Together with the research institute RISE, we have investigated how to sustainably dispose of used painting tools. The survey showed us that 60%* of people wash their paintbrushes directly in the sink, risking that plastics, metals and other hazardous substances from paint end up directly in the drains. These types of dyes cannot be cleaned by wastewater treatment plants, which means that hazardous substances are released directly into the sea, where they have a harmful effect on the environment. Below we show you how to take care of your brush in a sustainable way.
*Source: RISE, 2021
How to clean your brushesFor indoor brushes up to 100mm, we recommend washing out the brush according to the instructions below. However, in the case of facade brushes, they are designed to absorb a lot of paint and are therefore difficult to clean in a sustainable way. Therefore, use our bevel brush with accompanying storage box between strokes and dispose of the brush in the incinerator after use.
1. Remove as much paint as possible
Try to remove as much paint as possible from the brush by scraping the paint off the edge of the paint can, this way you will also save as much paint as possible that you can reuse in another project instead of throwing it away.
2. Clean the brush
Place the brush in a bucket of lukewarm water (about 35°C) for at least 30 seconds. Use 3 litres of water for brushes up to 50mm, and 5 litres for brushes up to 100mm. Press the brush lightly against the bottom of the bucket to get the paint out properly. You can also massage the brush lightly with your hand to get it properly clean. Finish by gently scraping the brush bristles against the edge to remove as much paint as possible. Be sure to keep the brush in the water for at least 30 seconds.
Tip!Use a bucket or other container that you have at home, which you were going to dispose of anyway.
3. Repeat the process
Then place the brush in another bucket with 3-5 litres of lukewarm water (about 35°C) and repeat the previous step, pressing the brush lightly against the bottom of the bucket, massaging the brush lightly if it does not come completely clean for at least 30 seconds.
4. Let dry
Then let the brush dry completely with the brush facing downwards, so that the water does not run into the plugs. This can cause the brush bristles to fall off.
Tip!Use the brush holder to hang your brush on the edge of the bucket, for example.
5. Take care of waste water
Now it’s time to take care of the water you cleaned your brushes in. You can either return the buckets or containers you cleaned the brush in, or you can pour the water into a larger container (such as a large paint can), so you don’t have to return two buckets. Just be sure to clearly label the bucket or container with what it contains, such as “Brush Wash”.
6. Return the water to an environmental station
Then take your water to your nearest environmental station and leave it in hazardous waste. If you have a major renovation project that lasts several days, you can put your buckets away and take them with the rest of your waste to the recycling centre when you’re finished. This way you avoid unnecessary transport and emissions.
Just need a break from painting? Make sure to store the brush properly.
Should you just take a break and continue painting later, or the next day? Some of our brushes offer storage boxes that keep the brush moist while you pause, such as our Platinum Precision brush. Otherwise, you can put your brush in a plastic bag and close it tightly so that no air gets in, and the brush will stay moist.
Tip!Have you finished painting with your roller? We show you how to take care of it in the most sustainable way here: Taking care of your roller after painting