Hardened paint can often be remove from a paintbrush naturally using household vinegar. Here’s how.

Cleaning Hardened Paintbrush with Vinegar

  1. Place the paintbrush in a disposable aluminum baking pan.
  2. Heat vinegar up in a pot on the stove to almost boiling.
  3. Pour the hot vinegar over the paintbrush in the pan.
  4. Allow the brush to soak for 10 minutes or longer.
  5. Use a brush comb or wire brush to remove the softened paint.
  6. Wash the brush with warm water and soap.
  7. Rinse the paintbrush with clean water.
  8. Allow the brush to dry on a flat surface or hanging up.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Joe Truini: After painting you should always clean your brushes thoroughly so they look almost brand new, as this one did. But no matter how careful you are, sooner or later, you may end up with a brush that looks like this.

Here’s one that, unfortunately, I didn’t get to in time, and it has some paint caked on it. I tried soaking it in hot water, been scrubbing it, and I just can’t get it out, so I’m going to try this trick that I’ve used once before, and it worked really well.

Get a foil baking sheet—this is one of those dishes that has disposable foil. And I heated up some vinegar on the stove. This is warm vinegar just to the point of boiling, and I’m going to soak the bristles.

And vinegar is a pretty powerful acid. You’d be surprised, it can eat through a lot of material. We’re hoping here that it softens that paint. So we’re going to let that set for about 10 minutes. We’re going to come back and clean it.

Well now that the vinegar has softened the paint, we’re just going to rake through the bristles with a brush comb. Now, depending on the condition of your brush, you may need to do this two or three times. But you can see after just 10 minutes, this brush is nearly as good as new.

Editorial Contributors
Joe Truini

Joe Truini

Radio Show Co-Host

Joe Truini is a contractor, author, and the host of “Simple Solutions” on Today’s Homeowner TV and the weekly Today’s Homeowner radio show. He has worked on both large commercial projects and residential remodeling, and has written for national publications such as This Old House and Popular Mechanics. He has also written eight books, including three best-selling shed-building books. Joe lives in Connecticut with his family and enjoys hiking, traveling, and baseball in his spare time.

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