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The Best Paint Brush Cleaner To Keep Your Brushes Fresh

  1. Klean-Strip Brush Cleaner
  2. Sunnyside Brush Cleaner
  3. Kwikeeze Brush Cleaner
  4. Krud Kutter Brush-Wash Brush Cleaner
  5. OSMO Brush Cleaner and Thinner
  6. Buyer's Guide

Good paint brushes will provide excellent service for years, that is, if they’re properly taken care of. Proper cleaning and wrapping of a brush is an essential part of making sure that it will be usable for the next several years; but not everyone cleans their brushes properly.
Granted, having to stop basking in the joy of just having finished an interior decorating project, to clean your brushes isn't exactly something to bring joy to the heart. Many people put off cleaning their brushes but unfortunately, the longer you put it off, the harder those brushes are to clean. Leave them sitting long enough and they hard as a rock.
Modern acrylic/latex paints are much easier to clean out of paint brushes than oil-based paints are. All that's required most of the time is some warm water and a little bit of dish soap. But if the brush has been dipped too far into the paint, allowed to sit with paint in it or used in a hot environment  where paint hardens quickly, they can be extremely hard to clean. In those cases, a brush cleaner may be needed.
The problem isn't usually the paint that's on the ends of the bristles or even the paint which hardens on the outside of them. Rather, it's the paint that works its way up into the center of the bristles, close to the ferrule that holds the bristles and handle together. When this paint hardens, it eliminates the bristles' flexibility making it very easy for them to break.
Even brushes with paint hardened up close to the ferrule can be salvaged, if one has the patience to work with them. Brush cleaners will soften that paint, allowing it to be cleaned out. Since the bristles are packed so close together, cleaning out that softened paint takes time, working them with a brush comb. As the brush comb pulls out the softened paint, the bristles will become more pliable. Once all the paint is pulled out (which takes quite a bit of work) the bristles can be cleaned with soap and warm water to remove the chemical cleaner.
Not all chemical cleaners are created equal. Some clearly work better than others and some are limited in the types of paint they will work with. It's important to know what type of paint the brush has in it, before selecting a cleaner. Professional painters use different types of brushes for different types of paint, so this identification is easy for them. Most homeowners attempt to use the same type of brush for everything, so you'll have to look at the paint can labels to find out what type of paint you used.
After cleaning any paint brush, it should be wrapped in the original wrapper, so that it can maintain a good shape. High quality brushes come with wrappers which are designed to be reusable for this very reason. If you don't have the original wrapper, you can wrap them instead in newspapers, being careful to shape the bristles correctly to form a nice wedge.

For more information on what to look at in selecting the best brush cleaner in 2022, We have listed below the brush cleaner available for you to help you decide what product is best to buy.

Detailing the Best Brush Cleaner of 2022

Klean-Strip Brush Cleaner - Best Brush Cleaner Overall

I've used this product for years to salvage paint brushes of all types and it works just as well on natural bristle brushes as it does with synthetics. Likewise, it works just as well with oil-based paints or latex. Just leave any brush soaking in it for a little while and it will soften the paint, making it possible to clean out while the product itself cleans out of the brush with soap and water. This product not only cleans bristles, but conditions them as well. While not the most environmentally safe, it is excellent at what it does; just make sure to use in a well-ventilated area.

Sunnyside Brush Cleaner - Runner Up

Sunnyside's brush cleaner is just about as good as Klean-Strip's, but doesn't smell as bad. Like the Klean-Strip product, it will soften both oil-based and latex paints, whether fresh or hardened. The fast-acting formula can be cleaned out of the brushes with water. Restores brushes to like-new condition. Brushes can be immediately returned to use, without having to wait for them to dry.

Kwikeeze Brush Cleaner - Honorable Mention

Like the Sunnyside product, this brush cleaner contains no benzols or acids, making it a more environmentally friendly option than the Kleen-Strip product. It works very well with wet oil-based products as well, although it shouldn’t be used with wet water-based products. Kwikeeze brush cleaner is designed for cleaning out hardened paint of all types including brushes, rollers and can even remove varnish and lacquer. It contains no caustic substances, benzols or acids, making it more environmentally friendly than the Kleen-Strip product. This product is a great brush cleaner for use with wet oil-based paints as well, although you should not use it for wet latex paints. The paint solids will settle, allowing you to pour off the clear liquid to be reused.

Krud Kutter Brush-Wash Brush Cleaner - Consider

This is a fully biodegradable product, specifically formulated for use on synthetic brushes and roller covers. It’s not intended for use with natural bristle brushes but it does work with both oil-based and latex paints, as well as clear wood finishes. The brush needs to be given time to soak in the liquid, agitating it periodically. While slower to use than the other ones we've looked at, it does have the distinct advantage of being environmentally friendly.

OSMO Brush Cleaner and Thinner - Best Brush Cleaner

This cleaner falls between the Kleen-Strip and the Krud Kutter on the environmental friendliness scale. While it’s not biodegradable, it contains no benzene or d-limonene, and has a very low odor. This product is formulated more for use with residue from oil-based products, not water based ones. However, you can still use it as a brush cleaner for fresh water based paints as well. It is great for removing paint from other surfaces, such as cement and tile floors.

