Paint rollers are an essential part of any home decorator's toolset. Amazing at painting large flat surface areas in no time flat, as well as holding a surprisingly large amount of paint in them whilst they are being used.
Decorating the walls and ceilings of your house, as well as countless other objects, without them would be so much more time-consuming, and take so much more effort to do.
Where would we be without the humble paint roller, ay?
This is why it is all the more reason these painting tools should be kept in tip-top shape, ready for the next time you use them.
It's a darn shame when so many people just forget to look after them correctly.
Often, they will leave the paint on the brush overnight or for a couple of days before getting round to cleaning it, only to find that the now dried and crusty roller has been spoiled by the paint.
After trying and failing to clean it, most people will then just dispose of their paint rollers and buy a new one, adding to landfill trash, and simply repeating this cycle once again.
If you want to be a serious decorator who doesn't leave their tools to tarnish (and also save a couple of pennies whilst doing it), you're going to need to know how to clean your paint rollers.
Fortunately, that's exactly what this guide is here to teach: How you can clean your paint rollers at home, with just a few simple steps and tools.
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Tools You’re Going To Need
Before we even consider starting to clean your paint rollers, you are probably going to need at least a few tools to make sure that you've done a thorough enough job of cleaning it.
- A 5-in-1 tool or putty knife, for scraping purposes
- A bucket, either a spare one you have or the original container that you got the paint from.
- A firm bristle brush or plastic-bristle brush, depending on what type of paint you have been using with the paint roller (more on that later).
- Rubber gloves, to avoid having to clean your own hands afterward as well!
- If you are concerned about paint splashing into your face and eyes, you'll also want to have a pair of safety glasses handy.
- Some dish/soap detergent
- Rags and Newspaper
- And warm water (for cleaning, obviously)
These should be more than enough to help give you a thorough clean of your paint rollers!
How To Clean Your Paint Roller
So, you have all your tools ready and waiting, and you have some paint-filled rollers. Now we can start the cleaning process.
Draw Off Excess Paint
The first thing you're going to want to do is to draw off any excess paint that may still be stuck to the sides of the roller.
This might be easier than you think. Paint rollers effectively act like sponges that can carry the paint from the roller tray to whatever surface you are planning on painting.
So, the best way to get the excess off the brush you're cleaning before putting it anywhere near hot water or detergent is to wring the roller in the same way that you would a cloth.
You can use the 5-in-1 tool or the putty knife to press it flat against the brush, and then bring the tool down to get the excess paint out of the roller.
Make sure that you have a bucket, bottle, or the original paint container around somewhere to catch the excess paint as it comes out of the roller!
You don't necessarily have to get every last bit of paint out of there, but if you want to ensure that you've cleaned it properly, you'll want to remove as much of the paint as possible. That will make the following step much easier.
Roll Out More Excess
Following on from the same principle as we just mentioned, once you have got the majority of the excess paint out with the blunt side of your knife, you can then try and get the rest of the excess off by rolling the paint roller back and forth.
This will hopefully cause the remaining paint to come off, rather than being left behind and making the other step more difficult.
To help press as much paint out of the roller, do this against something solid, such as a wall or door frame.
If you do happen to spill any paint during this step, wipe it up immediately with an appropriate cleaning tool.
(This is why you should use old non-usable bedsheets or newspapers for your interior decorating!)
Once you have finished rolling out the excess, you can move on to the next step of the cleaning process, which will be different depending on what type of paint you were using.
You can wash your roller that was used for latex paint in some warm water and a few drops of dish soap.
You don't need to scrub too hard - just rinse it well until the water from the roller runs clear. Make sure that your roller cover is also cleaned in this way, and let them both dry before you use the cover on the roller.
And that's it!
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You'll need to use a few mineral spirits if you want to clean your oil paint-soaked roller. Put the spirit on an old rag, and scrub your paint roller until you are happy with how it looks.
If you have protective eyewear, this is the time to wear it, in case any errant splashes get on your face or in your eyes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Every time you use your paint roller! It may seem like a lot of work at first, but as we've just shown, it's quite simple to do if you have the right gear with you.
Plus, it still beats having to throw away so much money on new rollers!
You can give your rollers a deep soak with warm water between brushes if you are still unsure about their cleanliness and want them to be in top condition for your next painting session.
A quality roller should last up to 5 cycles before shedding. You can reuse it without affecting the quality of the paint application and over time it will end up paying for itself.
If you are in the middle of a project and you need to leave your paint roller, keep it fresh between coats, or even overnight, by wrapping it in plastic wrap or heavy-duty aluminum foil.
You cannot leave the roller in the water longer than a day or it will fall apart, and you cannot leave the roller overnight in water again until it has completely dried out.
Because the handle of a roller is U-shaped, the side closer to the handle gets pushed down harder, leaving the other end of the roller free to slide off.
You can counter this tendency by adjusting your grip to apply pressure more evenly while you're painting.
Hopefully, these steps have helped answer this burning question for many decorators who want to look after their tools.
Now you should have enough information to take care of your tools as best you can, and continue to keep them looking good for years to come!