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Professional and amateur painters alike know the power of a good brush-cleaning solution. Especially if you have spent a fair amount of money on your brushes, the last thing you want is to ruin them with caked-on, drying paint that renders them ready for the trash. A good cleaning solution should be both thorough and gentle, properly removing all pigment from your brush’s bristles and leaving them soft and restored, ready to be used again. To help you choose the one that’s right for you, read about our five favorite brush cleaning solutions, below.
1. Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner & Restorer
This brush cleaner works wonders on dried-up paint, effectively breathing new life into brushes that you might have thought were beyond help. The solution is hard working yet low in vapor, with no chemicals that are harsh to your hands or to the environment. What’s more, it does not leave the oily residue that some other brush conditioners do, making it a one-stop solution for cleansing and reviving alike. The bottle contains 4 fluid ounces. Just one warning: Keep this solution off your brush handles, or it could damage their finish.
Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner & Restorer
2. General Pencil Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver
This is a less traditional brush cleaner than others, as it’s a solid soap rather than a liquid. It is designed to be used with water—just dip your brush in water, then swirl it around on the surface of the soap and work the solution into the bristles. This cleaner is a great option that purifies, moisturizes, and preserves your painting tools. And the big, 24-ounce tub will last you a long while.
General Pencil Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver
3. Speedball Pink Soap Brush Cleaner and Conditioner
It’s always welcome to find a nontoxic solution that works just as well as harsh brush cleaners, especially when children are involved. This brush cleaner is popular in the classroom for just that reason, causing no harm to little ones who may put their fingers in their mouths or rub their eyes with dirty hands. This solution, sold in a 12-ounce bottle, is free of chlorides, alkalis, phosphates, solvents, and alcohol. It is a cleaner as well as conditioner that will restore texture to bristles without the greasy after-feel that some others leave behind.
Speedball Pink Soap Brush Cleaner and Conditioner
4. Bristle Magic Paint Brush Cleaner
In a category that is often rife with chemicals, there is a great eco-friendly option that works just as hard. This brush cleaner, sold in a 4-ounce bottle, really works wonders in removing paint as well as conditioning and reviving. It is made from recycled ingredients and is nonflammable, nontoxic, and water soluble as well. The only downside is that it’s quite oily, which means that you have to thoroughly rinse your brushes after you’ve used the cleaner in order to remove all residue.
Bristle Magic Paint Brush Cleaner
5. Weber Odorless Turpenoid
While turpentine solutions often carry with them a strong chemical odor, this turpentine substitute is totally odorless yet just as effective at cleaning brushes and other painting tools. You can also use it to thin out your paints, and it will impart the same painting properties and drying time as turpentine itself. Note: Turpenoid is toxic and should not be used by, or around, children.
Weber Odorless Turpenoid