How to Clean Oil-Based Paint from Brushes and Rollers

Several scrapers and paint brushes with paint on them
What You'll Need
Old pan
Paint thinner
Paper towels
Eye protection

Brushes used for oil-based paint are more difficult to clean than those used for latex paints that only require water. Oil-based paint is necessary for some projects, but you don't want to throw out those expensive brushes and paint rollers when you’re done. To clean them so you can reuse them again and again, follow these cleaning steps.

Prepare for Cleaning

Take your brushes and rollers outside. The paint thinner is toxic, and you will need good ventilation to avoid inhaling fumes. Place the rollers in the pan and the paintbrushes in the bucket in an area that will not be bothered by children or pets. You will then add paint thinner to the bucket and pan.

container of paint thinner

Pour the Paint Thinner

Carefully pour the paint thinner into the bucket to cover the paintbrush bristles. Pour enough in the pan to cover the rollers. You will allow this to sit for several hours or overnight. The oil-based paint will come off the brushes and rollers and settle on the bottom of the container.

Check Your Progress

When you return later, swish the brushes and rollers around in the paint thinner. Be careful not to kick up the oil-based paint settled in the bottoms of the bucket and pan. Swing the brushes and rollers gently side to side to remove excess paint thinner. Set the brushes and rollers on the newspaper and dab them with paper towels to remove excess liquids.

Allow them to air dry. If all of the oil-based paint is not removed, you will have to repeat this process until you remove all the paint.