How to Store
Paintbrushes Properly

You make every effort to paint as carefully as possible; you use painter’s tape, lay down drop cloths, and apply primer. But if your brushes are dirty or frayed, you won’t get the best results—you’re better off buying a new brush than using one that’s seen better days. 

Written by: Christie Simon 

Do's and Dont's for Storing Paintbrushes

Some people are hesitant to invest in high-quality brushes for fear that they’ll deteriorate. Not to worry; we’ve put together these storage tips that will keep your paint brushes in mint condition.

Overnight Storing

You’re ready to pack it in for the day and pick things up tomorrow. The question is, what should you do with your paint brush?

Even if you’re storing the brush for one night, make sure to clean it thoroughly first. Dried paint will make it nearly impossible to use the next day. 

Why does paint streak? Part of it has to do with the condition of the brush you’re using. Bits of old paint will ruin the texture of your strokes. One of the main reasons why a brush will lose its shape is due to leftover paint and improper storage.

But how should you go about cleaning your brushes? Water-based paints can be removed using warm water and soap. Swirl the brush around in the cleaning solution and use your fingers or brush comb to gently squeeze out the paint. 

Oil-based paint can be a bit trickier to remove. For brushes soaked with oil-based paints, warm water and soap won’t work. You’ll need to use paint thinner to clean the brush

However, when you’re cleaning brushes, try to be gentle with the bristles; if you’re too rough, it can affect the shape of the brush. Use a soft cloth and apply only as much pressure as needed to clean the brush. 

Does the brush still have paint on it? If you plan to use it again the next day, you may not want to wash out all the paint. Instead, you can put it in your fridge or freezer overnight.

Short-Term Storage

What if you don’t need to use the brush again for a few days or weeks? You might be wondering how to store it in the meantime.

The key to storing your paint brushes successfully is to clean them sooner than later, whether you’re storing them for one night or two weeks.

A word of warning: don’t store brushes in water. It’s the same principle as leaving your dishes to soak overnight—you tell yourself you’ll get to it tomorrow, but really, you’re just avoiding cleaning them. The difference is that with brushes, soaking them in water will cause the bristles to completely lose their original shape. 

Make sure to dry the brush before storing it. If possible, you can hang it upside down so that it dries completely. Blot it with a paper towel to remove some of the water. You can also buy a paint brush holder that props the brush upright. 

Try a canvas bag for storage and travel; it makes organizing and transporting your brushes easy. You won’t fumble to find the brush you’re looking for, or need to worry about where to store them while they’re not in use.

Long-Term Storage

After your last project has wrapped up, you’re ready to take a long break from painting. With the above storage tips, your brushes will be ready to go the next time you reach for them—even if that day is months from now.

To protect the shape and integrity of the bristles, lay them flat in a designated storage area. Preferably, you should choose a room with a consistent temperature that’s out of direct sunlight. This prevents the weight of the brush from warping its shape. Then, wrap or cover the bristles for additional protection. 

For bristles that have moved out of place, use a brush comb to reorganize them. You can also wet the brush under warm water and try to move the bristles back into place. 

Your paint brushes are an investment, both in the precision of your paint job and future projects. Without taking proper care of those brushes, you’ll be dealing with streaks, texture issues, and an uneven finish. 

When you’re caught up in the creative process of painting, it’s easy to forget things like proper storage techniques. Use these storage tips to keep your brushes in top shape for years to come.  

At Zibra, we offer an array of paint brushes designed with application in mind. Choose from styles that are ideal for painting trimcurved surfaceshard to reach areas, and more. If you need help finding your perfect paint brush use our brush finder tool or reach out to us.

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