Caring for Your Applicators

Tips for cleaning and extending the life of your applicators

An easy way to save money is to extend the life of your brushes and roller covers. With proper cleaning and storage, a good roller cover can last you multiple jobs, and a good brush can perform at a high level for years.

“A well-maintained brush will not only have longevity, but it will also continue to give you excellent application and finish,” says Marcelo Orchon, Product Manager at Purdy.

Orchon offered these cleaning tips to extend the life of your applicators.

Cleaning Your Brushes

For water-based paints, simply place brushes in lukewarm water and massage the bristles or filaments with your hand to get rid of any excess paint. (Adding a little soap to the water can help soften the brush during this stage.) For oil-based paints or stains, refer to the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. Most will recommend using paint thinner—like turpentine or mineral spirits—in a pail with a liner to clean the brush.

Once cleaned, remove any paint or excess thinner remaining on the inside of the brush and straighten the bristles. Make sure not to use a wire brush. Orchon says the number one mistake he sees even professional painters make is using a wire brush to clean their brush’s bristles: “That will only destroy the filaments of your brush. So I wouldn’t do that—unless you want to keep buying new brushes.”

Instead, Orchon recommends using either a brush comb or the brush cleaner on the Purdy® Contractor Brush and Roller Cleaner. When finished, Orchon recommends drying the brush, using either your hands or a brush spinner to remove excess water.

Brushes often come in packaging known as a “keeper.” Once cleaned and dried, Orchon recommends storing brushes in their keeper for two reasons: “First, it absorbs any excess humidity. Second, it ensures the brush keeps its original shape.”

Cleaning Your Roller Covers

Rollers covers won’t last as long as a brush, and using them past their natural lifecycle can affect your finish appearance and productivity. However, they can be cleaned and reused on several subsequent projects or when coming back to a project the following day.

For proper cleaning, you’ll want to use the appropriate cleaner for the product. For water-based paints, use a Brush and Roller Cleaner under running water to remove excess paint, then dry it with a roller spinner and store it in its original packaging or a clean storage space.

Storing Your Applicators

Don’t throw your used brushes and rollers in a pile with the other supplies. Instead, keep them in a dry location to help them last longer.

A great way to do this may be the Purdy® Painter’s Storage Box, which features an 18” wide storage bin designed to hold wet applicators and prevent them from getting paint or moisture on anything else in the box.


Proper cleaning takes a little extra time at the end of the workday, but it’s worth it to preserve your investment in your equipment without sacrificing your standards of quality.

“Taking good care of your tools is an investment in your business. They will last longer and ensure you are always delivering an exceptional final appearance,” Orchon says.

For a quick tutorial on best cleaning practices, check out this video.