Introduction

If your paint brush bristles have been rendered useless due to hard coats of paint or have lost their softness and original shape, this guide will help you repair the bristles.

Image 1/2: If the brush hairs are inflexible due to hardened paint coats, proceed to Step 2. Image 2/2: If the brush hairs are synthetic (fraying bristles), proceed to Step 5.
  • Identify the brush type and the level of damage:

    • If the brush hairs are inflexible due to hardened paint coats, proceed to Step 2.

    • If the brush hairs are synthetic (fraying bristles), proceed to Step 5.

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Image 1/2: Soak the brush in the turpentine for 2 days. Image 2/2: CAUTION: Do this in a well-ventilated area. The fumes from turpentine are toxic.
  • Fill a small cup half way with turpentine.

  • Soak the brush in the turpentine for 2 days.

    • CAUTION: Do this in a well-ventilated area. The fumes from turpentine are toxic.

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Image 1/1:
  • Remove any amount of paint that may remain on the brush by moving the brush in a circular motion.

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Image 1/2: After the turpentine has been completely removed, proceed to Step 7. Image 2/2: After the turpentine has been completely removed, proceed to Step 7.
  • To remove remnants of turpentine on the bristles, wash the brush thoroughly in water.

  • After the turpentine has been completely removed, proceed to Step 7.

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Image 1/1: CAUTION: Avoid any contact with hot objects.
  • For synthetic brushes, boil a pot of water.

    • CAUTION: Avoid any contact with hot objects.

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Image 1/2: Rotate the brush in the water for approximately 5 minutes. Image 2/2: You should begin to notice that the bristles will start to come back together from the heat and water.
  • Place the brush in the boiling water.

  • Rotate the brush in the water for approximately 5 minutes.

  • You should begin to notice that the bristles will start to come back together from the heat and water.

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Image 1/2: Stroke the brush in an upward motion and  be careful not to dig the towel through the bristles. Image 2/2: Stroke the brush in an upward motion and  be careful not to dig the towel through the bristles.
  • Gently dry off the brushes using a soft towel.

  • Stroke the brush in an upward motion and be careful not to dig the towel through the bristles.

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Image 1/3: Within approximately three hours, the brush bristles will be back to normal. Image 2/3: Within approximately three hours, the brush bristles will be back to normal. Image 3/3: Within approximately three hours, the brush bristles will be back to normal.
  • In order to retain the brush shape, use a brush tube or wrap the bristles in aluminum foil.

  • Within approximately three hours, the brush bristles will be back to normal.

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Image 1/2: There may be a few fraying bristles left. These are harmless and will cling to the brush shape when dipped in paint. Image 2/2: If preferred, you may use a nail clipper to cut these hairs off.
  • Cut off excess frayed bristles (optional).

    • There may be a few fraying bristles left. These are harmless and will cling to the brush shape when dipped in paint.

    • If preferred, you may use a nail clipper to cut these hairs off.

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Conclusion

Your brushes should now be usable again. Unfortunately this cannot be done too many times because the turpentine will start to damage the bristles, so make sure to regularly wash your brushes.

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Ankita Bhowmik

Member since: 09/29/2015

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Cal Poly, Team 15-7, Green Fall 2015 Member of Cal Poly, Team 15-7, Green Fall 2015

CPSU-GREEN-F15S15G7

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