How do you clean brushes after oil-painting?

Old 12-14-05, 08:11 AM
Aya is offline
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 23
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
How do you clean brushes after oil-painting?

We accidentally got a can of oil-based paint instead of latex for our bathroom, but decided to use it anyway, since it will probably hold up better in there in the long run. But we've never used oil-based (alkyl enamel, the label says) paint before and all we know about cleaning up is what was on the can's label.

We bought a thing of mineral spirits, and my husband has the brushes soaking on that in a plastic container. I told him he should keep an eye on the plastic and look for a glass jar instead because the solvents in the mineral spirits might eat through the plastic. I only assumed this since we have organic solvents at work that have dissolved plastics when spilled. Back to the jar in a minute.....

We have no idea how to actually clean the brushes and roller though. After soaking for a few hours in MS, they still have paint on them, With water-based paint, we just flushed them with water in the sink until the water ran clear. Obviously, this isn't an option for mineral spirits.

So, once we are done with the paint-laiden mineral spirits, how do we dispose of it? I should add that hubby was absolutely against the idea of using oil-based paint ever because of the clean-up and mess involved. So, needless to say, he's not very happy about having to use it this time.
Old 12-14-05, 09:23 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Cape Cod
Posts: 4,320
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The back of the paint can should say what solvent/thinner to use for clean-up

As for cleaning out the brushes, I use a comb, brush, and spinner
This way I use the least amount of solvent/thinner

I also use this system for latex

I'm not sure it's worth the investment for this one brush, but that's how I do it

You'll have to check your local regs about disposal
In some places (were I am is one) the proper way is to flush it
Though I use too much to flush, I keep it till Haz/Mat day at the Waste Transfer Station
Old 12-14-05, 09:49 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 48,072
Received 398 Votes on 354 Posts
The mineral spirits should be ok in the plastic [maybe not long term]. The amount of thinner required to wash a roller cover usually exceeds the price of the roller. To wash a brush you will need to work the thinner through the brush and each time you get it as clean as the thinner will allow, start again with clean thinner. It usually takes about 3-4 rinses.

Since you now have oil base on the wall, when you repaint you will need to either use oil again or first prime with a solvent based primer.
Old 12-27-06, 08:24 PM
Terry Toolman's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: usa
Posts: 63
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I believe you can paint latex over oil base paint without any problem...but you can not paint oil over latex without first priming.
Old 12-28-06, 05:57 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 48,072
Received 398 Votes on 354 Posts
Interior oil base paint can be applied over interior latex with no problems, at times it is preferable to do it that way. Applying latex over interior oil can lead to adhesion problems so a solvent based primer is recomended.

Exterior is a different story. While it is best to stay with the same type of paint, latex can be applied over weathered oil base. I wouldn't recomend applying oil base over exterior latex.
Old 12-28-06, 06:19 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,630
Received 98 Votes on 86 Posts
Especially if you don't plan on using anything other than latex after this, might be best just to pitch the brush and roller cover.
Old 12-28-06, 07:16 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 296
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Pitch the cover, and the brush. You won't be able to use them in latex anyways because of the oils left in them.

You can either open the can up and let the thinner evaporate, or simply store it until a hazmat disposal day in your town.

If you have left over paint, add kitty litter (clumping kind) and mix until its basically a brick. Let dry for a week or two and then throw in trash. If it is DRY it is NOT hazmat anymore.

You can paint latex over the oil after about 30 days. Scuff sand first, and even then priming would be best. Wait the 30 days so the paint can out-gas or it will potentially cause your much faster curing latex to blister off.

Good luck!
Old 12-28-06, 08:30 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 1,957
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
If you have used the best type of brush for oil paints it will be a natural bristle brush which cannot be used for latex.Natural bristles absorb water from the latex paint and become more or less unusable.If the brushes you bought are cheapies toss them however if you bought good brushes it's worth the effort to clean them.

Since paint thinner is sold in plastic jugs storing it in a similar container should not be an issue.Avoid containers such as milk jugs as that is a different type of material.

If you have space to keep left over thinner it's a handy thing to have around.It acts as a solvent or remover for many things,as a cleaner for certain surfaces and materials and even as charcoal lighter fluid.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title: