How to Clean Acrylic Paint Brushes? (EASY Guide!)

Ever faced the frustration of ruined paint brushes after a creative session? Discover the ultimate guide on how to clean acrylic paint brushes to keep them in pristine condition! Are you ready to extend the life of your favorite art tools? Read on!

How to Clean Acrylic Paint Brushes

Sometimes, I use acrylic paint brushes for my projects. They work really well! But when I first started woodworking, I didn’t know how to clean them. 

So, I asked some experts for help. They taught me so much thanks to the experience they had!

Now, after years of learning, I want to share with you the easiest way to clean acrylic paint brushes.

How to clean Acrylic paint brushes?

To clean acrylic paint brushes, wipe off excess paint, rinse in cold water, clean with mild soap, and rinse again. Lay brushes flat to dry. For dried paint, use specialized brush cleaners or rubbing alcohol. Avoid hot water and ensure immediate cleaning post-use to maintain bristle quality and shape.

But that’s just a quick snapshot!

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    In this article, I will explain how to clean acrylic paint brushes and the supplies you will need to clean acrylic paint brushes, with expert tips in detail.

    Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions as well.

    So, let’s get started. 

    Acrylic paint brushes
    Acrylic paint brushes

    Can You Clean Acrylic Paint Brushes?

    Yes of course. You can clean acrylic paint brushes using cold water, gentle soap, acrylic brush cleaner, or using solvent-based cleaners.

    I use acrylic paintbrushes for many projects and use different cleaning methods based on the situation. So, I got the experience.

    Cleaning the acrylic paint brush is essential because otherwise, the paint will dry on it and damage the brushes.

    The acrylic paint brush cleaning process is very simple. Therefore, you can study easily. 

    Benefits of cleaning Acrylic paint brushes
    Benefits of cleaning Acrylic paint brushes

    Supplies You Will Need to Clean Acrylic Paint Brushes 

    Before going into the cleaning process, you need to find the necessary supplies. 

    These supplies are essential for cleaning paintbrushes.

    Here is what you will need supplies:

    Cold water

    Acrylic brushes absorb more paint, so it’s important to use cold water to prevent drying too quickly.

    Did you know fact about cleaning Acrylic paint brushes
    Did you know fact about cleaning Acrylic paintbrushes

    Gentle Soap

    Gentle Soap is suitable for this. But gentle soap can affect brush bristles over time. So, gentle soap should be used sparingly.

    There are several types of soap that many people use for this.

    Loxley Brush Cleaner and Preserver

    Contained in a shallow plastic tub, this soap is a vegetable-based soap that works on most synthetic surfaces including oils, acrylics, watercolors, varnishes, and glazes. 

    This soap helps restore hardened brushes.

    Master’s Brush Cleaner and Preserver:

    This type of soap, which is contained in a plastic tub, is a good type of soap with high cleaning properties. 

    This is why it is a very popular cleaner. By applying this soap, it is possible to restore the brush to its original condition.

    This also works well on watercolors. Brush Cleaner and Preserver do not emit any harmful fumes or odors, so it is a safe type of soap suitable for use at home and in the classroom.

    Escoda Brush and Hand Soap

    A very mild, nourishing soap, Escoda is suitable for cleaning hands and brushes, but it will not remove dry acrylic paint and is suitable for removing wet paint.

    Due to the softness of this soap, it is used by many people to clean their hands.

    Acrylic Brush Cleaner (Recommended)

    If you need to get the best result you can use an acrylic brush cleaner. These brush cleaners have nourishing oils and moisturizers. 

    So, you can get a good finish ensuring your brushes stay in excellent condition.

    There are several types of soaps used to clean acrylic paint brushes, as well as acrylic brush cleaners.

    Zest It Acrylic Brush Cleaner and Reviver:

    Zest It Acrylic Brush Cleaner and Reviver is a solvent-based liquid cleaner known to many as a good paint remover. It is also great for removing dried paint from brushes.

    Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner:

    This is also a solvent-based cleaner. Like Zest It, it can be used to remove dried acrylic paint.

    Because it can be mixed with water, the solvent removes dry oil, alkyd, and acrylic paints from brushes.

    Brush Cleaning Accessories

    You need to use brush-cleaning accessories. So, you can effectively achieve results. 

    You can use a Jakar Brush Tub, an Aluminum Brush Washer, or various brush pots. 

