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Anyone out there know how to restore a dried out, hard as a brick paintbrush, before my husband finds out? ? Answered



Hello, Jand. Hope am not too late with my answer. Try heating it up it in a vinegar/water mix [almost "boiling" it]. You will need to do it several times [boil, rinse, wipe, boil, rinse, wipe, boil,... with some knocking and shaking in the process...]. 
I also leave my brushes in a glass with water and a bit of vinegar for a night, after [acrylic] painting; just make sure it's not too much water, just enough to cover the bristles, but not the metal part.

Paintbrushes generally aren't all that expensive. While I believe in reusing them, that's partly because I simply consider it good practice to respect and care for my tools; that's part of being a craftsman.

Unless this was a particularly special paintbrush -- family heirloom, or top-of-the-line hard-to-replace item -- I'd suggest you take this as a learning experience and replace it.  Admit the mistake and ask for advice on how to avoid making it in the future.

Next time, clean it immediately when you're done. Or at the very least seal it into a zip-lock bag or toss it into a small container of the appropriate solvent and wrap plastic over that, either of which will keep it from drying out before you can deal with it properly. I've used the sealed-bag trick to get several days worth of painting out of a brush before cleaning it. Solvent will stretch it more or less indefinitely, until the solvent boils off. Of course you do need to clean it thoroughly before using it to apply something different!


8 years ago

 Thx for the input.  I suspected I would have to fess up but I appreciate your tip about keeping the container of water nearby for the future.  I have surely learned my lesson about leaving the brush out too long before cleaning. 

.  'Fess up and then go buy a new brush. Unless it's a high-quality brush, it will cost more to restore it than what a new one costs. If it was a high-quality brush, it will never be the same.
.  If it is a water-based paint, it might be worth trying soaking in hot water for a day or two.

"Paintbrush restorer" or "Paint-stripper", or just replace the brush.


1) Buy a new one.
2) Secretly switch it with the destroyed one.
3) Also surreptitiously, throw the destroyed one away.

This advice also works for dead pets, "dried out, hard as a brick" etc., but it is harder to find a perfect, or merely convincing,  replacement for the old one.