Knowing how to clean chalk paint brush is one of the important steps to ensuring your paint brushes stay in shape and last longer. You wouldn’t want to invest in new high-quality brushes only for them to get destroyed with paint.                      

Chalk paint is the option you go for when you want a matte, distressed look for your wooden projects. The most common way of applying this paint is by using a paint brush. Since the painted furniture requires a wax sealer, most painters prefer to use a brush to apply the wax.

How do you then clean these chalk paint brushes and chalk paint wax brushes? This great post has all the details below. Read on.  

How To Clean Chalk Paint Brushes

First, wring out excess paint from your brush using your fingers. Next, run warm water through the brush while squeezing more paint out until the bristles appear visibly brighter. Then, use a mild soap and rub the bristles on your palm. Finally, thoroughly rinse your brush until the water runs clear.

Supplies for cleaning chalk paint brushes

  • White vinegar
  • Fabric softener
  • Painter’s comb or wire brush
  • Dish soap
  • Small container
  • Paper towel
  • Mineral spirits
  • Lots of water

How do you Clean Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint Brush?

Annie Sloan’s chalk paint brush is the easiest to clean, especially if the paint in the bristles is still fresh or wet. Chalk paint is water-based paint: meaning all you need is water to clean brushes filled with chalk paints. 

You will be using synthetic brushes with chalk paint: it works well with water-based paints, stains, and varnishes. While natural bristle brushes (animal hair) brush works well with oil paint, stains, and varnishes.

Read more: Best brushes for oil based paint.

The steps

Step 1: Begin by squeezing as much paint as you can out of the brush.

Step 2: Run warm water through the bristles and keep squeezing to remove as much paint from the bristles as possible. You can do this down the sink in your workshop without any worry about damaging your pipes.

Step 3: Once you’ve removed the most paint, apply some soap and thoroughly clean the bristles. Next, you can use your fingers to lather the bristles and press out the remaining paint.

Step 4: Rinse again with running water. Repeat the step above until you remove all the paint from your synthetic brush.

Step 5: Straighten any fly bristles with your fingers, then wrap them with a paper towel to dry and maintain their shape.

Step 6: Let your brush dry, laying flat or with bristles hanging face down.

Another way of cleaning a chalk paint brush is by creating a cleaning solution with white vinegar and water. Mix this solution in a container and dip it in your paint brush. Let it soak for 30 minutes. Then, press down the bristles on the container to release paint stuck in the bristles.

Rinse your brush under warm water. Apply soap to your bristles and rub it on your palm to lather up, then brush through the bristles using a painter’s comb or a wire brush. Finally, rinse your brush thoroughly until the water runs clear. Allow your brush to dry.

Read: Can you put polyurethane over chalk paint?

How to Clean Dried Chalk Paint on Paint Brushes

It’s easier to clean a paint brush while it’s still fresh. But, if you forgot to wash your paint brush in time and now it’s dry and stiff, don’t throw it away.

The advantage here is, the chalk paint dried on your brush is water-based. This means you can restore and reuse your chalk paint brush.

The steps

Step 1: Try removing the crusty paint with a metal spoon. If it’s too stiff, run a little water to wet the bristles.

Step 2: Put a little fabric softener and mix with water in a glass jar or a container: The fabric softener and water mixture won’t only loosen the paint but also soften the bristles.

Step 3: Put your dried chalk paint brush in the container. Dip it just enough to submerge the bristles but ensure the metal part of your brush (ferrule) doesn’t stay soaked in water.

Step 4: Let it soak for hours or overnight. Check-in occasionally to see if the paint has softened.

Step 5: Swirl it around to loosen some of it once the paint has softened enough to wash off.

Step 6: Separate the bristles using your fingers or a wire brush to remove paint from wood that might still be stuck. 

Step 7: Run warm water while you continue “detangling” the paint brush bristles. You can also use some soap suds to help speed up the cleaning process. 

Step 8: Repeat the steps as many times as you want until you have a clear brush once again.

Step 9: Wash your paint brush following the same steps as washing a paint brush with fresh chalk paint on it. Then dry it in the same way we have mentioned before: flat or bristles hanging facedown.

How to Clean Annie Sloan Wax Brush

While you can apply wax to your furniture using a lint-free cloth, using a brush can also give you excellent results. Since most waxes are oil-based, you’ll use a natural bristle brush.

However, the wax brush bristles will eventually get clogged up and become stiff or tacky with regular use. At this point, you need to clean it up. Then, you can use warm water or mineral spirits.

It’s recommended that you get separate chalk paint wax brushes for separate wax colors: that way, you can occasionally wipe the excess wax without washing the brush.

Read: Is Chalk Paint Waterproof?

The steps

Step 1: Put a little mineral spirit into a small bowl: Enough to soak up the bristles and not drown the ferrule. Ideally, odorless mineral spirits are better for you.

Step 2: Dip your tacky wax brush into the bowl and let it soak for about a minute to dissolve all the wax.

Step 3: Swirl the brush and press it on the bottom of the bowl to break down the wax and loosen the excess wax from the bristles. You will notice the mineral spirits taking up the color of the wax in your bristles.

