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THE BASICS
Every paint expert suggests you buy good paintbrushes, which will last for many years and will do a better job distributing paint without leaving brush marks so you end up with a better paint job.

However, if you do not take proper care of your paintbrush, it will not last long. First of all, remember to never paint latex or water-based paint using a natural bristle brush. That is because natural bristle is intended to be used only in solvent based finishes. When soaked in water, natural bristles tend to go limp and get moppy.

You will never get good results if your paintbrushes are hard with old paint from a previous job so cleaning your paintbrush properly is important. The process of cleaning a paintbrush starts at the beginning of the painting day. On hot, dry days the paint on the outside of the paintbrushes near the ferrule can harden within an hour or two.

USAGE
You can slow the hardening of the paint by moistening the paintbrush with water or thinner before using it. Use water when

applying latex or water-based paint. If you are painting with oil-based paint, dip the paintbrush in paint thinner before getting paint on the paintbrush. Then lightly shake out any excess water or paint thinner before dipping the paintbrush for the first time into the paint.

If you take breaks during painting, you need to get the paintbrush out of the sun, and wrap it with a damp rag if you are using latex paint. This rag stops the evaporation of water and other chemicals from the paint. It keeps the paint on the paintbrush fresh. Use a rag soaked in paint thinner if you are applying oil-based paint.

CLEANING & MAINTAINING
After the paint job is done, start the cleaning process by gently scraping excess paint from a paintbrush onto paper, working from the ferrule to the tips.

If the paintbrush has latex or water-based paint on it, then rinse as much paint out as you can with warm water flowing over the outside of the bristles, toward the bristle ends. The next step is to use an old paint can that has been cleaned of all paint. Fill this

can halfway with warm soapy water. Dip the paintbrush into the soapy water and rapidly move it back and forth. Refill the can halfway with just clear warm water and repeat the process. If the water turns slightly cloudy, it means you still have more paint in the paintbrush. Continue the fresh-water rinsing process until the water remains perfectly clear.

For a paintbrush that has solvent-based paint on it, scrape away excess paint from the paintbrush and then using a clean paint can, pour about 1 inch of thinner into the can. Rinse out the paintbrush in the thinner. After disposing of the thinner into another container, repeat the process several times to get the paintbrush clean.

Once clean, hang the paintbrush from its hole to get it to dry. Once dry, insert the paintbrush in the handy protective cover that came with it.