Clean-up procedures depend largely on the paint you use. Here are guidelines for cleaning up. To maximize your investment on painting tools, make sure to clean them right after use.

Latex Paints

  • Clean any spills before they dry with a paper towel dampened with water.
  • Clean brushes, rollers and other tools with soap and water.
  • After cleaning, flush spraying equipment with mineral spirits to prevent rusting. Follow manufacturer's safety recommendations when using mineral spirits.

Oil Alkyd Paints

  • Clean any spills before they dry with a paper towel dampened with mineral spirits or paint thinner.
  • Oil-based (alkyd) paint must be removed from tools with mineral spirits or paint thinner.
  • Pour the cleaning material into a clean bucket and rinse brushes and rollers well.
  • When done, allow the solids to settle out of the cleaner, then strain the liquid back into the original container for reuse.
  • Allow the settled solids to air-dry away from children, pets or open flames, then dispose of the container in the trash.
  • Brushes should be kept in their original wrapper or paper-wrapped in a manner that retains their original shape before storing.

Protect Your Paint Job

Wait at least two weeks before washing the newly painted surface. After that, clean with a mild household detergent and a soft cloth or sponge.

Tips to Protect the Environment

Try to buy only the amount of paint you need so there is little to dispose of when you complete your project. If you do have leftovers, follow these guidelines:

  • Save small amounts of leftover paint for future touch-ups. To keep it fresh, place a layer of plastic wrap over the mouth of the can before replacing the lid. Pound down the lid securely.
  • Check with your local waste collector to see if it accepts dried latex paint. If so, place the open can in an airy spot away from children and pets. When the paint is completely dry, put it in the trash.
  • Seal oil/alkyd paints in the can and store them safely away from heat sources until you can take them to an appropriate waste-disposal site, such as community paint/stain collection events where you can safely dispose of leftover paints.
  • Never pour paint, stain, or any other coating down a drain, into a storm sewer or anywhere else that might contaminate the environment.

See Also

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Clean Up

Learn how proper clean-up is an important part of finishing a painting project

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