Brush cleaning whilst painting.

I understand everyone has their own way of doing this.  Some use spirits, some oils etc....

Personally, I tend to use odorless turps, but on occasion will use oil to clean a brush between colours if I don't have 2 brushes of the same type for darks and lights.
Over the years, I have tried various ways of doing this.   A simple jar with a brass pot scrub in the bottom to wipe the brush on works OK, but can be messy.
Art shop bought super-duper container soon lost a wire brush wipe and has no lid, so the solvent just evaporates twice as fast.
Recently I broke a teapot.   I discovered the strainer fits nicely in the neck of a Moccona coffee jar and the lid fits within the top of the tea strainer.  I have been thrilled with my discovery.  Gentle on brushes, little evaporation, no sludge to deal with daily (only when cleaning out).  

the 3 pics on the left are the tea strainer in a coffee jar and the one on the right is the useless shop bought model.

What contraptions do other people use as a container for your preferred brush rinser/cleaner?


  • A pot of water and paper towels (I use acrylics) :)
  • I use oil in small glass jars left from sauces etc. Normally two, "very dirty" oil and "clean to dirty". Once "very dirty" gets to "unbearable", it's very thick with pigment, it can dry and be thrown away, of course without cleaning.
  • I have a very small container of mineral spirits and I only quickly dip brushes in, not down to the ferrule if I can help it, then wipe it on paper towel to clean off excess paint. I never sit them in it and I never put my natural hair brushes like sables in mineral spirits.
    Then I have a rubber glove on my left hand, dip each brush in Chroma Brush Cleaner and clean against my gloved hand until the foam is white, with warm tap running to rinse. It's quick, simple and my brushes now last for ages.
  • @Richard_P, is that like being a teetotaler at a bar?
    @outremer, Until 3 weeks ago I was doing a similar thing.  I had 2 or 3 small jars from sludgy to clean, they took up space, and often got knocked over.   I think that is why I am liking the tea strainer, the level means the strainer part is always clear and the sludge is somewhere below.
  • @Abstraction, yes, I have never left brushes sitting in it, dipping only.   I put one in for the photo to give a sense of perspective looking down.
    Paper towels are wonderful things.    Keep the logging industry going and more trees planted; what more could you ask for ....  well, I would like my local supermarkets to bring back unbleached paper to the shelves...!
    I recently bought some of that foamy brush cleaner.   I have used it when packing brushes away, but have steered clear for everyday use.  I don't like wetting my oil brushes with water.
  • toujours said:
    @Richard_P, is that like being a teetotaler at a bar?
    I have grown to like the taste of tea! ;)
  • I never wash my brushes unless I won't be painting for many weeks which never happens. The stay dipped in walnut oil. I have a jar with holes in the lid. The handles of my brushes have a rubber washer that holds the brush in the hole and seals the hole to retard oxidization of the oil in the jar. It's a simple system that saves my brushes from harsh solvents and water,  keeps them in top condition, and saves me a heap of time.

    While painting, I have up to 20 brushes going for the different colors but if I need to use a brush for another (but similar) color I just wipe it like Mark shows in his video, dip it in the new color, wipe it again and I'm ready to go.
  • I do the same thing as Rob @tassieguy, except I use fewer brushes. 
  • I do exactly same as @tassieguy, in terms of not cleaning a brush thoroughly while painting, rather wipe it somewhat when changing color. I think Mark has one of the best advices in this regard. When I dont use a particular brush for over a week, I keep it wet in safflower oil + clove oil mix. 
  • GTO said:
    I do the same thing as Rob @tassieguy, except I use fewer brushes. 
    Oh, so you've read his book then.

  • Lol, @Abstraction. The easiest book I ever didn't write.  :)

    There's a thread here somewhere with pictures of the jar with holes in the lid with the brushes inserted. I'll have a search for it and post it. A picture tells a thousand words.  :)
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