Get Rid of Dried Acrylic Paints on Brushes!

How many times have you left your paint brushes to dry and forgot to clean them? Well if you are like some painters who get too excited to finally rest after long hours of trying to finish their work of art, you will surely benefit from reading this article!

Get Rid of Dried Acrylic Paints on Brushes!

It is very normal to forget to wash paintbrushes after a very long and productive painting session especially when you are rushing to finish that most sought after painting of yours. Who else didn’t encounter this? Once, you put the final strokes down on your masterpiece, you’re bound to take a step back, appreciate it, and call it a night and then you totally forgot to clean your mess or your brush!

Wait until you wake up the next morning and you quickly go into your studio. Surprise! Your paintbrush is all messed up with hard paints! This can be very frustrating especially when you don’t have much money to buy new sets of paintbrushes. We definitely know how you feel about this situation.

What should we do in this situation? How do we get rid of dried acrylic paints on brushes?

hardened paint on brushes

We have come up with some tips on how we can possibly solve this problem. Please note though that it is not 100% guaranteed because that depends on the damage done on the brush.

In order for us to determine how to resolve this hardened problem on your paintbrushes, we need to know first what is the paintbrush made of. There are different types of paintbrushes and there are different ways to clean them.

Paintbrushes are commonly categorized in two, they are either synthetic or made from natural bristles. Now how do you know which one does your brushes belong to?

Note that having a synthetic paintbrush can be very challenging when you plant on getting rid of those hard acrylic paints. Let’s say you have tried using water or soap and still they are not getting cleaned, there are other things that you can do still. Have patience.

natural versus synthetic brush

Synthetic bristles simply do not stand up when exposed to harsh chemicals, given this fact, you need to use to get those clumps of paint coating off first.  Natural Bristles, on the other hand, is made out of natural bristles. They were either created from hog, squirrel, badger bristles, and organic materials. These bristles are way more suitable for harsh chemical exposure or washes. So buying natural brushes is highly advisable. They may cost a little more, but they make up for that in durability and clean-ability. They’ll save you a lot of money in the long run.

So let’s get down to some of the most helpful tips that we know in order to get rid of dried acrylic paints on brushes. You can follow and test or try out the tips below.

#1 Acetone

Acetone also used as nail polish remover. Guess what nail polish is made of? Some solvents and other chemicals which dissolve in acetone. You can buy Acetone from any beauty shop and medical stores out there, so getting one won’t be a problem!

using acetone to get rid of paint on brushes

Put a certain amount of Acetone in a small container and try to dip your paintbrush in. This will let the acetone penetrate the bristles and get rid of most of the acrylic buildup that was stacked up and hardened on the bristles. Dip the brush into it up to the level of the ferrule. Let it soak for a few minutes. The paint will simply break out of the bristles and it will dissolve into the solvent. Repeat as needed.

#2 Alcohol
If you want less pungent odor, try using an Isopropyl alcohol. Alcohol can penetrate into the bristles but this is less effective than Acetone, that is why it is on the second rank next to Acetone. Most acrylic paint removal has alcohol as the main component. So if you have Alcohol in your cabinet, try using it. Dip the brush into it up to the level of the ferrule. Let it soak for a few minutes. Take the brush out. Rinse with warm soapy water, preferably dish-washing detergent. Repeat this process until all the paint clumps are gone.

#3 Other cleaning aids that you can use

Some of the solvents that you can use include thinner, denatured alcohol, sanitizing gel, and ammonia solution. Take note that some of these chemicals are harmful and must be handled carefully. Make sure not to leave your brush on any chemical for such a long time as they may create serious damage to your brushes and may force you to just buy a new set.

#4 Comb

Who would’ve have thought that an old comb can get rid of paint on brushes? If you dont have any of the solvents mentioned above, you might want to do this simple step. Surely you own a comb in your home, use an old one. Try to scrape off all the paint gunk from your paintbrush. The finer the teeth on your comb. The more success you’ll have with this method.


All you have to do to start is to wet the brush with a little water and apply a little oil. This will add some strength to the bristles and also, allow the paint clumps to slide off them a little more efficiently, while you run your comb through several times. Right after you comb it, trim the bristles. Trimming them will ensure better lining on the bristles.

It is always best to keep your brushes clean right after painting this way you will not have to worry the next day or next painting session on how to get rid of paints on your precious brushes.

So when you’re taking a timeout, wash the brushes, take your time and wash them as thoroughly as you can. Always maintain having a clean paintbrush.

Tropic Desire offers valuable tips about painting and how to clean your paintbrushes. Check out our website today and learn how to get rid of Dried Acrylic Paints on Brushes!





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