You may know that I am a stickler for good preparation and workmanship and this is most certainly the case with one of our most valuable tools – the humble paintbrush.
Brushes should be cleaned immediately after you have stopped painting. If possible wipe as much excess paint from the brush onto rags or newspaper.
Some decorators leave their brushes in a bucket of cold water. By far the better method for brushes which have been using water-based paints is to pop them under a tap running slightly warm. Ideally add a little Fairy Liquid or similar.
If you have been using oil based paints, put on a pair of household rubber gloves and pour some white spirit into a paint kettle or bowl. Dip the brush in and work the white spirit into the bristles well. Then repeat in clean white spirit until the liquid remains fairly clear.
You only need a small amount of white spirit in the bowl or kettle, but remember white spirit is considerably cheaper than good paint brushes. When the brush is thoroughly clean, replace the white spirit with hot, soapy water, work the bristles thoroughly and rinse out under a warm tap.
A final useful tip is to wrap your cleaned brush in a paper towel laid flat overnight. Before starting to paint on the following day, give it a quick flick to remove any surplus water. The bristles should be nicely moist and ready for dunking and charging with your paint.
If it the brush has dried out, dunk your bristles in water and flick out before dipping in paint so they are moist but not sodden.