How to clean brushes and rollers without polluting the environment

How to clean brushes and rollers

An easy to use cleaning system

This system is based on the use of two containers in which brushes, roller sleeves and other equipment are first washed and then rinsed. By rotating the containers the solids in the paint are separated from the liquid making it easier to dispose of each component.

This system will work well for both waterbased and solventbased (oil or alkyd) paints. For solventbased paints use mineral turpentine and any other paint solvent recommended by your local Resene ColorShop or Reseller.

Follow these steps:

In the case of waterbased paints:

By morning the paint solids in the first container will have settled down to the bottom of the container. The clear water from this container may now be poured onto the garden or any grassed or open area away from streams, rivers or lakes, where it can be absorbed into the ground.

Now to dispose of the paint solids at the bottom of the first container.
Scrape the paint solids out onto absorbent material such as old rags, shredded newspapers or cardboard boxes. Allow to dry, then place in a plastic bag and dispose of with the household rubbish or take directly to the nearest council tip.

The second container now can be used as the first wash. Use this rotation system until the job is completed.

In the case of solventbased paints, follow the same procedures as for waterbased paints but with these exceptions:

Never allow waste water or chemical solvents from washed paint equipment to enter household or storm water drains or sewers. The waste may find its way into natural waterways where it can reduce oxygen levels and threaten the survival of fish and other aquatic organisms.

Planning ahead
It's a good idea to keep a container of 'dirty turps' on hand for cleaning purposes. Kept in the original container and in a safe place, you will be able to reuse the solvent time and time again. Remember not to shake it up as this will disturb the paint solids which will have settled to the bottom of the container.

Tips for dealing with spills
If paint is accidentally spilt, clean it up as best as you can with a cloth or newspaper. Then treat with Resene Emulsifiable Solvent Cleaner and rinse with water. By treating the spilt paint with Resene Emulsifiable Solvent Cleaner before washing down you will save solvent and give yourself less work to do.

When moving from one worksite to another
A plastic pail with a tight fitting lid is ideal for the short term storage and transport of brushes and roller sleeves. Fill this pail about halfway with water so that brushes etc are covered. This will save you from having to clean brushes and rollers whenever work is interrupted.

Wrapping a paint brush in cling wrap will prevent the paint drying on the brush while you take a lunch break. Similarly put your roller into a plastic bag and tape it around the handle or submerge the roller in the paint in your roller tray to keep the paint moist during your break.

Download this information as a pdf.

View Videos

Resene Paints Ltd

Choose your Resene paint colours

Our vision is to be respected as an ethical and sustainable company and acknowledged as the leading provider of innovative paint and colour technology. View Resene’s profile and Environmental Policy.

Any personal data, such as name, address, phone, email details, supplied to Resene for the purposes of receiving newsletters, orders etc will be retained by Resene Paints Ltd and used only by Resene Paints Ltd and its trusted agencies for the purposes of communication/promotion/providing service to you. We do not sell, trade or otherwise transfer your personal data to outside third parties.. If you wish to opt out of communication from Resene please complete our contact us form. View our full Privacy Policy.

Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.

PO Box 924, Beenleigh, Queensland 4207
P: 1800 738 383. F: 1800 064 960

New Zealand:
PO Box 38242, Wellington Mail Centre, Lower Hutt 5045
P: +64 (4) 577 0500, 0800 RESENE (737 363). F: (04) 577 0600