How To Clean Watercolor Brushes

how to clean watercolor brushes

In this blog post, we will walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to clean watercolor brushes. So gather up your supplies and let’s get started! If you’re a watercolor artist, then you know how important it is to keep your brushes clean. Not only will this help them last longer, but it will also ensure that your paintings have the best possible results.

how to clean watercolor brushes

We will begin with how to properly clean watercolor brushes

  • This is a very important step, as pigment particles can build up at the base of the brush and prevent the point from forming. To avoid this, wipe your watercolor brush clean with a lint-free rag and rinse it under cool running water.
  • Then, using mild soap, such as Castile, and cool water, swirl the soapy brush in the palm of your hand and rinse. Repeat the washing and rinsing process until you notice the water is clear.
  • Gently squeeze out any excess water, and reshape bristles. Do this by slowly turn brush in palm of hand.
  • Make sure you have removed excess water, dried ferrules, and handles, and reshaped brush heads. Lay them flat until they’re dry.
  • Store them upright in a jar only after they are 100% dry. Too soon, and water will seep into the ferrules.
Tips for cleaning watercolor brushes

What to avoid for watercolor brushes

  • Avoid using hot water as this may ruin the natural oils in the bristles. This is especially true if you are using 100% natural brushes.
  • Do not tug, or pull on bristles, or tufts. Gently squeeze excess water with paper towel, or soft rag.
  • Do not rest brushes in jar of water
  • Avoid using watercolor brushes with any other medium(s).

How often should you clean your brushes

Always rinse them thoroughly after each use. Never allow paint to dry in. the bristles as this will cause them to dry out. Give them a good cleansing every three to four months with soap and water. You can do this by using using the steps mentioned earlier in this article.

Rinse and reshape brushes after each use

It’s also important to reshape your brushes after each cleaning

This can be done by bending the bristles in opposite directions, then rolling them between your fingers, palm of hand, or using a towel. Most watercolor brushes come to a point, which is what you are aiming to see.

How to store your brushes

Finally, store your brushes in a brush holder, or mason jar resting them with the bristles facing upwards. Be sure you have allowed them to dry 100% before placing them upright!


We hope you found this guide helpful! If you have any questions or tips of your own, be sure to leave them in the comments below. Happy painting!