This is one of those things that I have taken for granted for as long as I’ve been painting. I tend to just use a pot of water to clean my brushes and occasionally if I think they need a bit more I have some Vallejo brush cleaner. I even have some Vallejo brush conditioner if want to give them that extra bit if TLC. Then I came across an article on line about the benefits of using a conditioning brush soap. I have to say that I was a bit sceptical about whether or not it was worth it but being a sucker for trying something new I decided to get some and give it a go.
I went for some Broken Toad Conditioning Brush Soap from Artisan Quarters just because I have got things from them in the past and it comes in a plastic tub so would be easier to store. When it turned up I decided to give all my brushes, including my rough work ones that have lost their tips, a good clean. I have to say I was impressed and a bit shocked that brushes I thought were clean weren’t as clean as I thought. This seems to stem from the fact that when using the soap you pushing the brush into it and distorting the shape. This allows the soap to be worked all the way into the brush, disturbing any paint trapped between the bristles.
I then used fresh water and a towel to wash the soap out of the brush before applying some more soap, forming a tip and leaving it for half an hour, as per the instructions. I then cleaned the soap off again and hay presto you have a nice clean brush with a nice tip. Even some of my rough brushes had nice tips again after going through this process.
So I’m now sold on using a brush soap to keep my brushes in tip top condition. It means my brushes are likely to last a bit longer and with their tips staying nice an pointy I only have myself to blame when I can’t get the paint exactly where I want it.
If you haven’t tried a brush soap I would highly recommend one. I can’t tell you which the best is because I have only used the one, but I think it’s worth the cost. And judging by the size of the tub it’s going to take quite a while and a lot of cleaning before I’ll need to order any more.