Storing brushes for a short and longer period of time: this is how you do it

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 13, 2022
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Keep brushes for a short time and keep paint brushes for a longer period of time.

You can store brushes in different ways. It depends on how long you want to keep the brushes.

I’ve always had my own method and it’s been good for me so far.

Saving paint brushes for a long time

Also partly due to the fact that as a painter I use a brush every day. For a do-it-yourselfer, storing brushes is completely different. This doesn’t mean you can’t do it like me.

There are several ways you can store your paintbrushes.

Which option is best for you depends on, among other things, how long you want to keep the brushes, but also what paint or varnish you have used with the brushes.

In this article you can read the different options for storing your paint brushes.

Nowadays you can also buy disposable brushes for one-time use. You have to make sure that you sand the bristles of the brush beforehand.

So sand over the hair with sandpaper so that you don’t get loose hairs in your paintwork later. I always do this when I buy a new brush.

If you use a brush and you want to reuse it the next day, it is best to put it away in cold water.

Another alternative is to wrap aluminum foil around it. If you are painting and you take a break, you put the brush in the paint.

Storing brushes in raw linseed oil

Long-term storage of brushes can be done in various ways. One way is to wrap the tassels in foil and make sure that it is well sealed airtight. You can store the brushes in the fridge or even in the freezer.

It is important that you seal it really well from air and oxygen. Wrap foil around it first and then a plastic bag with your tape around it, to make sure nothing can happen.

If you need the brush again, take the brush out of the freezer 1 day in advance. A second method is that you clean the brush completely with paint cleaner, so that the paint is completely removed from the brush.

After this, let the brush dry and store it in a dry area.

Read the article on cleaning brushes

I store brushes in raw linseed oil myself. I use an elongated container of Go paint or a paint box for this.

This is also for sale at the Action. See image below. Then I pour it three quarters full so that I stay just under the grid and top it up with some white spirit (about 5%).

If you store your brushes in this way, the bristles of the brushes will remain soft and your brushes will have a longer life.

Packing in aluminum foil

Another option is to wrap the brushes in aluminum foil, especially if you only want to keep them for a few days, because you will then move on. In this case it is not necessary to clean them first.

Simply wrap the foil around the end of the brush and then store it in an airtight bag. It is wise to stick some tape around the handle so that the foil does not shift.

Please note: this method of storage is only suitable for a maximum of two days.

Looking for ecological and sustainable brushes?

Storing paint brushes for a short period of time

Do you have to leave unexpectedly while painting? Even then you have to store the paint brushes properly. You can do this by wrapping them in aluminum, but another new option is by using the Brush saver. This is an elastic rubber cover where you insert the brush, and then turn the cover around the brush. The cover is secured by means of the elastic strap with holes and studs. This way you can always pack the brush tightly and airtight.

The paint does not adhere to the rubber and in addition, the cover is very easy to clean so that you can use it again and again. It can be used for both round and flat brushes and for a maximum duration of three consecutive months.

Cleaning paint brushes

If you want to use your brushes again later, you can easily clean them. It depends on what paint you used. Did you use turpentine-based paint? Then put a little diluted degreaser (check out these) in a jar. Then insert the brush and press it well against the sides, so that the degreaser penetrates the brush well. You then let this stand for two hours, after which you have to dry the brush with a cloth and store it in a dry place.

Did you use water-based paint? Then do the same only with warm water instead of degreaser. Again, dry the brush after two hours and then store it in a dry place.

If you have brushes with which you have applied oil, you can clean them with white spirit or special brush cleaner. When you use turpentine, it is best to rinse the brushes in a glass jar containing the turpentine. Then you dry them with a clean cloth, and then let them dry.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.