How to clean up after house painting

If you’ve decided to do your own home interior or exterior painting before, you’ll know how big of a process it can be. From selecting paint colours to acquiring the necessary tools, house painting can be a big job. Once the final coat of paint has been applied, the fun part is over. Now it’s time to clean up to ensure your tools and paints are stored away ready for their next use. It all sounds good, but where do you start? We have some great tips from professional painters to help you out.


Cleaning your brushes

If you want to re-use your bushes in the future, it’s important to clean them properly after use. Stiff bristles will often occur when the paint has not be cleaned adequately, leaving your brush unusable. A good clean will ensure they last longer and continue to perform.


Water-based paints 

If you’re house painting with water-based paint, you’ll want to make sure you clean up as soon as you’ve finished painting. This will ensure that it doesn’t harden too much. Take a bucket of clean warm water and place the brushes in. Push them along the sides of the bucket to dislodge the majority of the paint. Following this, you’ll want to take a wire brush and work it through the bristles to remove the remainder of the paint.  You can repeat this process once more if there are persistent spots of paint that are hard to remove. If the paint still remains, you can use some mineral turpentine. Flush it again in warm water and soap. Dry your paint brush by shaking out the water and covering it over. Place it upside down to avoid the bristles drying when bent.


Oil-based paints

If you’re house painting with oil-based paints, the cleaning process for the brush is slightly different. You will first need to fill up a bucket with around 2 inches of turpentine. Work the paint brushes around the bucket to remove the paint. This is because water is ineffective at removing oil-based paints. If after a turpentine wash the paint still remains in some of the bristles, you can scrub them with a wire brush and repeat the process once or twice more. Finally, once the paint has been removed, rinse the paint brush in warm water and soap. Then dry the paint brush. Do this by shaking out the water placing the paint brush into a cover. Dry it upside down to avoid bent and damaged bristles. Keep your water-based and oil-based brushes separate to keep them well maintained.

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Cleaning your rollers

Cleaning your paint roller will greatly prolong its life and allow it to be used many times. Otherwise you may have to throw it out after the paint hardens from two or three uses. As mentioned in the above section on brushes, the cleaning process will depend on whether you have painted with water-based or oil-based paints.

Cleaning water-based paint from a roller should be cleaned immediately after use. Place the rollers into a bucket of clean warm water. Work them around the bucket to remove the majority of the paint.

If you’re using oil-based paints, you will need to fill a bucket with mineral turpentine to clean the rollers. Again, work the rollers around in the turpentine to dislodge the main portions of paint from the bristles.

Excess paint

In order to clean any of the excess paint from your roller, use a wire roller cleaner. This clips to the top of the roller and drags downwards to push the excess paint into the tin. You’ll want to repeat this process several times in order to scrape every last drop of paint from the roller. The next step is to run your roller across a couple of sheets of newspaper to remove any further paint. Wipe it once more, until the paint residue has been cleaned completely. Now that the roller has been cleaned, you’ll want to dry it by removing the roller from the handle and placing it in a well-ventilated area to dry. Let the roller hang upside down to avoid damaging the brush. Store it away after it has dried out completely.


Cleaning your drop sheets

You can re-use your drop sheets if you take care of them, simply by cleaning and storing them properly. If you have spilt any paint onto your drop sheets, make sure they are completely dry before folding them up. This helps to avoid any unwanted mess. It could also dry and harden, causing a plastic drop sheet to rip next time you go to use it. Canvas drop sheets are more durable and are designed to be used many times without requiring cleaning. Just fold them and pack them away.


Storing paint

Keep a supply of leftover paint for future touch up jobs. You’ll want to ensure that the lid on the tin has been tightly sealed. This prevents air getting in which will harden the paint. To re-seal a tin and make it airtight, wipe the rim of the tin clean. Then, place the lid on tightly, place a block of wood over the top and gently knock it down with a hammer. Once it’s on tight you can turn the tin upside down to create an airtight seal. This will keep your paint in good condition for long periods of time.


It’s a long process, but it doesn’t end once you’ve finished the house painting. Cleaning up can take some additional time. It’s also extremely important if you want to keep your tools and paint in good condition for its next use. If the clean-up doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you can always hire the professional painters at SG Coatings to get the job done for you. We take great pride in our residential painting service to ensure that your paint job looks incredible and you receive the best service possible, including a clean-up! With years of experience in the field, our team of professional painting team are renowned for providing high-quality, affordable paint jobs that last. If you would like to book a free design consultation and/or free painting quote to discuss home interior or exterior painting on the Mornington Peninsula, Bayside, South East Melbourne or the surrounding suburbs, please contact us here.

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