    So, some brush cleaning accessories that you can use for this are given below.

    Jakar Brush Tub with Palette Lid and Artists Brush Tub:

    This device is suitable for storing and cleaning brushes. The tub consists of two parts which are used to clean the brushes.

    Aluminum Brush Washer:

    This device is constantly used to plant brushes. Equipped with a spiral handle and a tub-like section below, they can be soaked or dried.

    Solvent-Based Cleaners (For Dried Paint)

    Sometimes your brush has dried acrylic paint. Therefore, you need ammonia, window cleaner, or rubbing alcohol.


    You need to keep a towel and lay your brushes on while they dry horizontally.

    Palette or Mixing Surface

    Some paintbrushes have many paint excess. You need to palette or mixing surface to remove the paint excess. 

    Grab the above supplies from quality manufacturers and get ready for the brush cleaning process.

    How to clean Acrylic paint brushes
    How to clean Acrylic paint brushes

    How to Clean Acrylic Paint Brushes?

    There are simple steps you need to follow when cleaning acrylic paint brushes.

    I’m going to describe each step one by one in detail. Just keep reading!

    1. Remove Excess Paint

    The first step is to remove the excess paint in the brush. You can use a gentle rag or paper towel and wipe the acrylic paint brush these steps.

    Pressing too hard can harm the delicate bristles that brush. So, you should carefully these steps.

    2. Dissolve In Water

    After removing the excess paint, take a bowl of cold water soak it well, and rotate the brush around. Let the water enter all the fibers of the brush.

    This prevents the paint on the brush from drying quickly and allows for easy cleaning.

    3. Use Mild Soap

    Take some mild soap and apply it on your hand or a plate and apply it to the threads. Alternatively, dip the brush in soapy water and shake the bristles well.

    This step can loosen and easily remove even thick paint stuck to the brush, so this step is important.

    But frequent cleaning with mild soap can damage the fibers. Therefore, you should be careful and use it sparingly.

    4. Wash Thoroughly

    After the step of washing with soap, the brush should be washed well with running water. The reason is that when there is soapy water in the bristles of the brush, the brush tends to be destroyed quickly.

    Be careful not to get water into the ferrule when washing under running water. The ferrule is the metal part that connects the bristles of the brush to the brush handle. 

    It has the potential to be damaged when water gets deposited in it.

    5. Optional: Using Acrylic Brush Cleaner

    If you have an acrylic brush cleaner, you can use it. Can be used after watering. But follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use after applying water.

    These cleaners contain oils and moisturizers to maintain the quality and longevity of the brush.

    6. Horizontal Dry

    After all the above steps are done, the brush should be dried well. Otherwise, there is a possibility of damage to the bristles of the brush. 

    Take the towel you have and place the brush horizontally on it.

    By placing it vertically, there is a possibility of damage such as bending of the bristles. So always keep it horizontal.

    By following these simple steps, you can easily clean your acrylic paint brush, thus ensuring the durability and quality of your acrylic paint brush.

    Tip for cleaning Acrylic paint brushes
    Tip for cleaning Acrylic paint brushes

    What if you don’t like the method described above or you don’t have the necessary equipment? 

    Don’t worry! Let me introduce you to some alternative methods of cleaning acrylic brushes

    Alternative Methods for Cleaning Acrylic Paint Brushes

    In addition to the above-mentioned methods, there are several alternative methods that are used by many people to clean acrylic paint brushes.

    By using these methods, it is possible to clean acrylic paint brushes well. Below are some suitable methods for that. 

    Soaking In Solvents

    In some cases, the ink dries on the brush, so the drying should also be done to soften the paint.

    For this, many people soak the brush with dried ink in the solvent for a long time. That is, the brush is soaked in the solvent overnight.

    Solvents such as ammonia, window cleaner, or alcohol are commonly used for this. 

    Dedicated Brush Cleaners

    Another alternative method of cleaning acrylic paint brushes is to use brush cleaners. 

    There are brush cleaners specially designed for cleaning acrylic paint brushes you can purchase from local stores.

    Congrats folks! Now you know how to clean acrylic paint brushes properly to keep them for a long time with no damage.

    Tip for cleaning Acrylic paint brush
    Tip for cleaning Acrylic paint brush

    Now I’m going to tell you some tips that I practice for so long when cleaning acrylic paint brushes.

