Blame it on the paint or your brush; it's hard to escape from the reality of bristles getting hardened. Even if your creativity is striving to exhibit every bit of it, it's highly unlikely to let it bloom if the paintbrush is stiff as wood.
Cleaning the soft hair of the paintbrush after every painting session is what veteran artists may say, obligatory. Using the best paint brush cleaners for this purpose will help you in a couple of ways. One, it will keep the bristles as shining and soft as new, and two, it will actually, well, clean it. Yes, that was obvious.
So, which one out there is actually worth your bucks? Let's find out!
General Pencil Masters Brush
5 Out of 5
Paint Puck Brush Cleaner
5 Out of 5
Weber Odorless Turpenoid
5 Out of 5
Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner & Restorer
4.5 Out of 5
Sunnyside Paint Thinner
5 Out of 5
Top 10 Best Paint Brush Cleaner Reviews
What I did here is saved your time. You would have searched the internet, wasting your valuable time to locate the best brush cleaner ever. I have narrowed down the options to just 10. Thank me later, but let's hop in for now!
1. General Pencil Masters Brush Cleaner for Oil Paint
The General Pencil Company can be traced back to 1860, producing excellent quality painting items since. It has successfully kept its legend upright even after a hundred years and more.
Cleaning solutions for paintbrush is something that GPC may take pride in producing. If you're looking for a reliable scrubber, this is the one you may want to own right now.
This one works on different types of paint. Whether it's oil, acrylic, or watercolor - it can clean off every stain from the bristles quite impressively. The process is also a simple one. You just dip the brush inside the solution and rinse it in warm water.
If you have some old brushes that are being detained in the garage for a long time, it's time to bring those back. The GPC solution can do magic to these old, hardened oil paint brushes. It works exceptionally well in bringing back 'almost dead' bristles to life.
The best part of this solution is its toxin-free. Who wants to get sick using some chemicals for a long time? Nobody, for sure. That's why GPC has made this cleaner from all-natural material and harmless chemicals. One step towards healthy painting, right?
Who said chemicals should smell like chemicals? This one right here comes with a mesmerizing lemon-scented aroma! It makes your cleaning job more soothing to your nose, as well!
2. Paint Puck Brush Cleaner
If there were an award for value addition, I would blindly give it to Paint Puck Brush Cleaner. It's nothing like you've seen anything so far.
What do you want to call it? A cleaner? A brush holder? A mixer? I am kind of in a fix to name it. But you can get the picture. Well, it's basically a cleaner, but with a lot of functions to offer side by side.
If you are using any acrylic, oil, or any type of water-based paint, this one is a perfect fit for you. It works as a water-based cleaning solution that is suitable for such paint types.
The mechanism here is pretty much straightforward. You need to fill up the cup with the clean water and lock the top and the bottom of it with the two silicon heads the package comes with.
Once set up, you can just dip the brush inside the cup to clean it up. There are a number of puck nubs made from silicon at the bottom of it. You just rub the brush against the nubs to de-paint it. The paint simply dissolves in water without damaging the bristles at all.
When you pull the brush out, don't forget to squeeze the hairs against the squeezing lips on the top lip. It will make sure that you don't spill any water from the bristles. You can also use the bottom lid with separate space for keeping different colors to mix paints.
3. Weber Odorless Turpenoid
Endorsed by artists around the globe, the Turpenoid odorless is one of the most useful thin turpentine substitutes you can find in the market. It's one of the best, if not the best paint brush cleaner out there.
It's thin, it's clear, and it's impressively volatile. Soon after you apply it to the brush bristles, it will evaporate in no time, leaving a clean, clear, and soft brush behind.
The interesting part is, this one is completely odorless. Meaning, you don't need to hold on to your nostrils while using it, contrary to what most of us do while dealing with turpentine solutions.
Although it works as a great thinner, it needs to be applied according to its merit. The manufacturers recommend that you should use it up to 10% for the best results.
So, if you are looking for a functional cleaning solution for the oil, oil color, and varnishes you use on a regular basis, this is what you need to stop by. The highly-refined, water-clear mixture works perfectly to revive the hardened fur of the brush.
4. Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner & Restorer
As the name suggests, This one is a great performer when it comes to restoring old paintbrushes. The powerful cleansing ingredient it uses is enough to turn that old, hardened brush into an 'almost' new one! If a powerful brush cleaner for acrylic paint is what you’re looking for, just hold your horses, this one has got you covered!
Whether you are using a natural brush or a synthetic one, you can apply this solution to any of it. It works perfectly for both types and causes literally no damage to the bristles. Expect the least bending, hardening, and fur-fall from the brush.
Unlike most of the cleaning materials out there, this one comes clean as it doesn't leave any oily residue after being used. So, there will be no sticky feeling the next time you are using the bristles for painting.
One thing that may raise a few eyebrows is the vapor it emits. But that's not something to be worried about at all. The emission is on a marginal level and doesn't mean anything harmful. It's completely non-toxic and safe for our health.
Apply this on any paint - dried acrylic, alkyd, or oil color. It's going to work great on either of these paint types, no matter how hard you have gone over the brushes!
This useful solution comes with biodegradable characteristics that ensure no harm to the environment, as well. Plus, its non-flammable behavior lets you be at ease while working with it.
5. KRUD KUTTER PC326 PC32
If you are looking for something that you can use beyond just cleaning the brush-heads, say hello to the Krud Kutter cleaner.
It's basically a surface cleaner that prepares the surface that enables the paint to be better adhesive than normal. But at the same time, this one can be used to clean off paints from the bristles.
Apart from paint, if the brush is stained with something else, like grease, dirt, mildew, etc., this one will be a life-saver. With the advanced cleansing formula inside, the solution can rescue the brush from any kind of damage.
As it's a water-based oil paint brush cleaner, it dissolves in water in seconds. This makes it easy to clean paint and dirt from the brush. Just drip the bristles inside the water-mixed solution and pull out a clean, soft, and new paintbrush!
Whether you are regularly using varnish, lacquer, polyurethane, or any type of paint with the brush, it's not going to make any difference. The cleaning agent will get rid of all dirt and waste paint from it in no time.
For those of you who are concerned about the environment like I am, it's good news that this product is completely biodegradable. Leave it, throw it, and it gets dissolved inside the earth, becoming fertilizers!
6. Paint Puck Paint Brush Cleaner (3-Pack)
Remember Paint Puck? The 'puck nubs' cleaner cup? Well, if you liked that one, here's another for your surprise!
Unlike the previous model, this one leaves you a little bit of space to explore when it comes to the cup or jar. It doesn't come with any jar to hold water inside. Instead, it's up to you what type of jar or cup you are interested in using.
So basically, you can attach it to any liquid-jar. For this attachment purpose, the rubber has a suction hole beneath it. With a little bit of pressure, you can stick it to any even surface. Take a coffee mug, for example. Just attach the cleaner at the bottom of the mug, and you're ready to go!
The basic function of it is to clean off the paints from the brush. All you need to do is just rub the bristles against the uneven nubs on top of the cleaner. The multi-sized uneven nubs have a purpose for being like that.
It allows it to clean different sizes of brushes. Like if you are using a large brush, the large-sized nub will be cleaning it. On the other hand, the smaller nubs will be used to clean smaller brushes with less-dense bristles.
This silicon-made cleaner is completely dishwasher safe, and you can use it for quite a long time. The nubs don't get off the surface as these are perfectly attached to it.
7. Pink Soap 12-Ounce Brush Cleaner
I guess the female artists here will love this one! The pinkish Pink Soap artist paint brush cleaner is a soap-based cleaning agent that comes in an easy-to-use handy package. Not to mention, the pink design has its fan-base too!
So, what can you do with it? Cleaning any type of regular paint you use. Take, for example, oils, acrylics, and water-based paint. This one does an excellent job of restoring the normal condition of the brush after heavy use on the canvas. If you are looking for an acrylic paint brush cleaner that actually works, this one is your betting horse!
Being a soapy product, it may confuse some of the users about it being a bit sticky. But you can rest assured that's not the case here. It comes with a conditioner that actively works to reduce any greasy feeling it may produce.
That means, even if you are washing the brush with a soap-like chemical, it's not going to leave a sticky-trace behind. It feels similar to washing in warm water, in general.
