Cleaning Paint Brushes
Paint-brushes should be cleaned immediately after the job has been finished. If it is necessary to leave the work overnight to complete the job, paint-brushes may be kept soft by placing the brushes in a small jar, partly filled with sufficient water to cover the bristles. Before using brushes so stored — and this method should only be used for short periods of storage — the brush should be well shaken to remove water and then rubbed out on a piece of scrap-wood. If the brushes are to be left for several days before re-using them for the same job, they may be kept soft in a jar with the bristles covered with turps substitute instead of water.
There are two methods ofbrushes after use. In one the brush is cleaned of old paint and is then suspended in a jar with a short length of wire inserted through a hole drilled just above the ferrule, the ends of the wire resting on the rim of the jar so that the bristles are suspended clear of the bottom of the jar. The jar is then partly filled with turps substitute, using sufficient to cover the bristles. Further protection may be afforded by wrapping Cellophane over the brush and the jar to keep out dust. The Cellophane is held in place with an elastic band. The second method of storing brushes is more thorough; in the second method the brushes are thoroughly cleaned, washed, wrapped and stored flat on a shelf in a dry place.
To clean a paint-brush, press the bristles flat on folded newspaper, and scrape them from the ferrule downwards with the edge of a putty knife, to remove as much of the surplus paint as possible. Wipe the brush with folded newspaper and swish it round in a jar containing turps substitute. Remove the brush from the jar and wipe off as much turps as possible on the rim of the jar, then with folded newspaper. After this, wash the bristles of the brush in warm soapy water, wipe dry with a rag and place in sunshine or near a stove until the bristles have thoroughly dried out. Clean the metal band and lightly oil it. Finish by wrapping the brush in greaseproof paper, taking care to keep the bristles straight and flat. The greaseproof cover is secured by means of an elastic band slipped over the handle of the brush. Brushes cleaned in this way may be used again after a period of several months.
All other tools used in painting, putty knives, scrapers, etc., should be washed and scrubbed bright with soft wire wool, then wiped over with an oily rag. Partly used tins of paint should always be firmly closed before placing them in store. The best way to seal a can is to place it on the floor, put the lid on tight then stand on it.
Handymen are sometimes advised to turn paint-cans upside-down when storing them to avoid the formation of a skin over the surface of the paint. However, this is not really necessary and a skin should not form if the can is tightly sealed by standing on the lid. Skin formation can be prevented by dropping a spot or two of thinners on the top of paint before closing the lid. When re-using a partly full container of paint the surface should always be prodded with the point of a putty knife before stirring the paint. If a skin has formed this may be removed by gently slicing round the edge of the skin with a penknife and removing the loosened skin between two pieces of wood.
Should, however, this be forgotten or the paint become dirty or gritty by failing to keep the lid on, during sweeping or dusting, the paint will have to be strained. A piece of lint-free fabric of fairly fine mesh should be stretched over the top of a kettle and firmly tied round with string. The dirty paint is then thoroughly stirred and a few drops of thinners should be added before stirring. The old paint is then poured through the filter into the jar.