Buyer's Guide

Now that you have gone through our top 5 recommendations for the best brush cleaner, it is important to know about some pro buying tips as well. You should know that not all brush cleaners are the same, and not each of them will work the best for you.

There are a lot of personal preferences, considerations, and requirements you need to keep in mind before finally making the purchase. Moreover, like everything, you should look for some extra and convenient features in your new and best brush cleaner as well. Want to know more about those pro tips? Keep Reading!

Suitable with All Paint Types

The first and foremost thing you need to consider before buying the best brush cleaner. Let us face it – you are obviously not going to use the same paint on your brush, right? Instead, you will be using a variety of paints; from acrylic to oil colors to watercolors. Therefore, always make sure to opt for a brush cleaner versatile enough to support all types of paints. This way, you will be able to save yourself a lot of hassle, and get a multipurpose agent as well!


Trust me; your health and wellbeing are everything, so you should never compromise on them. Some cleaning agents have unhealthy, harmful, and toxic chemicals in their formulations that can cause a lot of harm even if they come in contact with your skin only. So, always make sure that the best brush cleaner you are planning to buy consists of all-natural and non-toxic ingredients. To cross-check, you can have a look at the packaging. If it mentions “ASRM – 6”, that means the cleaner is entirely safe to use. Also, non-toxic brush cleaners can be slightly more expensive than harmful ones, but safety should be your only concern.

Suitable with All Brush Types

There are two types of brushes available in the market: natural-haired and synthetic. Both types have their uses, and you never know when you need to use them. So, try to find a brush cleaner that supports both of these types. Especially if you are using a natural-haired brush, make sure to buy a cleaner with all-natural ingredients. Or else, your precious brush will get damage.

Conditioning Element

Another important feature to look for while buying the best brush cleaner is the conditioning element. If you are someone who uses your brushes frequently and cleans them often as well, chances are that the cleaner will harden their bristles while making them look like a broom. However, if you will have a conditioning brush cleaner, your brushes will always stay in a soft, smooth, and top-notch condition. Trust me; just like your hair, the bristles of your brushes also need a conditioner-like gentleness!


This is a bit of an extra and not-so-necessary factor to consider for some of us, but for a few, it can become a great deal. Some people can not just stand the smell of cleaning agents and their chemicals; it makes them feel nauseous, uncomfortable, and trigger their sinus problems. Therefore, if you are someone whose nostrils can not bear such smells, make sure to spend a few extra bucks and invest in an odorless and best brush cleaner.


Lastly, never forget to consider your budget, and the price of the best brush cleaner you are planning to buy. Try to find as many options as you can, compare their prices, and most importantly their functions. Sometimes two products can have exactly the same features, but their prices can vary. So, don’t let the price tags fool you, and always do thorough research on functionality and prices before finally making the purchase. Finding the ideal product at an ideal price is the wisest thing to do!

Best Brush Cleaner Types

You may already know that brush cleaners come in a lot of different types, each with its purposes and features. Still, let us take a brief look at the 3 basic types and how they work:

  • Water-dissolving agents: As the name implies, these brush cleaners work after you mix them in water. First, you clean the brush with the cleaner and then dip it in water for some time for thorough cleansing. However, water-dissolving agents can become a bit of a hassle if you are short on time.
  • Soap Cleaners: Again, as the name implies, these cleaners work and act as foamy soap. You just need to rub the cleaner of your brush, and the paint will automatically start coming off. They are the most common, easy-to-use, and effective types of brush cleaners.
  • Thinning Agents: Thinning agents are like a 2-in-1 thing. First, they are used as an agent to thin the paint before application. While on the other hand, they can also be used as a cleaning agent to scrub off paint from any surface.


Opting and looking for the best brush cleaner can be a tedious task, we know. But if you religiously follow all the tips and recommendations in this buying guide, we promise that you will nail the process!

Also, don’t forget to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. We always love to hear back from you. Enjoy your scrubbing adventures!

Best Brush Cleaner FAQs

Q. What is the professional way of cleaning brushes?

Ans. The most effective and professional way of cleansing your brushes is using the best brush cleaner. They clean all your brushes and their bristles thoroughly without leaving any paint residue behind.

Q. Can brush cleaners save a dried paintbrush?

Ans. If you are using the best brush cleaner, you will be able to excellently rescue a dried paintbrush as well. Just soak your paintbrush into the brush cleaner for a while, and then scratch off the residue conveniently. Whether it is cakes or dried, you will undoubtedly be able to bring it back into a new-like condition!

Q. Can you clean your brushes in the sink?

Ans. Yes, you can, but only if the water is directly going to the sewer system from your sink. However, if your sink has any link with the drinking or groundwater, just don’t take the risk. Or else, your drinking and bathing water can become contaminated and cause a lot of health problems.

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