Instead of washing that paintbrush, do this instead

I’ve been painting the outside of the house (with some help from my resident hat genius). But the part I hate is cleaning the brushes afterwards so they can be used again.

I clean them for two reasons:

  1. I might just be able to reuse them. That sometimes – rarely – does happen.
  2. I can feel my Dad’s pained expression at the thought of the waste involved in using a brush just once. That’s the main reason.

Do you have those brushes wrapped in plastic bags or propped up in empty containers that once held white spirits – long evaporated? As the days and weeks and months and years pass – the brushes harden into a state that makes them worthless by the next time you come to use them.

And you think to yourself, who was I kidding? I should have chucked them in the bin back then, instead of having them cluttering up the place.

But throwing a perfectly good, albeit painty, paintbrush away just doesn’t seem right. Sometime during the period between you storing it and then retrieving it, the morality shifts. But when exactly it becomes OK to bin it, is hard to pin down.

So the charade is repeated.

But what if there was an alternative to binning the used brush (and, OK, to properly cleaning and storing it – but let’s be realistic here)?

Well now there is – thanks to Variations on Normal. And it’s a natural solution that works with, not against, our natural laziness.

Turn your brushes into coat hooks. Cool.

No one will know you’re lazy and rubbish at DIY. They’ll think you’re an innovative quirky interior design guru. Result!



Filed under art

26 responses to “Instead of washing that paintbrush, do this instead

  1. I will not tell my father about your disgraceful lack of etiquette and disrespect for paint brushes and their care. I can’t imagine why you would blog about this before the ENTIRE world! Have you no shame? You need to get yourself right down to the PPBC(Presbyterian Paint Brush Church) and repent, for your very soul is in mortal danger. It is a good thing my father cannot read anymore or work a computer. You would certainly get a good thrashing. I know. When I was 5, I took my father’s freshly mineral spirits still wet perfectly cleaned brushes and held them over a fire I started so they would dry quickly. I’ll allow you to speculate what happened next. And next. Obviously, however, I survived but you may not fair so well if my father finds out about your immoral character defect. And you Europeans claim to be civilized people? Not by a long shot, buddy.

    • blackwatertown

      That’s it. I’ve finally stepped over the confessional line. Family, friends and all decent society will now begin to shun me.
      But on the other hand, you’ve clearly demonstrated yourself the dangers in cleaning brushes.I don’t fancy searing off my eyebrows just yet.

  2. Actually, I think that your solution to this perplexing problem is, indeed, ingenious. After all – the coat hooks would probably cost more anyway! And especially such quirky/arty/funky/individual/designer hooks! And anyway – no matter how well a paintbrush is cleaned – it never performs well at second use!!!

  3. I have endless uses for coathooks, I hang bags, hats, dog bits, etc on them.
    Thanks for this repurposing idea!

    • blackwatertown

      Well, it’s really Variations on Normal. Check him out – he has unique and useful take on life. Link in the post on on the side of the page in the Images group.

  4. That is some real out of the box thinking. In my basement fridge is a ziplock bag of (not that) cleaned paint brushes & rollers. I do not know how long they have been in there, or when I will ever use them. It was my mother-in-laws doing, so I’m thinking it’s about at least two years since my wife and her painted our kitchen. Any suggestions on how to re-purpose the rollers?

    • blackwatertown

      Fake up a boom mic for staging impromptu media events. Have someone follow you around with one and a director barking about it dipping into shot.
      Or… make a hat with it!

  5. I think I may have mentioned the coat hanger here before. Never junk a coathanger – I mean the old straightforward metal type. That wire is useful over a wide range of normal household and other activityies. You can, for example, make hooks for holding paint cans on ladders. I even fixed the bonnet of an R4 to the body of the car when the bolts went missing.

    Any ideas for left over gunpowder or stink bomb solution? Oh, I forgot, young people don’t do this sort of hands on stuff any more.

    • blackwatertown

      Disaster – the link is not working for me. Can you check it?

      • Don’t know what is going on.

        I cleared my cache and then clicked on the link here and it worked fine.

        Two observations: (i) might it be a temporary problem with WordPress? (ii) you have to go from the actual link above as it contains the id and password to access the online folder. Bookmarking it from the page itself will not bring up the page again. If you want to bookmark it you should do it by right clicking on the link above.

