The Right Way to Clean Your Paint Supplies (+ how to store them)


January 31, 2024

Lately we’ve been covering a lot of ground in our painting series, and have covered a wide range of topics. From the best painting supplies, to how to choose the right type of paint, and how to paint walls, ceilings and trim. Before we go any further, I thought we should quickly touch on the right way to clean your paint supplies, as well as how to properly store them. Taking these little steps can help your paint supplies last a lifetime and truly make them a one-time investment.


If you’re like me, you probably think this is a very straightforward task and why is there even a blog post about this. I know some of you are nodding. Well not so fast…when it comes time to clean up after your paint project, there’s a right way and a wrong way to clean your paint brushes (and I bet you never knew this). Lets quickly dive into the do’s and don’ts of properly cleaning and storing your paint supplies

It’s all about timing

If you’re able to clean-up immediately following your paint job, it will be much easier to remove the paint from your supplies, as you won’t allow it the chance to harden. In the event you cannot clean-up right away, you can wrap the brush with plastic saranwrap, and you can place the paint roller and tray in a garbage bag. This will prevent air from hardening the paint, and allow you more time to properly clean your tools.

Assuming you’re able to clean your supplies following the job…

Paint brushes:

Most paint brushes can be cleaned with water alone. The most important thing to note is to NOT turn your paint brushes upside down and run water through them. The paint brushes have spacers at the base, and allowing water to penetrate these will loosen the spacers and allow the bristles to fall out over time. Always keep your bristles pointed towards the bottom of the sink and run the water from top to bottom of the brush.

How to Clean Your Paint Brushes:

  1. Remove excess paint with a paper towel first to help expedite the cleaning
  2. Run warm water from the top of the brush to the bottom. Gently massage with your hand, ensuring your getting the front, back and both sides of the brush.
  3. Use a wire paint comb to further loosen any stubborn paint from the brush. Gently brush from top to bottom as needed as you run water over both the brush and the comb.

How to Store Paint Brushes:

  1. Pat paint brush dry with a paper towel or microfiber cloth
  2. Place paint brush in it’s jacket, which will help maintain the shape of the brush
  3. Always store upright (again, preventing moisture from impacting the spacers)

How To Clean Paint Trays, Paint Cups & Rollers:

Paint tray, paint cups and roller clean-up is generally quite simple.

  1. A garden hose will easily do the job in the warmer months of the year.
  2. If you’re painting in an area without access to a garden hose, you can use warm water and dish soap to clean both tools.

How to Clean Drop cloths:

  1. Before storing a canvas or plastic drop cloth, wait for paint drips and splotches to completely dry.
  2. If necessary, canvas cloths can be machine washed in cold water and then air dried before storing.


That’s all there is to it! By slowing down and taking a little bit more time to clean and store your paint supplies the right way, they’ll be a one-time investment and will last you a lifetime. Happy painting!

Related Posts

The best paint supplies

How to paint a wall

How to paint ceilings

How to paint trim

Choosing the right type of paint for your project

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