Cleaning water-based (latex) paints from your paint brush.
Prepare soapy water and pour into a clean container. Dip the paint brush into the mixture, working the soap through the brush bristles. Follow with a clear water rinse. Repeat the process if necessary.
To remove latex paint from a paintbrush, fill a container with warm water and use the brush to 'paint' (by applying brush strokes) the bottom of the container to remove more leftover paint. You may need to dump the water out and repeat this step several times.
It is fine to clean paint brushes, and rinse a small amount of paint down a sink and drain if it is water-based latex paint and you use a public sewer system. You should never dispose of oil or acrylic paints or paint thinners or solvents in any sink or system. It's never safe to dump paint, in any amount, down a sink.
DO NOT pour paint down drain. While small amounts of latex paint can safely be washed down drain to a septic system or wastewater treatment plant, this practice should be kept to a minimum. Limit this to brush cleaning and other clean-up.
Similar to cleaning products, paint should never be poured down the drain even though it's a liquid. It has the potential to pollute the environment and cause your drain to clog. Many towns have hazardous waste facilities where you can safely dispose of your old or unused paint.
All you'll need to clean your brushes is some warm water or mild dish soap. Clean the brush with the appropriate solvent for the type of paint you've been using. If you used oil-based paint, you'll be cleaning your brushes with mineral spirits or turpentine.
After you're done painting for the day, wrap the roller or paintbrush in a wet towel. Place it in a plastic bag or wrap it with plastic wrap, and then—here's the secret—put it in the fridge. The roller or brush will stay fresh until you're ready to paint again!
I've used cellulose thinners or acetone in the past to get the dried latex out. It's a tough messy job, and you must wear appropriate gloves (Nitrile, thick). To be honest the brush will never be much use for anything other than applying latex again.
The brushes must soak overnight (cover the container on the left with foil in a well-ventilated area). If the paint isn't softened after 24 hours, let the brushes soak another day. You must suspend the brushes as shown or the bristles permanently bend as they soften and settle into the bottom of the jar.
A good, well-maintained paint brush can be used several times, over a period of several years. For example, all the paint work I have done in the last seven years was done with the same paint brush! However, it is less advisable to reuse a paint roller.
You can simply use washing-up liquid for emulsion paints or white spirits for oil-based or gloss paints. If you don't have white spirits lying around just use some vinegar. Using vinegar might take longer and it might stink the place up, but it works just as well and can be a fair bit cheaper.
A quality roller should last up to 5 cycles before shedding. You can reuse it without affecting the quality of the paint application and over time it will end up paying for itself.
The best way to store paint brushes for a period of several hours or more is by wrapping the entire head of the brush in plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Create a tight seal at the neck of the brush using masking tape, and store for up to two days in a cool area of the home or in your freezer.
If your paintbrushes are hard because you haven't used them in a while, you can use various household items to soften them up. Try applying a pea-sized amount of baby lotion or hand lotion to the bristles. Then, bend the brush back and forth on your hand so the bristles get coated in lotion up to the handle.
Take the roller to the sink or a bucket and fill it with warm soapy water. Ideally, you will be next to a clean, running water source so you can rinse the rollers. Use the soapy water to wash the rollers, regularly remove the roller and run it under the clean water to clear the paint filled water.
Solvents that Remove Dried Latex Paint
Alcohol is a well-known cleaning agent for dried latex paint. The solvents in commercial latex paint removers are various types of alcohols, but you can use isopropyl -- or rubbing -- alcohol as well as denatured alcohol from the paint store.
Wash it in warm soapy water in a utility sink or bucket.
Once the paint has been removed from the brush, warm soapy water will clean the brush of the solvent and remaining paint.