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How to Store Oil-Based Paint Brushes?

Oil-based paint is a wonderful medium to work with. It is known for how long-lasting it is, but that doesn’t mean that your brushes can last forever. As soon as you’re done using them, the first thing you should do is clean them. If you don’t, then dirt and other particles from your brush will go into the paint and ruin it, reducing its lifespan.

Oil-based paintbrushes have a tendency to dry out quickly in the wrong type of storage. This blog post is a guide on how to store oil-based paint brushes so they don’t dry out and can be used for years to come. 

Paint Brushes for Oil-based Paint

Natural China-bristle (hog hair) paintbrushes

These are usually used for oil-based paints. These are ideally suited to paint smooth surfaces with oil-based paint, as they are soft and supple.

China-bristle paint brushes

These are also suited to oil paints as they have a stiffer bristle which is more durable and will not bend easily.

Synthetic brushes 

These are usually clogged up quicker than natural ones, so if you want clean surfaces with each stroke of the brush, synthetic bristles may not be for you.  

Oil-based paint also dries slowly on the brush bristles so an oil-based paint will clog a natural or synthetic bristle brush up within a couple of strokes.

Why It is Important to Store Oil-based Paint Brushes?

Oil-based paintbrushes should be cleaned and stored because:

  • It maintains the brush in good condition (shape and size) and makes it ready for use when needed.
  • It keeps bristles from forming into unsightly shapes that may not hold paint.
  • It minimizes the chances of mildew formation.
  • It protects bristles from breakage and keeps them usable. 
  • It prepares the paints used with the brush to be stable.

Storing Paint Brushes for Oil-based Paints


  1. Lay down some absorbent paper such as old newspapers under the wet paintbrush to catch any drips.
  2. Wash the brush in warm water with household dishwashing liquid or baby shampoo to break down the oil paint. Rinse until you see clear water running from the bristles.
  3. Lay the brush on its side and gently squeeze out the excess water.  
  4. Shake the bristles from side to side, sweeping them up from underneath with your free hand, then lay the paintbrush on its side in a jar of water for a few minutes. This will help to keep the hairs separated and straight.
  5. Repeat step 3 until all traces of color have been removed from the brush, then gently squeeze out excess water again.
  6. Lay the paintbrush on its side in a jar of clean water until you are ready to use it.


  1. Store clean brushes between layers of newspaper, with the bristles facing down so that the paint doesn’t leach onto the newspaper.
  2. Make sure to cover as much of the bristles as you can without ripping the paper towel. Then, twist a rubber band around the brush to seal it. If possible, store upright, between layers of newspaper, or in a plastic container rinsed with water.
  3. Wet paint brushes can be wrapped in wax paper, then stored upright in a plastic bag or container that has been rinsed out with water.
  4. Some painters suggest storing wet paint brushes in heavy-duty aluminum foil. To seal, roll one end of the foil over the other and twist the ends. Rinse out your plastic bag or container with water after you have stored your brushes upright.

What to do after Storing the Brushes?

Now that your brushes are stored, you want to make sure they stay like that until the next time you use them. This means that you need to keep them in a cool and dry place where nothing can drip into them or cover them up, which would ruin their shape.

On a final note, make sure to use your brushes within a few months of storing them. Otherwise, the paint will begin to thicken or even go bad, ruining your next project!

Useful Tips and Tricks about How to Store Oil-Based Paint Brushes

  • It is best to dry brushes horizontally or suspended vertically with tips facing down. Leaving the hair ends up for too long will cause excess moisture to run into the ferrule, causing it to swell and chip.
  • Never soak brushes overnight with the brush resting on its end. This will permanently change the shape of the brush by bending the hairs or bristles. The wooden handle may also swell, crack and become loose.
  • Brushes should be stored upright in a ventilated area. The brush hairs need to breathe or they may eventually mold.
  • Keep brushes out of direct sunlight. Keep them away from moth-infested environments.
  • To prevent cracking or loosening of the ferrule, keep the handles dry.


Q:1 How often should I clean my brushes?

Ans: Clean them after eight hours of painting, or immediately if you let them sit for some time before cleaning.

Q:2 What is the finest way to store my brushes?

Ans: Disinfect your brush using odorless paint thinner. After cleaning, wrap them in paper towels and aluminum foil. Then store them in a resealable plastic bag.

Q:3 Is it better to clean my brushes with water or solvent?

Ans: Never use solvents because they can damage the brush. Use odorless paint thinner instead.

Q:4 Can I use soap to clean my brushes?

Ans: Yes, but make sure it is thoroughly rinsed off with water before using them again to avoid any possible allergic reaction.


Artists need to be able to maintain the quality of their paintbrushes so that they can produce high-quality art. By taking care of the paintbrushes, you will have better pieces of art to create. Also, you won’t have to purchase new brushes as often because your current ones won’t be ruined.

These are just some quick tips on how to take care of and store your paintbrushes! Now that you know these tricks to store the brushes, you will be able to create more beautiful pieces of art!

How to Store Oil-Based Paint Brushes?

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