The room is all set up, furniture cleared out, dust sheets on the floor and walls prepped. You’ve got your painting jumper on and your brand new paint is ready and waiting. You go rummaging in the garage or the loft for the paintbrushes only to find they’re stiff and splayed out – not to mention half covered in paint from your last project… however long ago that was!

Unless you’re trying to create a quirky piece of modern art, the brushes are ruined and unusable. Back out to the shops it is!

Well, you might not be able to save the old ones, but there are some really quick and easy ways to keep your new painting tools looking brilliant for longer and save you the hassle next time around. A little bit of TLC can go a long way to making life so much easier.

Protect your paintbrushes

To clean your paintbrushes, scrape the bristles against the can so any leftover paint goes in then wipe off the rest with a cloth. This will make it much easier to wash the paint out.

If you’ve used solvent-based paint, pop the paintbrush into a jar of white spirit (or clean spirit which is much kinder to the environment).

If you’ve used water-based paint, just use warm water with a squirt of washing up liquid.

Fan the brush out against the bottom of the jar so the liquid goes between the bristles. Rinse out under a running tap then dry with a cloth and store in an old jar, bristle end up.

Top tip: Slip an elastic band around the bristles to stop them splaying out.

Re-use your rollers and trays

Start by pouring leftover paint from your roller tray back into the tin. Run the tap over the tray to get rid of what’s left. A scourer or a brush is all you need to finish off, then rinse dry and put away.

When you’ve finished using your roller, give it a few extra rolls on a bit of old board to rub off as much paint as you can. Then pop it under a running tap and give the sleeve a good squeeze.

Finally, rinse the sleeve by working it up and down in a sink of cold water. Don’t forget to do the frame too! When it’s clean, it’s time for a spin dry. Slot the sleeve back on and give it a twirl to get rid of the last drops of water

Top tip: If you’re using the same paint again tomorrow, don’t bother cleaning your brush at all. Just wrap the bristles in cling film and stand it upright. You can also stop your roller and tray from drying out by tying it up inside a plastic bag.

Well done! You’ve given yourself a head start next time you use your painting tools, so now go and put your feet up!

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