Another matter for a sigh of relief is that the chemical doesn't come with any alkalis, chlorides, alcohol, or solvents. This says a lot about the chemical formation of this one. On top of that, the chemical does conform to ASTM D-4236 of the United States.
So, you can use it without being exposed to any health-hazard of any kind!
For those of you who sniff continuously for an aroma, you're in luck. This one comes with a pleasant smell that will leave you mesmerized after every wash!
8. Sunnyside Paint Thinner
What can work better for removing paint from a brush than a thinner? If you are a fan of thinning materials, then the Sunnyside Paint Thinner may catch your eyes immediately.
It's a perfect thinner for any type of paint - whether it's oil-based or not. Plus, it does work great on stains and varnishes, as well. So, if your brush head is terribly messed up with stains and dirt, make way for the Sunnyside thinner!
Although this one here is an all-purpose cleaner, it's pretty effective in cleaning paint from brushes and rollers. It does give you the opportunity to clean up tar, car grease, and all, but the result you get from separating paint from the paintbrush is fabulous.
Being a high-solvent material, it does come in handy when you need to dissolve stains immediately in no time. Just rinse the brush in it and see the magic yourself!
What bothers me when I use any chemical, no matter what the odor is. A chemical odor works great to mess up with your nostrils, at least for the whole day. But the Sunnyside thinner is exceptional in this case.
It comes with a low-odor compound that makes it almost impossible to tell if it's emitting any 'chemical' smell or not. So, that's a plus for me, for sure!
And the fact that the chemical is constructed from 100% mineral spirits, you can easily tell its power of thinning!
9. U.S. Art Supply - Airbrush Cleaner
If you own an airbrush for painting, you are a pro, for real. But cleaning it may seem a bit of a difficult task, isn't it? No worries, I have an airbrush cleaner, as well, on my list!
Introducing, the US Art Supply airbrush cleaner. Confused if it suits your model of airbrush? Forget it! This one does perfectly well for all types of airbrush models in the market!
Whether you are using a synthetic or natural-haired paintbrush, the solution works equally well for both of these products. It doesn't matter if you are using watercolor, acrylics, gouache, or dyes - this cleaning agent is here to help!
It deep cleans all the airbrush that you use for acrylic paint, or make-up, or cake airbrushing. Power the liquid inside the paint area, and just rinse it gently. You will surely see a new airbrush in your hand.
The best part is, this one is perfectly safe for anyone using it. Its ASTM D-4236 standard compliance certificate tells all the stories about it being a non-toxic product. So, no worries about health-hazards at all!
10. Vintage Tonality Paint Brush Cleaner
And finally, it's time for a bit of vintage flavor! Let's wrap this review up with the Vintage Tonality Paint Brush Cleaner.
Although it's a cleaner, in essence, it's two-in-one in reality. The bar-shaped solution comes with a conditioning capacity, as well. That means, if you are using the soap to clean the hardened brush, it will eventually give the bristles a new and soft feeling, just like you bought it.
The exciting fact that blew my mind is this all-natural soap is totally handmade. So, you can rest assured that it is clean from any kind of mechanical or chemical adverse components.
As for the ingredients, the soap is made from vegetable-based glycerin. Plus, there is a list of oil that has been used in it. Ranging from olive oil to coconut, soybean, and lavender oil, it's just a full package of natural ingredients.
Its healing capacity is unreal in some cases. Even if your old brush has been abandoned for a month without being washed and cleaned, it can still be restored by this soap in minutes!
So, if you are into a natural solution to your brush-cleaning problem, here's your bet. Confused how to use it? Don't worry; the package comes with a free copy of an E-book that explains every step on how to apply it to the bristles.
10 Brush Cleaners Comparison Chart
General Pencil Masters Brush
Oil color, acrylics, and watercolor
Paint Puck Brush Cleaner
Weber Odorless Turpenoid
Oil, oil-paint, and alkyd color
Turpentine Substitute Liquid
Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner
Oil, acrylic, alkyd color
KRUD KUTTER PC326 PC32
Paint Puck Paint Brush Cleaner (3 Pack)
Pink Soap 12-Ounce Brush Cleaner
Oils, acrylics, and water paints
Sunnyside Paint Thinner
Oil-based paints, varnishes, and stain
U.S. Art Supply - Airbrush Cleaner
Watercolor, ink, dye and acrylic
Vintage Tonality Paint Brush Cleaner
Paint Brush Cleaner Buying Guide
As you've got a clear idea of what the best paint brush cleaner looks like, here're some pro-tips that will come as handy for you. If you're still interested in searching beyond the products we've just reviewed, these factors will guide you to find the most suitable one.
