How to Clean an Acrylic Paint Brush

Updated April 17, 2017

Acrylic Paint is water based. Unlike Oil Paints, there are no chemicals with harsh odours needed to remove the paint from the brush. Washing acrylic brushes, with any liquid soap and water will leave your brushes free of any paint residue thus prolonging the life of the brush. There are special soaps or cleansers sold in craft stores for cleaning the brushes, but plain soap and warm water will do just as well.

Clean the brushes as you paint. After you have finished painting an area with a specific colour, rinse the brush into the can of water. Swoosh it around, loosening the paint. Then take the brush, and place it handle down into the dry can. This will keep the brush bristles moist until you have time to actually wash the brushes.

Clean up the painting area when your painting session is over. Take all the used brushes to the sink and allow each of them, one by one, to run under warm water removing much of the paint from the brush. Use your fingers to slide down any paint caught in the Ferrule. If left to dry the bristles will break and be useless. Set the brushes aside for further and deeper cleaning.

Rinse your hands well to get rid of any any paint. Pour liquid detergent in the palm of your hand, and swoosh the brush bristles in a back and forth motion. This will 'palm wash', the brush. Repeat until the soapy suds are clean of paint. Test by brushing the wet brush onto a paper towel. If it shows no colour then the brush is clean.

Shape the brushes while they are still wet,by using your fingers. As you finish each brush,lay them flat on top of a clean paper towel to dry. When dried, stand them upright in a container ready for your next painting session.


Never keep brushes standing directly on bristles or they will bend and split. Acrylic paint dries fast. Be careful to not leave any paint under the ferrule as it will become lo


Do not interchange brushes with various paints.

Things You'll Need

  • Brush cleaner and restorer
  • Container for water
  • Pink Soap (found in craft Stores)(optional)
  • Liquid Hand Dish washing detergent
  • Paper towels
  • 2 washed orange juice tins for rinsing brushes
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About the Author

Brooklyn-born Sondra Crane started writing at an early age and never stopped. She wrote Along Life's Path, her blog and a poetic glimpse into her life. She is a college graduate, piano teacher, classical pianist, copy editor, columnist and now a freelance writer. She has been interviewed in "The New York Times," [Orlando Sentinel," "Maclean's" magazine and in a radio interview by "Growing Bolder."