    Some of the below tips were collected from the experts and definelt they will make your cleaning process a lot easier.

    Just keep reading!

    Tips for Cleaning Acrylic Paint Brushes 

    Acrylic paintbrushes play a major role in the field of painting, so attention should be paid to the durability and maintenance of these brushes.

    Below are some tips to keep acrylic paint brushes in top condition.

    Act Quickly

    Acrylic paint brushes should be cleaned quickly after using them. That is, the brushes should be cleaned first before the paint dries. 

    There is a possibility that the brushes will be destroyed after the paint dries.

    Avoid Placing Brushes In Water

    You may find it easier to soak in the brush during breaks in your project. 

    But it can have unintended consequences in the long run, due to prolonged exposure to water.

    That is, there is a possibility of damage to the metal part with the fibers. 

    It affects the durability of the brush. Therefore, care should be taken about this.

    Minimizing Water Seepage Into The Ferrule

    Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure that water does not seep into the ferrule, as water seeping into the ferrule can cause the adhesive to melt, eventually leading to the cable coming off.

    Proper Disposal Of Paint Waste

    It is important to dispose of paint waste properly. It is important to do it in an environmentally friendly way because it is our responsibility to protect the environment.

    These tips can help you keep your brushes in better condition for longer.

    So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions.


    Can I use cold water to clean my acrylic paint brushes?

    Yes, cold water is highly recommended for cleaning acrylic paint brushes. It helps to effectively remove wet paint without causing the paint to set and harden on the bristles.

    Is it safe to clean acrylic paint brushes with dish soap?

    Absolutely, dish soap can be a handy cleaner for acrylic paint brushes, although it’s important to ensure it’s not too harsh on the bristles, to maintain their quality and durability.

    How do I remove dried paint from the brushes?

    Utilize a specialized brush cleaner like Chroma Incredible Brush Cleaner or rubbing alcohol to break down and remove the hardened paint, ensuring to moisturize the bristles afterward to prevent them from drying out.

    Can I leave my brushes to soak overnight when cleaning?

    It’s not advisable, as soaking brushes too long can cause the bristles to lose their shape and may also damage the ferrule, compromising the overall integrity of the brush.

    Is it okay to clean acrylic paint brushes in the sink?

    Avoid cleaning brushes in the sink to prevent paint debris from building up and potentially blocking the pipes; instead, use a separate container for cleaning.

    How should I dry my brushes after cleaning?

    Lay brushes flat on a clean towel or paper towel to dry; avoid leaving them upright as water can seep into the ferrule and loosen the glue holding the bristles.

    Can hand soap be used as an alternative to brush cleaner?

    Yes, hand soap can be employed in cleaning, but it might be slightly less effective compared to dish soap or specialized brush cleaners in removing stubborn paint residues.

    Is vinegar a good alternative for cleaning acrylic paint brushes?

    Vinegar can be used for cleaning acrylic brushes, offering a non-toxic option; however, ensure thorough rinsing to eliminate any residual vinegar.

    What precautions should I take to maintain the shape of my brushes?

    Avoid letting paint dry on the brush, prevent paint from getting into the ferrule, and don’t leave brushes bristle-side down in water or any cleaning solution to maintain their shape.

    Is there an environmental concern linked to cleaning acrylic paint brushes?

    Yes, many paint pigments, even those labeled “non-toxic”, can be problematic for wastewater treatment processes, so avoid rinsing brushes under running water and dispose of paint debris as solid waste.

    Did I cover all you wanted to know about: How to Clean Acrylic Paint Brushes

    In this article, I deeply discussed how to clean acrylic paint brushes using the right techniques including expert tips and tricks!

    Clean acrylic paint brushes with cold water and mild soap immediately after use. Avoid letting paint dry on brushes. For stubborn, dried paint, use specialized cleaners or rubbing alcohol. Always reshape and lay brushes flat to dry to maintain their quality. Avoid cleaning under running water to protect plumbing and the environment.

    Furthermore, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions as well.

    Hope you learned everything you wanted to know about how to clean acrylic paint brushes like a pro without missing anything.

    Now it’s your time to go through the mentioned methods again and again and select the one that suits you the most based on your condition.

    While you’re practicing, please don’t forget to provide feedback to help me improve this post based on your experience. All the best!

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    Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him! Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

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