While painting itself can be messy, cleaning up a paint roller and cleaning brushes at the end can double that messiness, especially if you let your paint dry on the roller! Fortunately, in this guide, we have five of the best methods for how to clean a paint roller, from the industry-standard directions to the craziest at-home tips.
If you use these tips to care for your painting tools well, you’ll have rollers that will last you through your entire paint job rather than having to replace them every day. Our five tricks and tips on how to clean a paint roller are below.
When it comes to cleaning paint rollers and paint brushes to get rid of the paint stuck on them, there are some established ways that the manufacturers recommend, and there are also some ingenious ways created by crazy individuals!
Cleaning Paint Rollers: The Easy, the Hard, and the Crazy
We list several of the best of these ways for cleaning paint brushes and rollers here. You may be surprised at some of the techniques, but they work.
There are unusual and straightforward methods to take care of all kinds of home renovating solutions, from paint removal on brushes to a DIY wallpaper remover, as well. Cleaners come in many forms and have varying degrees of success. If you need a natural rust remover for metal, we have a guide on that, too.
How to Clean Paint Rollers with Paint Roller Cleaner
Of course, the most obvious way to clean a roller sleeve is with a compound designed to remove the paint. Cleaning oil-based paint, for example, requires an entirely different method than water-based paint, and latex paint differs from both of those, too.
Depending on what type of paint you decide to use, the compounds below can help you clean them until they look like new again.
Your paint manufacturer will give different advice on cleaning off your paint supplies based on the type of paint you’re using. Regardless of which paint roller cleaner you use, how to clean paint rollers will usually involve rolling to remove excess paint on a wall or paint tray.
If instead of cleaning your paint roller, you are looking for a way to clean painted walls to get rid of stains and fingerprints, dish soap is probably your best bet. Wetting a cloth with water and a little dish soap will usually do the trick.
After rolling the paint roller in a tray, then you will be soaking the roll in the product in question, scrubbing any remaining paint off, then rinsing in warm water. If you’re using liquid soap, mix it with hot water in a large bucket to create a soapy water cleaning solution.
The best way to get acrylic paint out of clothes if you accidentally get some on yourself while painting is to use a soap and water mixture. Dab at the stain with a cloth dampened in the soapy water until no paint remains on the clothing. Wash as usual and your clothes will look as good as new.
For paint spots that may have dripped on your leather couch while redoing the living room walls, tackling the paint quickly is important so that it doesn’t set. For dried paint, the best way to get paint off leather is to rub it with a cloth dampened with alcohol or acetone.
You can also try one or more of these tricks and recipes to clean spray paint from concrete or if you accidentally dripped a blob or two that missed the tarp.
The Lazy Man’s Trick to Reusing Paint Rollers
If you don’t have the time to clean off your paint roller thoroughly, or if you’ll be using it in the same color paint tomorrow, you can always use the lazy man’s method instead of cleaning off your paint roller completely.
For the lazy man’s method, all you need to do is wrap your paint roller in plastic wrap or a plastic bag, then store it in the refrigerator.
This will keep the paint from hardening on the roller, and you can use it again the next day when it reaches room temperature. We still advise rinsing off any excess paint with a hose or faucet before throwing it in the fridge, though.
The Messiest (and Easiest) Method for How to Clean a Paint Roller
Believe it or not, the craziest way to clean a paint roller is actually the easiest, too. As long as you have a hose outdoors that water runs through, you can use this method to clean your rollers.
This cleaning method is a bit on the messy side, so we recommend changing into clothes that can get dirty and wet before trying it. Since you’re probably wearing paint-covered clothes already, you should be good to go!
This ingenious way to clean paint rollers involves using centrifugal force along with the pressure of a garden hose. With your hose on high, point it to the edge of your paint roller (it needs to be on the roller arm).
The hose will simultaneously spin the paint roller from the force and wash away the remaining paint, and the centrifugal force will fling the paint away from the roller, too. This method might not work as well for oil-based paint, but it’s excellent for water-based paints.
Paint roller “spinners” exist that can clean paint rollers in the same way. If you’d prefer, you can purchase one of these from a home improvement store instead.
If you used a paint roller to stain a new deck, try the garden hose or a paint roller spinner to get rid of excess stain. If you don’t have much success removing the stain, just toss the roller and use a new one, as they are relatively inexpensive.
Removing Stuck-On Paint from Paint Rollers
Stuck-on, dried paint is many times more difficult to remove than wet paint. While, in truth, buying a new paint roller may be easier than trying to salvage a dried one, there are still ways to do it. You can also use this method as a DIY paint brush cleaner if you have stuck-on paint that doesn’t seem to want to go away.
To clean stuck-on paint from a paint roller or a paint brush, try to scrape off as much paint as you can beforehand with a putty knife or multi-tool. Soak the paint roller in the paint remover best for the paint type you used (we covered this earlier).
You may have to let the paint roller or brush soak in the solution for a while to rehydrate the paint and get it to come off. When the paint’s gone, rinse and dry as usual.
Drying Paint Rollers (The Right Way)
This isn’t a method of cleaning paint rollers, but drying your roller the right way is just as essential as cleaning it correctly. Drying a paint roller the wrong way can affect how it works and paints during its next use.
To dry your paint roller covers, make sure to either stand them up on their side on some towels or slide them onto a dowel or clothes hanger. Letting a paint roller dry while lying horizontally on a surface is likely to compress the fibers on one side.
This can affect how well it paints the next time you use it. The same goes for storing the roller covers, too. To dry the paint roller itself, make sure to get all paint out of the mechanisms of the roller.
Shake the roller handle as much as you can to remove any excess water before leaving it out to dry, and towel dry it as much as you can. The dryer you can make it, the better, as inexpensive paint rollers can quickly rust when exposed to water.
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