Brush Care

How-To Brush Care Guide

Prepare your brushes for their first use - read below.

Most of our large and fine hair brushes are hand-set and made with different hairs that are tapped in a small copper cylinder before being glued into the ferrule. This is why some of the hairs are not properly affixed to the ferrule, so the brush will shed some hair the first few times you will use it.

Thick hair: examples are; badger, hog (china bristle), horse hair

Fine hair: examples are sable; squirrel, goat, skunk (fine, thin short hair)

Synthetic Fiber: examples are; taklon, samina, bordeaux, synthetic bristle


To minimize brush shedding, you should:

  1. Wash the brush thoroughly with a mild dish soap in warm water and massage the hair to comb out the loose bristles. Rinse until there is no soap residue left in the brush.
  2. Ring the brush out by rolling it between your hands as if you were trying to make a fire with a stick to fluff out the brush.
  3. Let dry by hanging the brushes or lay it down at the edge of a table (a hog bristle will have a strong odor due to the bone glue used to attach the bristles. This will go away after a few washings.)

Repeat this process a few more times.

All acrylic glazes contain some sort of ammonia which attacks the structure of the natural hair. Therefore, brush maintenance and thorough repetitive cleaning as described in step 1, 2, & 3 is imperative to protect and extend the life of your brush.

Applying a few drops of ‘leave in’ conditioner is also a good idea if you’re not going to be using your brush for some time.


Dried Paint: If some acrylic glaze becomes hardened on the brush, start by removing the heaviest part with denatured alcohol then rinse with water and coat the hairs with Murphy’s Oil Soap and leave for several hours. Apply the steps again from 1, 2, & 3 so the paint will brush out easily and leave your brush as good as new. Be careful as soap left too long in the natural hair will deteriorate the flexibility of the hair.


Proper cleaning procedure

for oil/water and large or small brushes:

  Oil Medium Water Medium
Large Brushes Prep brushes by thinning in two or more baths of spirits or until a rag runs free of paint. Wash brush with warm water and a lathering soap. Shake out excess water, quickly form brush shape, and then allow to dry upside down. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. Clean with a tiny bit of lathering soap and rinse until completely clean. Shake out excess water, quickly form brush shape, and then allow to dry.
Small Brushes Prep brushes by thinning in two or more baths of spirits or until a rag runs free of paint. Apply a generous portion of Lard to the tip of the brush and store. To reuse brush, completely thin with spirits. Clean each small brush very carefully and gently with a tiny bit of lathering soap. Shake out excess water, quickly form brush shape, and then allow to dry . To reshape a brush, dip it in Gum Arabic.