with old paint -- to SOME usability. It may not be what it originally was, but you will probably find a purpose for it. Don't keep the brush hairs immersed in stripper too long. Stripper will also remove paint from the wooden handle.

On a somewhat lower level of desperation, consider W&N's brush cleaner, which seems to be stronger than its competitors. I sometimes pour a dollop directly atop Master's Brush Cleaner for some old-fashioned scrubbing.

Real turpentine is a stronger solvent than OMS, but also more expensive.

A brush may emerge from its cleaning scraggly and poorly-shaped. Mona Lisa's Brush Shaper "kinda sorta" works to bring back the point; my results have varied. I think it's the same stiffener used on many new brushes.

Last edited by JCannon : 10-07-2018 at 11:32 AM.
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