How To Clean Oil Paint Brushes Without Paint Thinner?

You need to take care of your paintbrushes to ensure that they last as long as possible. The need here is to learn the steps to be followed after you figure out how to clean oil brushes without paint thinner. 

Undoubtedly, knowing how to clean oil paintbrushes is essential for any artist. The maintenance of your paintbrushes may seem overwhelming, but the benefits are worth it. When cleaning oil-based paint brushes, it is best if you avoid using paint thinner. This can ensure that they last for years to come.

Turpentine or another oil paint thinner has traditionally been used to clean oil paintbrushes. The system is effective but also has some drawbacks. It is not a good idea that you expose yourself to harsh and harmful chemicals frequently. 

In case you are, if you often get exposed to oil paint thinners, particularly when working in areas with inadequate ventilation, you are at moderate risk. Although some don’t mind this, others are seeking alternatives to cleaning their oil paintbrushes. Here are a few tips for cleaning brushes without chemicals or solvents that could harm your brush. 

Paint Thinners: What Is Their Real Purpose?

Everybody gets sick sometimes; this is normal. But, to begin with, you must understand what paint thinner is and how it works.

A substance not containing odor is a solvent, such as mineral spirit, which breaks up (i.e., dissolves) any binding agent present in the oil-based medium. With oil paint, there are two major components:

● An oil made from linseeds and sunflowers

● A component that provides color

● To put it simply, a thinner only separates the pigment from the oil carrier 

The Procedure 

#1: Remove Any Paint Leftovers with A Brush

Remove any excess paints by brushing them out. Placing the brush on top of a towel or a scrap of the canvas will help you achieve this. Wait until the last droplet of paint has fallen, then hold it in this position for a while.

#2: Let the Paintbrush Rest For A Few Moments

After removing any paint remnants in between the bristles, the brush needs to get proper rinsing. As far away from the body as possible, shake vigorously. Paint fresh clothes might be the last thing you want to do. Sometimes, you may have to reverse the process, which can be quite inconvenient.

#3: By Squeezing the Excess Paint, You Can Remove It

As a last resort, you must squeeze out any extra paints. During this step, you need to remove the last remaining paint droplets that may remain within the paint bristles. By wrapping the brush in a canvas or a cloth, you can accomplish this. 

Start at the ferrule and work your way through to the tip to squeeze all excess paint. This method effectively removes large amounts of paint that hide near the base of the brush hairs.

#4: Then, Dip the Brush in The Safflower Oil

Take some safflower oil to the nearest store after you have removed all excess paint. Brush the oil around the bristles of this paintbrush after dipping it in the oil. Leave the brush untouched for a considerable amount of time to achieve maximum effects. The ideal time to wait would be 30 minutes.

#5: Use an Oil-Soaked Brush

Paint with the brush that you have entirely soaked in the oil. You can use your scrap canvas or towel for this. You can accomplish this by removing any paint that has hardened on the bristles and adhered to them. You need to repeat this process more than once until all traces of the paint are entirely not visible. 

#6: Soap Can Solve Your Problem

Indeed, when you think of all the things you could use in your household, you may wonder why you should choose dish soap. When you wash dishes with dish soap, you get the same result as using paint thinner pigments and oils. It separates them just as it separates dirt and grime from utensils.

The two processes aren’t identical, however. Therefore, it suffices to draw parallels between the two processes with the above paragraph. 

Now, the major differences. First, the soaps don’t contain any solvents but remember that they include surfactants. If you are more scientifically inclined, then you may recall that surfactants lower the tension between water and detergent, allowing it to work effectively.

You will most likely observe, for instance, that when you sauté boiled vegetables, the oil that you add breaks up into little droplets as it cooks. This is because heat causes the water from the boiled vegetables to evaporate because of the oil-water interaction.

You can remove these oil droplets from the surface of the oil and water by applying dish soap to lower the surface tension.

#7: Put Soap and Water in The Sink

You need to remove the paint from rollers and brushes. Now that your paintbrush is this far along, it will be possible to wash it with soap and water. As a result, you should now wash your brush with soap and water. 

First, scrub the bristles of the brush on a hard surface after dipping it in dishwashing soap. The purpose of this is to make sure that the soap penetrates the brush completely before you introduce the water. 

You do not need to add any further soap after you rinse thoroughly so that any excess water can easily expel naturally. 

#8: Wash Several Times

It is necessary to repeat the washing several times for the best results. For this reason, wash the brush several times in soapy water. There is a common problem where your brush bristles are too dry and lifeless. 

You may wish to use a hair conditioner or fabric softener to soften the bristles and revive the brush itself to remedy this situation.

You should avoid removing paint frequently. The bristles weaken with every cycle for this reason. Also, tough detergents and intense effects can easily pull the bristles off the brushes. If and only if the exercise is necessary, then just do it.

Paint Thinner Alternatives Over the Long-Term

A paint thinner can be harmful to your health if you are using them for long periods. Fortunately, there are alternatives in the market. Linseed studio soap and oil of spike lavender are the most popular (and well-liked) products. 

You can benefit from the cleaning properties of paint thinner but will not experience the safety risks associated with thinner.

  • Studio Soap from Linseed

Oil paints use the same oil composition. While the product contains the harmful surfactant, it offers the benefit of cleaning through environmentally sustainable means. Those who do not use synthetic brushes will especially enjoy the cleaning action provided by this brush.

Compared with store-brand paint thinner, this product comes in at a premium price, but it is unlikely to splinter or split. In addition, because the bristles [natural bristles] and the thinner do not mix, you will not ruin your brush.

There are many online and offline storage options for Linseed Studio soap – make sure you do your research before making a purchase. It’s a relatively “rare” product, so some dealers charge a steep premium.

  • Lavender Oil from Spikes

Spike lavender oil goes down the drain just like any organic material. But this is just one of the many reasons why you should consider this oil. So, nothing to worry about there in terms of this oil.

Compared to turpentine, odorless mineral spirits, and other solvents which dissolve oil content themselves, you can extract the spike lavender oil from the lavender plant and function in the same manner.

When Dry Oil Paint Gets on Brushes, How Do You Get It Off?

By dipping the brush in mineral spirits, you can begin the cleaning process. Then, to help soften the paint, you can soak the brush in mineral spirits for a longer time. 

If any oil gets stuck stubbornly in the bristles, you need to wash the brush with hot soapy water and remove it with your fingers. Wash your hands with clean water after you have completed your painting and use the brush. 


Implementing all the above points at home is possible since they are simple and minimally resource-intensive, saving a good time for you. So, if you can implement them, you should not worry about your painting and the brush. To do a good job, you only need great patience.

Simply receiving the knowledge of the head is not sufficient. To accomplish your painting tasks, you cannot escape implementing the knowledge. Experts encourage you to share this information if you don’t have any impending construction work at the moment.

As a final note, it is essential to keep your brushes always clean to ensure their overall health and well-being. To avoid unnecessary delays, you should immediately do so after every exercise. Best wishes to you on your next painting job!

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