What is the best way to environmentally clean brushes and rollers?

Cleaning paints out of brushes and rollers uses substantial amount of water or solvent. If you need to reuse the brush/roller again for the same job then an alternative to washing them is to place them in an airtight plastic bag, applying masking tape around the handle to keep the air out. This will keep the equipment supple over-night.

Washing solvent-based paint from brushes required the use of white spirit or solvent-based brush cleaners, which in themselves release VOCs when used, and are more difficult to dispose of because of their hazardous nature. Therefore, choosing water-based paints, where brushes can be washed in soapy water, can further reduce the environmental impact of decorating.

Cleaning water based paint. Then, with water-based paints, wash brushes with clean water or a solution of warm water and detergent.

Cleaning solvent based paint. For solvent-based paints, clean with Polycell Brush Cleaner or a specialist brush cleaner. These are more efficient than white spirit resulting in less solvent emissions. Always use a container only slightly larger than the brush itself as this helps to minimise solvent usage. The container should also have a tightly fitting lid to enable dirty solvents to settle. The clean solvent can then be poured back into the original bottle for re-use and the sediment left to dry before disposal.

Don’t pour paint or white spirit down the drain as the chemicals they contain can disperse and contaminate the water supply.

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