Cleaning a paintbrush

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Always wash brushes and paint rollers in a separate container. Do not wash paint supplies under a tap or running water. Do not pour the washing water down the drain. 

It is a good idea to wash your paint supplies right after using them. If you are going to continue painting the next day, put the tools in a plastic bag and close it tightly. This saves you from washing them needlessly.

Check the label of the product you are using for hazardous properties, such as the risk of spontaneous combustion (e.g. linseed oil).

Video: How to remove water-borne paint from a brush

  1. Wipe the excess paint off the brush or other tool on the rim of a paint can or a newspaper, for example.
  2. Soak the brush in a separate container. Use water or paint brush cleaner for the soak.
  3.  After soaking the brush, wipe the remaining paint on a paper towel or a newspaper. Then you can wash the brush under running water.
  4. Let the remaining paint form a precipitate at the bottom of the container. When the precipitate has separated from the water, you can pour the water down the drain. Do not pour brush cleaner down the drain.
  5. Let the precipitate dry and sort it as mixed waste.
  6. Wet precipitate and brush cleaner must be placed in a closed container and sorted as hazardous waste.
  7. Remember to label the contents of the container. If the brush cleaner is clear and separated from the paint, it can also be reused.

How to remove solvent-borne paint from a brush

  1. Wipe the excess paint off the brush or other tool on the rim of a paint can or a newspaper, for example.
  2. Pour some cleaning product (solvent) into a separate container and soak the tool in it.
  3. After soaking the brush, wipe the remaining paint on a paper towel or a newspaper. Allow the tool to dry after cleaning it with thinner.
  4. Let the remaining paint form a precipitate at the bottom of the container.
  5. If the solvent is clear and separated from the paint, it can be reused. Do not pour solvent waste down the drain!
  6. The precipitate and unneeded solvent must be placed in a closed container and sorted as hazardous waste. Remember to label the contents of the container.

Disposing of paint supplies

Unusable, dried and hardened paint supplies can be disposed of as mixed waste. A dry paint roller can be sorted as mixed waste, but a wet one is considered hazardous waste.

Using wood oil, linseed oil or varnish

Most wood oils are natural products. However, the oils may contain solvent, which must be sorted as hazardous waste. Check the product label for the composition.

Rags with oil in them can catch fire when the oxygen in the air reacts with the oil. Spontaneous combustion can occur even after several hours.  Rags with wood oil in them should be wetted with water and stored in a closed container or bag before disposal. You can also straighten the rags on a non-flammable surface and let them dry, preferably outdoors in an open space. Wetted rags must be taken to a hazardous waste collection point in a closed container. Remember to label the contents of the container.

Source: instructions by Väriteollisuusyhdistys