Tips for Reusing Paint Tools


Tool Tips

You wouldn't throw away a screwdriver after you use it, so why throw away your painting tools?

Good painting tools can be reused many times —saving money and time spent shopping for new tools, as well as helping the environment by generating less waste.

  • Follow the directions on the paint label for tools used.
  • Applying the excess to cardboard or newspaper or carefully scraping the tool should remove excess paint.



  • With latex paint, partially fill a sink with warm water and roll the applicator back and forth. You can also remove paint in a bucket of water. If necessary, use detergent with the water to remove difficult paint. Rinse the roller until the water is clear. Let dry.
  • For oil-based paint, roll the applicator in a paint tray containing mineral spirits or paint thinner. Then wash the roller in soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and let dry.
  • Spin out the excess moisture, and place rollers into clean plastic (food storage bags work great).


Paint Brushes

  • Remove most of the excess latex paint in a bucket or container while the paint is still wet. It is much more difficult to remove dried paint with soap and water. Wash off the remaining paint under running water.
  • Oil-based paint should be removed in a bucket or container with mineral spirits, rinsed in tap water and then washed with soapy water. Rinse once more. Caution: Rags, steel wool, sanding dust or waste soaked with oil-based products may spontaneously catch fire if improperly discarded. Immediately after each use, place rags, steel wool, sanding dust or waste in a sealed, water-filled metal container.
  • Moist paintbrushes can be wrapped in wax paper and sealed with a rubber band or aluminum foil to retain their shape. Hang the brush upside down to maintain its shape.

Locate a store
Retail Locator
See How-To Videos
Watch a project from start to finish.
Watch Videos