Acrylic paints are water-based, which means they clean up easily. And while oil paints and other types of paint will usually require you to use a solvent like turpentine to clean your brushes, acrylics can often be cleaned with just soap and water.
Soak in the sink with a bit of water
Ensure the water is warm and not too hot, as this can cause the acrylic paint to melt and run down your brush. You should also avoid soaking a brush for an extended time, as this can cause the strands to fall or break off.
While it’s generally best not to use dish soap on acrylic brushes, if you must do so, then ensure that you rinse them thoroughly after cleaning them with soap so as not to leave any residue that may affect how well they work the next time you use them.
Wash the brush with soap and water.
While in the bathtub, wash the brush with warm water and a small amount of soap. Avoid soaps that contain bleach or vinegar, as they can cause the acrylic paint to set into your hair and become impossible to remove.
Gently work the brush back and forth against itself until it’s clean. If there is any paint left on your brush after this step, repeat until it no longer sticks to your palms when you make contact with it. This may be necessary if you have sensitive skin or are allergic to acrylics. Rinse thoroughly under warm running water before using again.
- Rinse your wet brush in warm water until it is clear.
- Use a comb to remove any paint from the bristles, if necessary.
- If you have an acrylic-specific cleaner on hand, use that instead of water to remove any remaining paint from your brush. Once you’ve removed all traces of pigment, let it air-dry overnight before using it again.
Use a brush comb or brush cleaner if needed.
If you can remove any paint from your brush, then it’s time to use a brush comb or a natural bristle brush cleaner to detangle the bristles and remove any remaining paint.
If you can’t remove all of the paint from your brushes, consider purchasing a bottle of brush cleaner that will help break down oil-based paints so that they can be rinsed out with water.
Brush cleaners are sold in spray bottles for easy application and usually have a pleasant scent (though some people do not care about this). They’re also often made with natural ingredients like olive oil or coconut oil, which won’t damage your brushes as they clean off residual acrylics.
If you clean your brushes properly, they’ll last for years.
Acrylic paint is water-based, and therefore it’s easy to clean. Add some soap and warm water to a bowl, and swirl the brush around for a few seconds. If you’ve been painting for a prolonged time, you may need to repeat this step.
Cleaning your brushes and removing acrylic paint from a brush is essential to caring for them, and acrylic paint is a particularly challenging material to remove from bristles. Acrylics dry quickly and become sticky when wet, so it’s common to end up with a brush that resembles a raccoon.