        If it’s still not cleared up let me know just what is happening at your end and I’ll try and figure it out.

      • blackwatertown

        Sorry – doesn’t work even when I copy the link into a new tab.

      • Have forwarded link to Brussels and Luxembourg and it’s working OK for them. Luxembourg did report a phishing warning which is probably because the link to which you are brought is slightly different to the one you clicked on (eg minus ID and password). Maybe you have automatic anti-phishing on which is denying access.

        Anyway, for those for whom the link does not work, it can be done the hard way. Just try this link: and when it asks for ID and password stick in parent and allow respectively.

        Hope that sorts it out. Was being too smart by half.

    • The latest access option to your link works!
      So much for dropping mentoes into fizzy drinks – your suggestions are much more explosive. I must try them out with my own boy.
      If you really were nearly arrested – I suspect it was your own parents dobbing you in before you took the roof off the house.

      • Glad you got in at last.

        You can make the treasure map a bit more realistic by treating the paper in advance.

        Get a piece of greaseproof paper (or whatever it’s called nowadays) and brush on a light coating of ordinary milk. Put it under the grill for a minute or so and when you take it out it should look like parchment.

        Do this BEFORE impregnating it with the potassium.

        Adds to the effect.

        Good luck.

  6. BWT, for once I am glad that my late wife is late. If she could see this post, she will haunt you for the rest of your life, till you meet her and apologize for the insult to her preferred tool of her trade.

  7. Seems to me like you’d better brace yourself for a serious bout of “Blackwatertown bashing!” These washed-paint-brush respectors/lovers lol do sound awfully wrathful 😉 But paintbrush coat hooks…hmm…perhaps you could be forgiven for not cleaning your brushes…they would make awesome meat hooks for the Wolfie dinner!! 😉

    • blackwatertown

      Perhaps it’s a cross-Atlantic culture shock sorta thing – which coincidentally is tomorrow Loose Bloggers Consortium topic – and hopefully a distraction from my brush with paint-related peril.

  8. Ha! I am an avid brush and roller cleaner – and I reuse them time and time again. The coat hook idea is interesting, but if I had them I’d feel the shame of improper washing every time I looked at them!

  9. Giles

    I’ve just painted the outside of our house as well and, yes, thrown away three paint brushes, two of which had been left to congeal for several months in a jam jar full of not very white white spirit. A kind of sludgy green if you want to know. Unlike you the history of Catholicism in my family is well buried so I got over it soon enough. But I do feel the waste. (As opposed to feeling a waist.) So I read your opening lines with a sense of mounting excitement, in anticipation of a circle being completed, a hole plugged. A solution to the thorny, age-old DIY quandary of how to get enough of the paint out to make them re-useable. What do you do after dipping them in white spirit? Run them under a tap? In which sink? And mightn’t that stain the sink and spark domestic conflict? Tip water over them into a bucket or other receptacle? But where then to dispose of the dirty, painty water? Down the drain? Not very Green. The answers to all these questions, asked so often, weary in my bed at the end of a day of DIY drudgery, surely, finally awaited me. They were just a short blog away. Knowing you as I do, revering you as I do, I should have known better. When I saw there were 21 comments the embers of my hope reignited briefly. But no, not one of your smart readers seems to know either. To try to derive some benefit from this experience I’ve removed the coat rack from the cloak room wall to make way for the paint brushes. But please Paul, what did your Da do?

    • blackwatertown

      Behind a big bushy bush – and hope for rain to wash the evidence off the leaves before I am found out.
      But I’ll ask my Dad tomorrow – there’s a gathering over here for a christening.

  10. blackwatertown

    So… I asked my Dad and he said – tip it in the garden when no one is looking. So I’ve been doing the right thing all along.
    Then he realised I was going to write this here and said: “Hang on. That’s not really what I do,” as he thought furiously. “What I in fact do is, take it to the local council depot to have it disposed of safely…” And he kind of petered out at that point.

  11. Giles

    Jeez, that’s a terrible anti-climax. You mean Dads don’t know everything?

  12. Kelly

    You have got a really outstanding web site. Lily and I found it via digg.

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