How to Clean Dried Paint Brushes Latex? 9 Easy Steps

Once the brush dries with paint it becomes hard to clean. But since you are here you must be looking for answers to how to clean dried paint brushes latex.

Well, the gummy paint sticks to the brush hairs and dries. Consequently, the brush becomes crusty, and cleaning it becomes tricky. However, the good news is that latex paints are supposed to be water-based. Therefore, your paint brush can restore its previous condition if you just clean it with a little amount of soap and water.

Nonetheless, there are other many ways to clean dried and hard latex paint brushes. Let’s share the ideas we have gathered only for you.

1Scrape off any excess paint using a paint scraper or old credit card.
2Rinse the brush under running water to remove any remaining paint.
3Fill a container with warm water and add a few drops of dish soap.
4Swirl the brush in the soapy water for a few minutes to loosen any dried paint.
5Rinse the brush under running water again to remove the soap and paint.
6Repeat steps 3-5 if necessary until the brush is completely clean.
7Gently squeeze the bristles to remove any excess water.
8Reshape the bristles with your fingers and hang the brush to dry or lay it flat on a towel.
9Once the brush is completely dry, store it in its original packaging or in a brush holder to keep the bristles straight and protected.

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Removing Dried Latex Paint from Brush

How to Clean Dried Paint Brushes Latex

Initially, using soapy water can clean the brushes to some extent. But for the stubborn latex paint, taking other steps becomes necessary.

Do not throw the dried brushes yet as the cleaning process requires only a few steps. They are given below.

Required Materials

  • Solvent-based brush cleaner
  • Glass jar
  • Aluminum foil
  • Paintbrush comb
  • Soap
  • Warm water

These are some important tools, that you will need to be done with the job. Now let’s get to the steps.

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Step – 1: Select the Right Cleaner for Your Paint Brushes

This is the first and foremost thing to do to remove dried paint from both brushes and rollers. The cleaner works best on latex paint. Whether the bristles of the brush are natural or synthetic, the solvent-based cleaner can remove many types of paint from them.

However, for your information, there are also brush cleaners available in the market that are solvent-free. But unfortunately, not all solvent-free cleaners are suitable for cleaning natural brushes.

Therefore, it would be wiser, if you read out the label first to make sure the compound is suitable for your paintbrush. Thus, we suggest using a solvent-based cleaner for the brushes.

Step – 2: Take the Cleaner in a Glass Jar

Now, take some amount of the cleanser in a glass jar that will cover the bristles of the brush properly. Or make sure, the bristles are submerged. Such small jars are available at any local store. You can also use an empty pickle jar or jelly jar for this purpose.

Again, you can also use a metal can. But metal cans are not transparent. So, you will not be able to see the condition of your paint brush and cannot assume the cleaning progress. Hence, using a glass jar is better.

Step – 3: Hang the Brush in the Cleaner Upright

However, in this step, make sure you suspend the paintbrush in the cleanser without letting it touch the bottom. If the bristle remains that way while touching the bottom of the jar, it will misshape the bristle.

Thus, to suspend the brush, you can use a small wire across the jar top. Or, you can also try a clip to hang the brush.  

Step – 4: Leave the Brush in the Cleanser for Soaking

Now, the next step is to let the paintbrush soak in the cleaner overnight. To obtain the process, cover the opening of the jar properly by using foil paper. Make sure you leave no open space. This way the cleanser will not evaporate.

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Overnight soaking of the paintbrush will make the bristles soft gradually. If you feel the brush bristles are not soft enough yet, you can leave them for an entire day. Actually, the time depends on the amount of paint dried on the brush. The more the amount the more the bristle will take time to soften.

Step – 5: Comb the Bristle

When you are confirmed, the bristle of the brush has become soft and flexible, let it dry. Once the brush dries, comb the bristle using a paintbrush comb. It will separate excess paint from the bristle.

Step – 6: Soak the Brush Again

Again, let the brush soak for another hour. But make sure you take another clean jar with freshly poured cleaner for this purpose. Do not use the previous solution for this purpose. It will only ruin the brush. Hang the brush the same way as before in the cleaner.

Step – 7: Rinse the Brush

When you are done with step six, it is time to rinse the brush with the cleaning solution again. But this time you need to use your hands. Massage the brush bristles gently with your fingers. Then bend the bristles back and forth. It will lose the remaining latex paint.

Step – 8: Wash the brush in Soapy Water

Lastly, wash the brush in warm soapy water for the final cleaning. To make the solution, take warm water in a bowl and mix a small amount of dish detergent in it. After working the brush in soapy water, rinse it in fresh water. After rinsing, spin the brush to let the extra water remove.

Step – 9: Dry the Brush and Retain the Shape

Last but not least let the brush dry properly. When it finally dries, you can tie the bristle part with a string by covering it with thick paper. It will keep the shape of the brush bristles in order.

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So, this is a process for cleaning dried paint brushes latex by using a solvent-based cleaner.

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Other Compounds to Clean Dried Paint Brushes Latex

However, there are other materials that can be used for this purpose. In that case, the steps are all the same as we have just mentioned above. Nonetheless, the materials are,

  • Vinegar

You can soak the dried paint brush in vinegar for one hour or two until the bristles soften and bend. Gradually, it will loosen the paint component from the bristle. When it removes the paint, rinse the brush in fresh water.

  • Paint Thinner or Mineral Spirits

You can also use paint thinner to clean up the brush only when the paint is still wet in the bristles. Again, mineral spirits also work great to remove oil-based paints or stains.

However, if the paint dries then using acetone might help. Just swirl the brush bristles in the compound. And then lay it on a dry rag until the paint is removed.

  • Household Ammonia

Using household ammonia is also a great DIY paint cleaner for brushes. Moreover, the process is also the same.

  • Denatured Alcohol

You can use denatured alcohol as well for cleaning dried paint brushes latex. Alcohol is a great cleaner. It can clean both water and oil-based paint from paintbrushes. 

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What will dissolve dried latex paint?

There are many compounds available that can dissolve dried latex paint and we have already mentioned them. however, to be more specific, you can use denatured alcohol, isopropyl, or rubbing alcohol for this purpose. Some commercial cleansers that contain alcohol in them can also dissolve dried latex paint.

Can a dried paint brush be saved?

Of course! Soaking properly in a cleanser can revive your expensive paint brush. So, do not throw them away before giving the cleaning process a try.

Is it OK to clean latex paint brushes in the sink?

If the paint on the bristles is dried already then there is no point of cleaning them in the sink. In fact, it will be a waste of water and cause a gradual increase in the water bill. Moreover, it can cause plumbing issues as well due to the pouring of dirty paint. Thus, instead, soak the brush in a bowl of soapy water and then give the brush a rinse. 

What is the best cleaner for latex paint brushes?

Since latex paint is mostly water-based, using soapy water should be enough to clean the brushes. However, for dried paint brushes latex, follow the steps we have mentioned above.