I am always asked how I clean my brushes, all I ever do is just rinse them out with clean water, but some people feel that their brushes aren't clean unless they use soap. Be careful when washing your brushes with any detergent or too often, this can damage and dry the hair making them brittle. If you feel that you really need to wash your brush then use a mild soap, such as ivory, baby soap or brush soap (which is specifically designed for washing brushes). Start by putting a little soap in the palm of your hand and gently work it into the hair of the brush.
- Shape: To reshape your brush, wet the tip then flick your wrist in a downward motion to remove the water and reshape the point. If you prefer not to flick your brush, remove the excess water and gently reshape it back to a point then lay them flat on a soft terry towel then let dry.
- Storage: Between paintings place your clean dry brushes handle down in a heavy clay, stone jar or pot, keeping the ferrule (tip) side up in the air to dry. If you are not going to use your brushes for a long period of time you might want to store them in an airtight container. First make sure that they are clean and completely dry. A damp brush can create mildew and damage the hair, if you are storing them for an extend time consider mothballs to prevent against moth damage.
What Not to Do
- Do not use your good brushes for masking fluids and drawing gum
- Do not use your good watercolor brushes for oil or acrylic painting.
- Do not cut your brushes to reshape them
- Do not leave your brushes submerged tip down in water or it will loosen the glue in the ferrule and the tip will eventually come off and ruin the shape in the tip. If the tip does come off and the shape is fine, re-glue it to the handle.
Ideas for traveling
Wrap your brushes inside a Bamboo Brush holder then secure the roll with a tight rubber band, so nothing moves. Consider dipping your brush into concentrated Murphy’s pure vegetable oil soap - let dry, once dry it holds it’s shape (if needed you can try this method to reshape your brush or tame some of those crazy hairs that can happen) When you are ready to use them again simply thoroughly wash your brush with clean water to remove the soap.