Green Cleaner for Oil Paint Brushes

How do I safely rinse brushes with oil paint. I used to love painting with oil paint, and still have my brushes, paints, palette, etc. I would like to start up again, but I am not willing to use mineral spirits (highly flammable and bad fumes) to rinse/clean my brushes. I also do not want to use bar soap on the brushes, letting oil paint go down the sink, without knowing what I am doing.


Is there a way to safely use my oil paint and brushes that will still keep the brushes in good condition? How do I rinse/dispose of oil paint rags safely if I no longer have access to a paint studio? Or is this the end of my painting days?

By davidicdancer from Spokane, WA

July 28, 20090 found this helpful

Murphys Oil Soap will remove oil paint from your good brushes easily. Just pour a little into the palm of your hands and swipe the brush gently back and forth over it and rinse. This will keep your brushes conditioned too. I took an oil painting class and that's what was suggested to the group to use for cleaning their oil painting brushes. Happy Painting!

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July 30, 20090 found this helpful

You could use Turpentine. Believe it or not it's "natural". This is what wiki says about it "Turpentine- is a fluid obtained by the distillation of resin obtained from trees, mainly pine trees".

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August 3, 20090 found this helpful

I took oil painting in college. The professor was an artist from Paris, France. We did the normal rinse in turpentine, but to actually clean them we used regular soap and hot water. Never had a hard brush if I washed it thoroughly.

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January 20, 20100 found this helpful

I have been an artist for about 30 years and do mostly oil paints. The way I clean my brushes is to first clean them with Turponoid Natural which is non-toxic and then I finish cleaning them with The Master's Brush Cleaner. I don't use rags for anything anymore, I use paper towels. I let most of it settle down the bottom of a jar and pour off the top into another container and wipe out the bottom of the residue which can be disposed of in the trash. If I do have any residue of Turponoid or anything toxic, I keep under my bathroom sink in separate containers and eventually I want to take it to a toxic disposal center. If you need more information on disposal of toxic materials go the web page of Gamblin. They tell you just about anything you want to know.

Also, for anyone using acrylics, which I do sometimes, I filter my used water through coffee filters and then I pour it off into another container after most of it has settled down the bottom of a jar of can. Then wipe out the residue with a paper towel which you can throw in the trash.

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January 26, 20150 found this helpful

I now use mostly water-miscible oils and clean up initially with soap and water then with a squirt of "Awesome" lemon or orange cleaning liquid in the palm of my hand. (Wear gloves if doing a lot of class brushes or have sensitive skin!). I rub the bristles gently until all color is out on my paper towel wipes, then rinse thoroughly. Lastly I condition the bristles with baby oil and re-shape them between my fingers. Both cleanser and baby oil = $1.00 each for large bottle from the Dollar Tree.

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