When choosing oil brushes be sure to get good, quality brushes. Despite the cost, they will stand up better and give you many more years of use as long as you follow a few basic care and cleaning tips.
Brand Name Cleaning Solutions
Of course there are lots of expensive cleaning solutions sold in the art stores but in all honesty you don’t need to spend your life’s savings to keep your brushes in good condition. Don’t be afraid to experiment with other, less costly, methods of cleaning brushes for something that works well for you.
Mineral or Petroleum Spirits
One method of cleaning your brushes is to soak the brushes in a solution of mineral spirits over night. Wipe the brushes clean with a paper towel in the morning. One thing to keep in mind when using mineral spirits is that this is a petroleum solvent, not only poisonous, but also highly flammable and should be used with care.
A much less abrasive alternative to the mineral spirits is unscented generic baby oil. If you can’t find an unscented oil, the scented oil could be used as well, but it does, of course, scent the brushes. You can knock off any access oil on container set aside for this, then clean the paint off with a soft cloth or paper towel.
For the really struggling artist, any household vegetable oil will do the job. Simply dip the brush in the oil and wipe out the paint with a paper towel. Repeat until the paint is gone. Shape the brush into the nice puff or blade shape it was designed and stroe cleaned brushes in a container, brush head up.
After the Oils
Rinse the excess oils out of the cleaned brushes before using the next time with a gentle soap and water. If you prefer, you can with a generic brand oil soap. It is best to mix the oil soap with water using one part soap and one part water. Run the brush under clear warm water to get out the soap.
Don’t Mix Your Mediums
One last thing for the artist who works in several mediums. Choose different brushes for each of the mediums you are working in. Do not use your water paint brushes for oils. Water and oil don’t mix, not in a lake and not in art.
Finally, proper care of your brushes will ensure that they will be ready and waiting for you for many years to come.