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Naturally Frugal: Clean Dried-On Paint off Brushes!

We’ve been doing a lot of painting around the KnowitAll house the past six months. Inevitably we forget to clean a brush properly and are forced to buy a new one. Now, you know my frugal little heart does NOT like spending $8-$10 every time we need a new brush! I also don’t like to use powerful chemicals or solvents in the house, because of the number of people in the house with asthma and other issues. So I set out to find a natural alternative.

Vinegar is the solution! We mixed water with white vinegar, set it to boil, then dropped the dried paint brush into the pot for about 20 minutes. That did the trick! The paint peeled right off, and with a good wash it was ready to use again. For those who like a recipe, here’s the exact instructions:

  • In a medium saucepan mix one part vinegar to two parts water. Heat over medium high heat until it boils.
  • Add your brush, bristles down, into the vinegar-water mix, and reduce the heat to low.
  • Let sit for 20 minutes or more, depending on the mess your brush is in.
  • When the paint is easily peeling off, remove from the pan and rinse in warm water, removing any last bits.
  • Let dry fully before using.

This particular brush had been used for bright pink paint and had been left out for two weeks afterwards. We cleaned it, then my husband used it for a light gray, and there were no streaks of pink. Which leaves me with this question: Is there anything vinegar can’t do?

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