after recently looking for a subject on which to write my first instructable, i was both appalled and excited to find that no one had written anything on this same topic. it may seem very basic, but properly cleaning and storing paintbrushes will help you to get the desired results in your painting and other projects for as long as possible. and with the prices of quality brushes, wouldn't you want to get your money's worth?
soap ( preferably liquid soap)
storage for paintbrushes
Step 1: Prepare the Brush Bath
fill whatever container you're using to wash your brushes with warm water and soap. the warmer the water is the easier the paint and residues will wash out! i just use my sink because i don't have to clean it as well afterward.
Step 2: Start Cleaning!
if you have left the brush uncleaned for more than, heaven forbid, a few hours, you should start by 'bending the bristles' to keep them from sticking together while you try to clean them.
you should be able to just dip the brush into the water and swish it around. the more residue is on the brush, the more time you'll want to spend cleaning it. rub the wet brush on your palm as if you were painting it, or simply rub the bristles between two fingers. be careful to not rub too hard and pull bristles out!
if you have particularly dirty brushes you can pour some soap on them directly, then commence washing
rinse with fresh water
Step 3: ReShape
in this step you will be both drying and reshaping the brush. paintbrushes have certain shapes that give brushstrokes their variety of appearances. you want to preserve the shape to preserve the appearance of the stroke!
simply press the bristles between two fingers, squeezing out excess water and simultaneously returning it to it's original shape.
Step 4: Dry and Store UPRIGHT
now that your brushes are nice and clean, leave them in a container where they can dry completely and you can come back for them next time you need them! and don't just leave them shoved into a cup all lack-a-daisal - store them with the bristles upright to prevent them from bending out of shape! an upright brush is a happy brush
Step 5: Notes
not every brush is going to look like brand new every time you wash it. different materials are used for bristles, so some will show their age paintbrushes lose bristles, lose their shape and eventually you'll have to replace them. but hopefully now you know how to help them live long happy lives!