1. Supports Most Paint Types
You're not going to use only one type of paint all over your life. Being an artist, there's a huge possibility that you're going to play with different types of paints and colors. So, the paintbrush you're using will have to go through a lot.
That's why the cleaning agent for the bristles needs to be versatile enough to work with multiple types of paint. It needs to be able to clear off oil paints, acrylics, alkyd paints, and any watercolor possible.
2. Non-Toxic Cleaner
Health is above everything we do. You can't just risk your physical wellbeing for some cheap paint brush cleaner solvent. Always look for the one that includes natural, non-toxic ingredients. It may cause you to reach a bit deep in your pockets, but it's worth it.
The best way to find if a cleaner is non-toxic or not is to see if it conforms to ASRM-4236 or not. Otherwise, the packaging will at least attest to the fact that it is a non-toxic chemical.
3. Works On Both Brush Type
Most of the artists use different types of brushes for their painting purpose. The usual two types are synthetic and natural-haired ones. So, the cleaner you're going to buy must be able to tackle both the types.
For the natural-haired brush, make sure the cleaner also comes with natural ingredients. Otherwise, it may cause damage and bend to the brush.
4. Odorless Cleaner
It's okay to be okay with odors. If you can endure chemical-odor for a long time, good luck to you for it. But most users don't feel like enjoying it. So, if you reside among this group, try locating a cleaner that is scented.
If not, at least find the one that is odorless. This will prevent your nostrils from being tortured throughout the cleaning process.
5. Cleaning Nubs Should Be Silicon-Made
If you're trying to find cleaning accessories like a cleaning nub, you must resort to the silicon-made ones. It will provide softness to the bristles and promote faster removal of paint from the hair.
Different Brush Cleaner Types
As you've noticed already, the paintbrush cleaners come in different types and forms. Here's a quick discussion on multiple types of cleaners.
1. Water-Dissolving Agent
This type of paintbrush cleaner is used by mixing with water. You use the agent with the brush first, and then the brush is dipped in the water for the final cleansing. It works more like a pre-cleaning agent.
2. Soap Type Cleaner
For the soap type, you can tell it by the name. It just uses a simple mechanism of soap. You rub the bar against the brush, and the paints start to come off. It's simple, easy, and effective.
3. Thinning Agent
Thinning agents are basically multipurpose chemicals. It works with thinning the paint material and then removing it from anything it is attached to. This one also needs to be dissolved in water at a small amount to be working perfectly.
People Also Asked (FAQs)
How Do Professional Painters Clean Their Brushes?
Professionals use different types of cleaning agents to clean their brushes. The agent ranges from thinner to soap, according to the type of brush they are using.
How Do you Get Dried Paint off a Paint Brush?
It's quite simple to get rid of a dry-look of the brush. Just use the perfect cleaning liquid or soap that you like and apply it on the brush for some time. After a while, just rinse it in warm water, and you're done.
Can You Clean Paint Brushes in the Sink?
It's okay to clean the paintbrush in the sink only if the sink is linked to the public sewer system. Otherwise, you may end up contaminating groundwater and drinking water.
Is it Okay to Leave Paint Brushes in Water Overnight?
To get a soft feeling before you're about to paint on the canvas, it's a good idea to keep the brush wet. But soaking it in water for a long time will damage it, too.
If there was an absolute cleaner for a paintbrush, I would have sacrificed everything I had to get one. But the reality is, every single product comes with pros and cons. Still, there are a number of products that do work great when it comes to cleaning paints.
Here, I tried to compile the best paint brush cleaners options that are worth your bucks. If you're going to get one, simply choose from the list above. Otherwise, try to stick to the buying guide so that you don't get lost in the crowd of useless cleaners in the market!