Cleaning a China Bristle Brush?

Can’t seem to get all the resin out, don’t want the bristles to dry hard. How about storing in some sort of container with acetone? What do you guys do??


Found it in the archieves. Will cut an “x” in a coffee can lid and keep the brush in acetone, in the can, at all times.


Boondogle---------- You can leave it in acetone, that’s OK. The only problem is that the dissolved resin settles to the bottom of the can leaving your nice bristle brush with a 1/4 or 1/2 of resin sediment stuck to the end the brush that you will have to wash out when you are ready to use the brush next time. This will also mis-shape your brush. If you are going to leave your brush in acetone, suspend it. Punch a couple of holes , one on each side of the can along the rim. Slide a piece of coathanger wire thru the hole in your brush handle and thru the holes in the can. This will suspend your brush above the bottom of the can, allowing dissolved resin to drain off your brush to the bottom off the can. Better yet, rinse your brush throughly in a three step rinse. 1st rinse acetone, 2nd rinse lacquer thinner, 3rd rinse paint thinner. Most of the time I only go to the second rinse. The lacquer thinner gets rid of the acetone/resin residue. I do this with my brushes every time. They last long and stay soft. McDing

leaving some resin in the heel of the brush is better than the factory glue stablizing the bristles from shedding into gloss coats is a personal quest not shared by every one…if you leave a fresh brush in ace you can mistakenly pull all the bristles clear of the metal crimping shield easily …the bristles surround the perimiter of the wood handle on the vertical get a bamboo skewer and liberate chunks down inside the brush void inside by the handle butt… the hanging of .always a prefered method for horse thieves,I mean horse hair can have disadvantages dealing with pig bristles…ambrose …border of understanding and wisdumb

There have been references to a three-can system for cleaning brushes and tools - ‘dirty’, medium and new cans of acetone - where you get the worst off in the dirty can, rinse well in the medium and then let it soak in the new. In the tropics, where brushes are hard to come by and acetone too, I have washed brushes out with soap, water, a comb and a hell of a lot of patience.

Although, what with acetone costing what it does, and glassing/glossing brushes being essentially throw-aways ( here ) anyhow, I generally don’t bother, I just get the chip brushes for a couple of bucks apiece and pitch them when I’m done. On the cheapos, when I gloss with 'em, I first run a fine plastic comb through the bristles to get out the loose ones that will make you crazy when you get 'em stuck in the gloss…

Hope that’s of use



At my local supply place 3" chip brushes are 37cents and are all I use. Use them and chuck’em , I don’t want to take a chance on having some bit of resin of other crud getting in my hard work. Plus this means less exposure to harmful chemicals…peace and waves…

Yea… Harbour Freight had 12 packs of 3" for $4.00 the other weekend… guess that’d be 33 cents.

I stocked up. 33 cents, what’s that, like an ounce of Acetone, maybe? Toss 'em

Why spend 50 cents on acetone to clean a 33 cent brush? Pitch it!

I’m always so sweated out after any resin application I can’t even think about cleaning. Chuck it!

I usually use the throw away brushes too, but if you are going to use a good, expensive ($15-25) real bristle brush, you need to clean it right or you’ll ruin it. Don’t just dip it and hang it, you need to also flex and work the bristles in a clean solvent-soaked rag (ok, ok, I worked my way thru school as a painter, that’s the way the pros taught me!)

The point being you need to get the roots of the bristles clean, not just the tips, and you need to use your hands(gloves) to do it, dunking isn’t enough. It takes at least a good 4-5 minutes to really really clean a brush so it isn’t eventually ruined.

i use a old kitchen fork to keep the brush healthy

Twenty -five years as a painter, I learned two things that no one can get me to do any differantly ; Fold up a drop cloth and clean a brush. Use the proper solvent, do a multiple rinse using dirty solvent, then clean. Use a wire brush on the heel of the brush to remove stubborn particles. Rinse the last time in clean solvent. Shake out excess solvent with a “brush spinner”. Comb the brush with a “brush comb”. Place the brush in its factory cover or wrap in newspaper. I use a lot of chip brushes for repairs etc. Since I’ve always got a pot of dirty aceteone with a lid sitting nearby it’s no big deal to rinse out a chip brush and get a few extra uses out of it. But alot of the time I do trash’em. I use a nice “Purdy” white china bristle to hotcoat and gloss. I never get bristles because the brush has been used and cleaned so many times that it no longer sheds. If I did get bristles in a hot coat or gloss they’d be gone before the resin went off. The last thing a guy needs is a brush that’s starting to get hard around the heel of the bristles. Buy quality and you won’t have to worry about leaving enough residue in your brush to help the factory glue hold in the bristles. If you buy one nice brush, use it only for gloss and hotcoat, keep it nice and clean, you’ll start getting a lot nicer finish. Keep that brush clean and it will last a very long time and the bristles will stay nice and soft. McDing

Howzit McDing, Both my hot coat and glossing brushes are soaking in acetone all the time and are both at least 3 years old. I also use the 3 acetone buckets for cleaning and let them soak for about 10 minutes in each, then blow off with air . I use what Fiberglass Hi. calls Aussie brushes, cost about $7.00 unless on sale and they only shed a couple of bristles the first 2 or 3 times of use. It can take as much as 2 months for a hog bristle brush to stop shedding. Aloha, Kokua