I left my wood stain brush Uncleaned and now it is all dry. How do I clean that mess? Trying to paint for the first time, so any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • 2
    I would buy a new one. It is a lot easier to clean them immediately you finish painting. The wood stain container will have instructions for brush cleaning which will specify the type of solvents needed. Jan 26, 2017 at 14:32

2 Answers 2


You don't.

Once paint dries on a brush, it is uncleanable. Into the trash it goes.

Even if you soaked it in paint stripper and spent hours working it through the brush, you'd never get the dried paint out of the heel of the brush, nor out of the fine areas on the end of the bristles. It would never paint right again.

I don't consider that to be any big deal, since I paint a lot in epoxies and 2-part urethanes. The brush is a total loss every time, because it would take $10 worth of the exotic solvent to rinse out a brush that is definitely not worth $10.

  • While not foolproof, simply putting your brush in a baggie that is wet will keep good for sometimes up to a few weeks... given you are doing like painting/staining.
    – DMoore
    Jan 26, 2017 at 20:20
  • @DMoore LOL I forget about that, because so much of my painting is 2-part paints such as epoxies and LPUs, which will cure in the sealed wrapper. Yes, that works all consumer paints, latex, oil, etc. which come in a single can. I wrap first in plastic grocery bags, which seem impervious to everything including LPUs, then into a ziploc bag for sealing. Squeeze the air out, that being especially important in 1-part paints, which cure when in contact with air. Jan 26, 2017 at 20:34

Forget 'cleaning' stain off a brush. Buying a new brush is less expensive (sometimes). What I do is wrap my stain brush or paint brush in plastic wrap and put it into the freezer. As long as you are using the same stain or paint, you've still got a brush to use.

  • That sounds like a pretty good idea....Ommina have to try that! Jan 26, 2017 at 21:45
  • It really works well. You'll love this...
    – stormy
    Jan 27, 2017 at 8:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.