If you view a brush’s bristles under a microscope, you can tell that they are porous. The bristles grab paint, creep up to the ferrule and eventually down your arm.
When a brush is conditioned, it fills the pores with a chemical which gives the following benefits to you:
- Paint will slide off more easily.
- The brush won’t “drag,” which makes painting easier.
- Clean up is a lot easier; conditioning your brushes saves you time.
Conditioning brushes for water-based paints:
- First, mix 50% water with 50% blue fabric softener in a bucket.
- Put a wire through the hole in the brush to suspend the bristles in the solution.
- Let it soak overnight (for example, Friday night).
- The next morning (i.e., Saturday), spin your brushes and hang them upside down.
- Let them dry in an upright position to maintain the shape. You may also lay them flat or suspend them so that no water drains into the ferrule. Once thoroughly dried, store the brushes in a closed container. Make sure that nothing disrupts the brushes. The bristles should feel smooth and have a bluish color.
- Clean the brushes immediately after painting. Never allow paint to dry in a brush. To clean, turn on your water; when it hits the surface, press brush back and forth until all the paint is off the brush. Use a formulated brush cleaner, soap and warm water. Rinse completely and reshape the hairs. Spin dry and put back in sleeve.
- Condition your brushes after 8 – 10 uses (restore bluish color).
Brushes for Oil-based Paints (China bristle):
- For china bristle brushes, use Brush Conditioner sold at paint stores.
- Repeat the steps above.
- Condition after 8 – 10 uses.
When painting a rough surface, avoid the use of expensive natural hair paint brushes. The rough surface will damage the brush and cause it to wear out before its time. Instead, choose a less expensive synthetic brush for these tasks.
- Occasionally condition your natural hair paint brushes using lard oil, which is found at most hardware stores or art supply shops. Place a drop of oil on each brush head and work into the bristles. Wrap in a towel or rag for a few days (up to two weeks) allowing the oil to absorb. Gently wash the brushes and dry as described above.