Step 4: Once the wax brush bristles are cleaner and there’s no more significant tackiness, it’s time to wash it in warm water and soap.

Step 5: Run warm water through the bristles and rub on some grease-cutting soap. Lather up the bristles and use your finger to squeeze out the foam and any remaining wax. You can also use a painter’s comb to brush through the bristles.

Step 6: Rinse your brush thoroughly under running water. Squeeze and flick the brush to remove excess water. 

Step 7: Gently wrap your brush in a paper towel and set it flat to dry, or you can hang it to dry, with the bristles facing downward.

Related read: How to remove paste wax from furniture.

How To Keep Your Chalk paint brush From Drying Amidst Painting

This is an excellent tip for those occasions where you don’t want to clean your paint brush while taking a break. Instead, you want to ensure your paint brush remains moisturized so that your paint goes on smoothly when you resume painting.

If you take a break for a few hours, you can put it in a zip lock bag and leave it in your painting area. But, if you’ll take a day before you start painting again, you can put the paintbrush in a zip lock bag and put it in the refrigerator.

Another alternative for zip lock bags is wrapping your paintbrush in Aluminum foil and storing it well until you can resume your painting project.

Do you Need to Condition Chalk Paintbrushes?

Yes, you need to regularly condition your chalk paint brushes to maintain them in the best working conditions. Regular washing with dish soap will eventually make the bristles brittle leading to easy breakage. Conditioning keeps them soft enough and intact.

You can use a fabric softener or hair conditioner with coconut oil—Mix 1/2 cup of the softener or conditioner with 1 cup of water. Next, dip your paintbrush in the solution: ensure all the bristles are submerged like you would clean the dried chalk paint brushes.

Let it soak for a few hours. Finally, rinse the brush in warm running water and let them dry completely before the subsequent use.

You can use this solution to condition brushes with natural bristles and synthetic bristles.


How do you clean brushes after using chalk paint?

First, squeeze out the excess chalk paint from your bristles. Next, clean your brush under warm running water. Once you’ve removed the most paint from your bristles, use a mild soap and a painter’s comb to brush through the bristles. Then rinse and repeat this process until the water runs clear, and your painting brush is clean.

How do you get dried chalk paint off a brush?

Soak your dried chalk paint brush bristles in a mixture of water and fabric softener for several hours or overnight. When you finally remove the wet brush, use a wire brush to remove chalk paint that might be stuck. If it doesn’t come off easily, continue soaking it for longer or resolve for a chalk paint remover. Finally, clean with soap suds and rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Read also: How to avoid scratches on chalk paint.

Can you reuse chalk paint brushes?

Yes, you can. If you clean your chalk paint brushes properly and condition them from time to time, you can reuse them for several years to come. Also, store it well to keep the bristles in shape. 

Can you wash chalk paint down the sink?

Yes, you can. Chalk paint is water-based and non-toxic. This means you can wash it down the sink worry-free: it won’t clog or damage your drainage pipes.

Can you leave paintbrushes in water overnight?

Yes, you can leave a dried paintbrush in water overnight. However, only dip the bristles in water and not the metal part of your brush. This ensures the metal part doesn’t rust and the epoxy holding the bristles together stays intact.

Can you leave a paintbrush in mineral spirits overnight?

Yes, even though mineral spirits work within minutes if the paint on the brush is still fresh. But, if the paintbrush has dried oil-based paint, stains, or varnish, then you may have to leave your paintbrush soaking overnight. 

How do I prevent paint brushes from drying out?

You can prevent your paint brushes from drying out by putting them in a zip lock bag and sealing them well until the next time you’re ready to resume painting. Alternatively, you can wrap the paintbrushes in aluminum foil or saran wrap.

How do I get wax off my chalk paintbrush?

Dip your wax brush into a bowl with mineral spirits and let it soak for a minute. Next, swirl and press down the bristles to release the wax into the mineral spirits. Once your bristles no longer feel tacky, rinse your brush under warm running water.

In the absence of mineral spirits, warm soapy water will still get the job done.

How do I condition chalk paintbrushes?

Soak your chalk paintbrushes in a solution of fabric softener and water for several hours. When you finally remove your paintbrushes, brush through the bristles using a painter’s comb and thoroughly rinse them under warm running water.

How do I care for chalk paintbrushes?

Caring for chalk paint brushes is relatively easy since chalk paint is water-based. First, remove excess paint from your paint brushes and wash them with warm water and soap suds. Finally, rinse them until the water runs clear.


Now that you know how to clean chalk paint brush and chalk paint wax brush and how to condition them, you can reuse them for years. Remember, proper painting brush maintenance is all it takes for them to last longer and work efficiently on your DIY projects.

Since chalk paint is water-based, plenty of water is all you will essentially need when cleaning your brushes.  Feel free to use some soap suds and a painter’s comb for thorough cleaning.

Brush the bristles facing downward and trim any loose bristles. Set your brush flat or hang it to air dry. That’s all there is.

See you in the next one.

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