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Non-toxic brush cleaners???

I am looking for a healthier way to clean brushes besides turp etc. I have read that you can use baby oil. Any thoughts?


  • In some of Mark's videos you will see that he keeps them suspended with clothespins in a mixture of linseed and OMS. I do the same, but just use linseed oil. I was using baby oil, and some people have had no problems with it, but others have expressed concern that it takes forever to dry and could cause problems if it migrates into your paints. For me linseed works fine and I just wipe and paint.
  • Walnut oil works great.
    Illago[Deleted User]
  • I use "turpenoid green" to soak my brushes and plain old bar soap to wash them in. I would consider suspending them in oil, but I do not have good ventilation and both walnut oil and linseed oil smell bad to me.
  • edited June 2013
    draggingsticks, For you and other newcomers, you can find a treasure trove of advice and information by using the search function up on the top right. For what you seek to learn on this thread type in "brush care", or "brush cleaning". A lot of the comments will give advice that require the use of mineral spirits or "turps" which is something you apparently need to avoid, but you'll find a lot of tips you can pick and choose from and then tailor a brush-cleaning procedure to suit your particular needs.
  • edited June 2013
    My first lesson I had oil the end of the paint session...the instructor made us rinse our brushes well in turp to get the paint out...wipe off excess

    then dip in light weight motor oil...

    then mold in shape and wipe excess oil off on soft rag...I have done this for a while and it works well for keeps my brushes well...

    However, with Marks method (using Delq in your oils) ....I don't clean my brushes when I'm finished painting for the day...I put the dirty brushes into a gallon zip lock bag...and can use them up to a week...then I clean them when time permits...easy!
  • Motor oil, never heard of that, it sounds crazy
  • I use Schmincke's eco brush cleaner for oil and acrylic brushes. But it takes more time to clean a brush.
  • I use regular bar soap. Gently rub the brush over a bar of soap. Rinse with water. Wipe off with paper towel. To keep the brushes soft, I then dip them into some Graham Walnut Oil. It's cheap.
  • Walnut oil for dipping and wiping the brush while you're painting is great. Soap and water after you're done painting. I don't like to have oms sitting open in the room when I'm painting- just because you can't smell it doesn't mean the fumes aren't there ( I always thought it was funny that they add a smell to natural gas to alert you of its presence and they removed the smell from mineral spirits). Walnut oil is completely harmless - you could eat it if you wanted to.
  • dandelion said:

    Walnut oil for dipping and wiping the brush while you're painting is great. Soap and water after you're done painting. Walnut oil is completely harmless - you could eat it if you wanted to.

    Just don't eat it once you have pigment in it! [-X

    @dandelion what kind of soap do you recommend?
  • lol, absolutely - and don't hold your brushes in your mouth (used to be a bad habit of mine). I bought some bars of olive oil soap at the dollar store, and it works really well for brush cleaning. Another bad habit I used to have was using the palm of my hand to scrub the soapy brush in. With the bar soap, I just brush it back and forth on the soap.
  • Dandelion, don't feel bad, I still use the palm of my hand to clean the brushes. not good i guess. Just be sure to clean up hands good with soap afterwards. I did hold brushes in my mouth too, but the taste wasn't too good. I took the cartridge that holds the 237 bullets and glued it to a piece of wood. It has 20 holes in it and perfect for holding your brushes. When Mark said he used 12 or more brushes in a painting, I did wonder. Now by the time I get into a painting every other hole has a brush in it. Since the brushes are at a slight angle, be sure your base is at least 4 to 5 inches wide. .
    no more holding in the mouth.
  • Ronna said:

    Walnut oil works great.

    Agree 100%. I use OMS and after you think it's clean, dip it in walnut oil and more pigment will come out of the brush. I started doing this after I read a thread on the old forum. The contributor said they dip in walnut oil and press on the glass pallet. Keep doing that until the oil coming off the brush is clear. If you are going to store it for a long time wash with soap and water after that. The walnut oil can gum up as it dries but it takes a long time for that to happen.

  • Just to make sure I understand brush cleaning using the linseed oil/oms mix. Do you keep the brushes suspended in the mix 24/7 even if you are not painting for long periods of time?
  • I developed a severe allergy to turps a long time ago, and for years, before I left the US, I used to use something called Silicoil, which you'll find in any large art supply store. It's so easy to use - there's a large jar with a metal coil in it, and you fill it with the Silicoil liquid. To clean your brush at the end of the day, you just wipe it over the coil and all the paint falls off it. You can then wash the brush with soap if you want, but I found this unnecessary. The liquid itself lasts a really long time, since all the paint falls to the bottom of the jar and can be scooped out once in a while. I really LOVE this system. I also just noticed that it's now available on Amazon in the UK and I just ordered some. (Costs three times as much here. Bah!)
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Does anyone know if Silicoil brush cleaner is safe to use on a regular basis?
  • dencaldencal -
    edited August 2015

    Welcome to the DMP Forum.
    This product is made from petroleum distillates (solvents).

    Here is an extract from the Materials Safety Data Sheet for Siliciol.
    Silicoil Brush Cleaning Fluid.1. Classification of the substance or mixture
    Flam. Liq. 3;H226
    Skin Irrit. 3;H316
    Skin Sens. 1;H317
    Asp. Tox. 1;H304
    2.2. Label elements
    Using the Toxicity Data listed
    Flammable liquid and vapor.
    Causes mild skin irritation. (Not adopted by US OSHA) May cause an allergic skin reaction.
    May be fatal if swallowed and enters airways.
    in section 11 and 12 the product is labeled as follows.
    H226 Flammable liquid and vapor.
    H304 May be fatal if swallowed and enters airways.
    H316 Causes mild skin irritation.
    H317 May cause an allergic skin reaction.
    P210 Keep away from heat / sparks / open flames / hot surfaces - No smoking.
    P235 Keep cool.
    P240 Ground / bond container and receiving equipment.
    P241 Use explosion-proof electrical / ventilating / light / equipment.
    P242 Use only non-sparking tools.
    P243 Take precautionary measures against static discharge.
    P261 Avoid breathing dust / fume / gas / mist / vapors / spray.
    P272 Contaminated work clothing should not be allowed out of the workplace.
    P280 Wear protective gloves / eye protection / face protection.
    P301+310 IF SWALLOWED: Immediately call a POISON CENTER or doctor / physician.
    P302+352 IF ON SKIN: Wash with plenty of soap and water.
    P303+361+353 IF ON SKIN (or hair): Remove / Take off immediately all contaminated clothing. Rinse skin with water / shower.
    P313 Get medical advice / attention.
    P321 Specific treatment (see information on this label).
    P331 Do NOT induce vomiting.
    P333+313 If skin irritation or a rash occurs: Get medical advice / attention.
    P363 Wash contaminated clothing before reuse.
    P370+378 In case of fire: Use extinguishing media listed in section 5 of SDS for extinction. [Storage]:
    P403+233 Store in a well ventilated place. Keep container tightly closed.
    P405 Store locked up.
    P501 Dispose of contents / container in accordance with local / national regulations.
  • I agree with Kingston. I was taught do clean my brushse after a painting session when I was taught to paint back in the early 1040's. Hey, I'm still learning!
    [Deleted User]
  • I use Zest It for acrylic brushes and chroma brush cleaner for other brushes. Both provide good results and are safe.
  • Newer discussion relevant to this discussion: discussion/4066/cleaning-brushes-problem
  • if gamsol doesn't do it - spike oil (spike lavender) works . it's stronger than ordourless turps. 
    I found the lavender smell too much for me - but def. Not toxic.
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