Reviving Tired Stiff Paintbrushes

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acetone, brushes, and paintsWhether you're using oil paints or acrylics, inevitably your paintbrushes will take a beating.

Even if you are doing what you're supposed to with the paintbrushes, they will inevitably become hard, stiff, and eventually useless. There are semi expensive fluids you can buy that will heal brushes, but I found a better option.


Total Time: 1 hour to 24 hours

Source: I had at one point purchased a pricey 'brush restorer' fluid but then I realized the same main ingredient was the same as the one found in common nail polish remover.



  1. To restore brushes ruined by dry acrylics, just soak them in nail polish remover for 24 hours and you will be amazed at the results.
  2. Reviving Tired Stiff Paintbrushes
  3. To fix brushes damaged by oil paints, only soak for an hour at most; for most stiffness due to not properly cleaning oil brushes, just a 20 minute soak will be enough.
  4. Reviving Tired Stiff Paintbrushes

  5. It is important not to leave the brushes in the nail polish solution for too long because the acetone will quickly wear away the brush bristle and make the brush frayed, which you do not want! So, especially if you have expensive brushes, test them frequently and pull them out of the solution as soon as you feel the stiffness go away.
  6. Reviving Tired Stiff Paintbrushes
  7. After you have soaked the brushes in the solution and felt their flexibility return, wash them thourougly with soap and warm water. This is important so as to get rid of the chemical that will eventually wear the brush away.
  8. Reviving Tired Stiff Paintbrushes

  9. NOTE: please be careful because the solution will wear down the paint of the brush as well. Try to only soak the metal part that adheres to the bristles, i.e. just the part that's showing in the photo.
  10. Reviving Tired Stiff Paintbrushes
  11. BONUS: restores paint!
    Say you're working on a great project, in acrylic, but you realize that your tube has dried up! Oh no! What to do? Rush out and buy more, or use the magic substance to reconstitute the paint?
  12. Reviving Tired Stiff Paintbrushes
  13. Yeah, that's right, the nail polish remover will reconstitute entire tubes of acrylics, gouache, and any other dried out water based paint! (turpentine and mineral spirits work for oils)

    Just add a few drops to a teaspoon of the stuff to the paint, stab the paint so that the fluid penetrates, leave it be for a half hour or more, and watch the paint reconstitute itself.
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December 15, 20160 found this helpful

This post helpful for me, i usually wash them quickly, dont soak with nail oil or acrylic.

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