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I have had a couple of good natural bristle brushes for several years. I've been careful about cleaning them until now, but a couple months ago I left them in a jar with water "to get back to tomorrow." Today I finally got back to them and as you can imagine, they aren't in great shape. Is there any way I can restore them or do I have to throw them out?

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Next time don't put them in water--wrap them in saran wrap and squeeze all the air out. I've had brushes last months wrapped this way. – Alex Feinman Dec 29 '11 at 19:31
I do that for rollers. For brushes I usually wash out the paint and wrap them in newspaper but if you forget just once, this happens. – Yitzchak Dec 29 '11 at 20:30

I use a product by "Clean Strip" called roller and brush cleaner. It usually works well even on badly hardened paints. Word of caution however, try to use it outdoors as it really has a lot of very offensive fumes. Also wear plastic gloves as this stuff will burn your hands. Heed all the warnings on the can, this is nasty stuff, but works well.

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Thanks for the tip, but I try to avoid more caustic substances. I'm living with my parents and they're both extremely sensitive to fumes. Hence low VOC latex paints and using vinegar on the brushes. – Yitzchak Dec 29 '11 at 23:12
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Hot vinegar seems to be working but I caved and bought a new one anyway.

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