Oil paint can be dissolved with a solvent that causes the binders in the paint to break apart. It doesn't matter if the paint has already dried, because the solvent re-liquefies the paint during the process. Painters commonly use kerosene to clean their paintbrushes after painting, because the kerosene cleans the brush without damaging the bristles. Brushes cleaned with harsher solvents often lose their springiness. Kerosene can clean oil paint off other surfaces, too.
Things You'll Need
- 8-oz. glass cup
- Non-abrasive scrub pad
- Wire brush (optional)
Fill an 8-oz. glass cup with 4 oz. of kerosene.
Place the bristled end of the used paintbrush in the kerosene and let it soak for 24 hours. The kerosene will break down the oil paint during this time.
Fill an 8 oz.-cup half full of hot water and three drops of detergent. Rinse the brushes bristles in the cup by plunging the brush up and down. Thoroughly rinse the detergent out of the brush before reuse. The amount of water and detergent used may vary depending on how many and what size the brushes are.
Dip a non-abrasive scrub pad in kerosene.
Scrub the oil paint until it dissolves.
Clean up the area with soap and water.
Tips & Warnings
- Use a wire brush to help clean oil paint out of large house-painting paintbrushes. Do this after the brush has soaked in the kerosene.
- Keep kerosene away from open flames.
- Kerosene can cause eye and skin irritations.
- Avoid breathing kerosene vapors, they are toxic.
- Wear rubber gloves while scrubbing with kerosene.
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