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Now My Brushes Just Smell Like Vinegar

After a couple weeks FULL of painting projects (dining room door, kitchen closet beadboard & trim), the paint brushes took it a little hard.  Real hard.  I’ve had the same brushes since my first major brush purchase back in the spring of 2010, in my first few months of home ownership.  Needless to say, a few of my favorite brushes are looking a little rough around the edges.

This guy wasn’t looking too bad until a Saturday of priming and painting the dining room door out in the hot sun.  It probably wasn’t my smartest move, painting out in the 75 degree temps.  But after a couple weeks of rain, there wasn’t a chance in hell that I was going to be caught inside.

Needless to say…five plus hours of painting with this brush and he was hurting.

So you know all those pins on Pinterest…you know…the ones that claim to “bring new life to old brushes” by cleaning them with boiling vinegar?  Well, I’ve seen those all to often and I’ve always wondered if it really worked.  AND if it could work on my hard core, destroyed, gunked up brushes.  Testing my brushes on this cleaning theory is like taking a caked-with-mud-monster-truck through the car wash.  So I boiled up some regular old white vinegar.

And poured it over the paint brushes in a bowl.

And let them soak for 30 minutes (as directed by the Pinterest pins).

Then I removed the brushes from the hot vinegar, washed them in hot, soapy water and let them dry.

The end result…still a mess.

Wop…wop…wop.  I got a feeling that there was just too much old paint and gunk built up in the brushes for this cleaning technique to work.  Some of the brushes that weren’t quite as bad off had some slight improvement, they were softer and generally cleaner.  But the hot mess brush…zero improvement.  It just smells like vinegar now.  So I tossed a few of the bad brushes, the ones with zero hope of ever being usable again, and have added “paint brushes” to the shopping list.

Pssst…Has anyone else tried cleaning their brushes with vinegar?  How was your experience?  Or do you have another no fail way for cleaning old, dry paint from brushes?  We’d love to hear your ideas!  Save Ferris brushes!

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Angie's Roost Campbell Family in front of home in 2021

Hi there! We're the Campbells. We traded in Maine city living for the country life in Vermont. You'll find us here fixing up a circa 1781 historic home, growing our own food, and filling this home with the memories and things that matter. Read more about us...

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