How to Get Already-Dried Paint Off a Paint Roller

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Paint thinner
Adequate ventilation
Eye protection

A good paint roller is a great tool to have, so when one of yours has been improperly stored and is caked with dried on paint, it can be tough to part with it. Thankfully, there are steps you can follow to remove the dried paint, clean the roller, and restore it for reuse.

Step 1 - Know Your Paint

Be aware of the properties of the dried paint. Different paints respond well to different cleaning methods, which can be discovered by consulting with the manufacturer.

Additionally, when it comes to the cleanup and disposal of used paint, certain types, such as alkyd paint, require special care. In some areas, alkyd paints are considered hazardous and must be disposed of via proper hazardous waste collection.

Step 2 - Disassemble

Many rollers are capable of being broken apart by design. This is helpful since the absorbent, paint-soaked roller will obviously need special attention and a different cleaning method than the plastic, wood, or metal pieces that make up the handle.

Step 3 - Soak the Roller

Begin by soaking just the roller. Many times you will be able to get the paint off easily with only half an hour or so of soaking in soap and water. Once it has soaked, use a towel to roll it out a few times, and then check to see if there's any paint or moisture remaining.

Step 4 - Let It Dry

Even when all of the paint is gone, drying the roller is important. You wouldn't want to save the tool for reuse only to roll mold out onto your walls that next time you paint.

Step 5 - Paint Thinner

While this method is bound to work, you may want to use it only as a last resort. Whenever you are using paint thinner, move outdoors, as the smell is strong and can be dangerous if you inhale it for too long. Use a little bit of paint thinner on a paper plate or even a rag and cover the roller with it. Then rinse the rollers off and let them dry thoroughly.

Step 6 – Keep Them Clean

Now that you have them cleaned off, make sure that you keep them that way. When not being used, the clean roller should be dried and wrapped in heavy paper or newspaper for storage. During future uses, clean off the brushes or soak them immediately after each use to avoid any further hassles with dried, caked-on paint.