Tippy Top Menu

check out our store

Clean A Paint Brush Using Very Little Thinner – “The 1/8th Inch Method”

I want to show you how I clean a paint brush. When I was younger I wasted a lot of paint thinner cleaning my paint brushes. I used to fill up a container with way more thinner than I needed and then swish my brushes around a few times. I did that repeatedly and I know I wasted gallons of thinner over the years. I finally realized that it’s not necessary to use that much thinner and now use what I call “The 1/8th Inch Method” for cleaning my brushes. I use a quart tub, usually from a yogurt container or other food contains and I pour in 1/8th inch of thinner and begin the process of cleaning the brush.

My Purdy brand paint brush has lasted me over ten years.


AskWoodMan’s Supplies: How To Clean A Paint Brush

Using this method is a win, win, win, win.
You save money twice: Buy fewer paint brushes. Buy less paint thinner.
You help the environment twice: Using less thinner means less volatile compounds released in the air. Disposing of your old thinner at hazardous waste facility ensures that it won’t contaminate the earth.

askwoodman-paint-brushSUPPLIES TO CLEAN A PAINT BRUSH

You will need eight items before you begin.

1.    Rubber gloves
2.    Wire Brush
3.    Safety Glasses
4.    Funnel
5.    Unused Paint Thinner
6.    Used Paint Thinner container
7.    Quart Container
8.    Scrubbing Tub

  • Gloves & Glasses: Protect your eyes and your hands before you begin. Rubber gloves and safety glasses will only set you back a couple bucks. You don’t need those toxic chemicals entering your skin or burning your eyes.
  • Used Can of Paint Thinner: You don’t want to throw old thinner down the drain or on the ground. It must be disposed of properly. Check the internet for a household hazardous waste recycling center in your area. These are almost always free to drop off small quantities.
  • A cheap wire brush: Stainless steel are the best, they are a little softer and they don’t rust. Painting supply store sell special wire brushes for this. Stainless steel brushes are a common tool used in the welding trades and are available at all welding supply stores and usually very inexpensive. (Someone also made the comment that you can use barbeque brushes as well.)
  • Plastic stuff:  You should be able to find old tupperware around your house without lids, or some old yogurt or other food containers to use. You’ll also need a funnel. I use a plastic one that I got at the grocery store for a dollar.

WATCH VIDEO: How To Clean A Paint Brush



1. Put your gloves and your glasses on and pour 1/8th of an inch of clean, unused thinner into a plastic quart container. Bend the bristles back and forth (see video) for full thinner penetration.
2. Then put the paint brush in your scrubbing tub and comb through the bristles with your wire brush. Then using your hands, bend back the brush carefully when finished to force out as much dirty thinner as possible.
3. Pour thinner from the quart container and scrubbing tub using the funnel back into your used thinner recovery container.
4. Repeat as necessary until your working thinner is clean to your satisfaction.
5. Put the brush back in the original Purdy brush cover. These are very well made and intended to preserve and store your brush.

Owning a good paint brush will save you time and money and should be a pleasure to use. Rather than buying a cheap brush for $5 or less (or even worse a chip brush) whenever you need one and then throwing it away, I recommend spending a few more dollars on a good brush. I use and highly recommend Purdy paint brushes. You can buy a good Purdy brush for about $15 and if you take care of it you will enjoy it for years. Use “The 1/8th Inch Method” to clean a paint brush and your brush should last you for years. I have had my Purdy brush for over 10 years now and it’s still in excellent condition.


Visit Purdy’s YouTube Channel to see their version of “How To Clean A Paint Brush” after using water-based paints.


One Response to Clean A Paint Brush Using Very Little Thinner – “The 1/8th Inch Method”

  1. Joe October 29, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    Cleaning brushes just tried it it works great ???????? ,Thanks for the tip . Joe?

Leave a Reply