How to Clean Paint Brushes for Miniatures: 9 Easy Steps to Maximizing Brush Life and Quality

Paint Brush cleaning

How to Clean Paint Brushes for Miniatures: 9 Easy Steps to Maximizing Brush Life and Quality

As a miniature painter with over 20 years of experience, I can tell you that properly caring for your brushes is absolutely 100% essential if you don’t want to spend lots of money. Your brushes are the main tool that will bring your artistic ideas to life, so keeping them in peak condition should be a top idea for yourself to save money

In this comprehensive guide from our team at Warhammer Universe, I’ll share everything you need to know about cleaning most paint brushes. You’ll learn when and how to clean your brushes, what products to use, as well as tips to avoid most of the common issues like split and damaged brushes. My goal is to help you preserve the lifespan of your brushes so you can continue painting without having to constantly buy new brushes.


How to Clean Paint Brushes for Miniatures: When Should You Clean Miniature Paint Brushes?

Here is the recommended cleaning schedule:

  1. After Every Painting Session: Perform a thorough wash and rinse with clean, cool or lukewarm water. I highly recommend using a a good brush soap for cleaning.
  2. Weekly or Every 3-4 Hours of Painting: Do a deeper clean using a liquid brush cleaner and then use a restorer. This crucial step removes paint bits that are deeper in the bristles and up in the ferrule.

Cleaning regularly prevents paint buildup that can impede usage. Don’t just clean for aesthetics – do it to maintain the crisp tips! Acrylic dries quickly, so don’t let it destroy your brushes.


How to Clean Paint Brushes for Miniatures: How to Clean Miniature Paint Brushes in 9 Easy Steps

Read our guide here for The Best Brushes for Miniature Painting

Follow this simple 9-step process to clean your mini paint brushes correctly:

  1. Rinse in Clean Water – After painting, rinse brushes in clean water to remove left over paint. Gently swirl them around.
  2. Use Brush Soap Work up a nice soapy soapy lathering using a brush soap. Carefully rub it into the bristles and up towards the top.
  3. Rinse Again – Rinse the soap off with cold water. Repeat steps as needed to fully remove paint residues.
  4. Reshape Bristles – Gently reshape bristles into a fine point before drying. This helps keep bristles sharp and helps it retain it’s form.
  5. Dry Properly – Dry brushes vertically with bristles facing down or horizontally on a brush rest.
  6. Freshen Up Weekly – Every few hours of painting, deep clean with a liquid brush restorer to restore them and not leave paint stains.
  7. Handle Carefully – When using brushes, don’t let paint get into ferrule or bashed on surfaces. This can permanently damage them.
  8. Store Properly – Keep brushes in a dry, room temperature area. Protect bristle tips with included cap, if you live in a place with higher humidity caps are not needed.
  9. Replace When Needed – If a brush loses its point or becomes irreparably damaged, it’s time to replace it. You can always hold onto a brush that helped you make memories but sometime it’s better to let go and get a new one.

As you can see, caring for your mini brushes doesn’t need to be complicated or time consuming. Just follow these easy steps and you’ll have happy, healthy brushes for years to come, saving you a lot of money in the process.

Next, let’s look at the best products to use for cleaning miniature paint brushes.


Best Cleaning Products for Miniature Paint Brushes

  1. Dedicated Brush Soap

For regular cleaning after every session, a dedicated brush soap is my top recommendation. It’s formulated specifically for brush maintenance. The Gentle Pencil Masters Brush Cleaner & Preserver is a cheap yet effective option used by miniature painters worldwide.

It removes acrylic buildup, conditions bristles, and helps reform tip shape. To use it, simply lather the soap into damp bristles, rinse, and repeat as necessary. I apply it after each session. It keeps brushes like new and costs next to nothing!

  1. Brush Restorer Solution

For deeper cleaning, use a liquid brush restorer weekly or so. My favorite is Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner & Restorer. It gets deeper to eliminate residues up in the ferrule.

To use, submerge the metal portion 10-30 minutes. Rinse and reshape tip. Don’t submerge handles in solutions as it can damage them. This revives brushes impressively!

  1. Brush Conditioner

Jentastic Drunken Brush Goop is a top-notch conditioner. Use weekly to restore natural oils in bristles, maintaining moisture, suppleness, and resilience. Just massage into bristles until smooth. It’s a game changer. I can’t recommend this product enough for bringing life back into your brushes

  1. Proper Drying Tool

Drying is crucial! Use a holder like the Clear Acrylic Horizontal Brush Holder. It keeps bristles facing down so gravity pulls most of the moisture away from ferrule, avoiding damage.


Tips to Avoid Splitting & Damaged Miniature Paint Brushes

Read here for a more in depth view of How to keep Sharp Tips on Brushes for Miniatures

Nothing is more frustrating than a favourite brush splitting mid-detail work! By following these tips, you can avoid this by following these tips:

  1. Keep Paint Out of Ferrule

Never allow paint to touch the metal ferrule during painting or cleaning. Acrylic dries and glues bristles together, destroying precise tips. If a brush starts splitting, paint likely reached the ferrule. Prevent this at all costs!

  1. Use Cheap Brushes for Mixing & Dry Brushing

Reserve your high-quality brushes for detail painting only! Use cheap brushes for scooping paint, mixing, or dry brushing instead. This protects your investment. Bonus – use old split brushes for this!

  1. Change Water Frequently

While painting, frequently change rinse water to avoid paint particle buildup. Metallic paints especially warrant prompt water replacement. Murky water damages bristles and ferrules despite looking clean!

  1. Clean Properly After Each Session

Never allow paint to fully dry on bristles. Dry acrylic permanently sticks to hair, matting tips. Quickly rinse brushes in clean water during sessions. Letting them dry even briefly can mean their demise!

Rusted Space Marine


Special Considerations By Brush Bristle Type

Bristle materials have unique care requirements:

Read our article on Sable Brush hairs for Minatare painting

  • Synthetic Bristles: Durable and affordable. Clean like sable brushes.
  • Natural Sable Hair: Delicate but exceptional for detail work. Require extra TLC.
  • Ox Hair (Hog Bristle): Hearty bristles for dry brushing. Clean thoroughly to avoid fat residue buildup.


As you can see, properly caring for your miniature paint brushes is vital for their performance and longevity. By following this guide, your brushes will stay like new so you can focus on bringing imaginative projects to life through the power of thought.

Remember to clean gently but thoroughly after every session using quality brush soaps. Reshape tips before drying for best results. Deep clean weekly with liquid restorers to keep brushes looking great and being useful for longer.

I hope you found these miniature paint brush cleaning tips helpful! Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions. Happy brush cleaning and painting!


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