How to Clean Enamel Paint?

Learn how to keep your paintbrushes and painted surfaces clean

Whenever we are doing any paint job at home, there is always the moment when some cleanup has to be done. Typically, it means cleaning the area where we were painting, but also, it means cleaning the painting tools that we were using.

Those are brushes and less often, paint rollers.

But here is the question: how do you clean paintbrushes if you were working with enamel paint? Quite many home painters feel uncertain about this, and today, we want to make it clear for you.

In this article, we will tell you in detail how you can clean your paintbrushes if you were using them for enamel paint.

Moreover, you will learn how to clean off both water-based enamel paint and oil-based enamel paint.

In addition, we will tell you more about this type of paint so that you understand better how it should be cleaned. And also, you will find out how to maintain a surface painted with enamel paint correctly.

All You Need to Know About Cleaning Enamel Paint

Enamel paint is known to be quite tricky. This is why, when you need to clean it off your paintbrushes, you might feel a bit uncertain regarding what cleaning methods to use and what cleaning products will be more effective on this type of paint.

Below, we have prepared a detailed step-by-step guide for you on this subject.

You will learn how to clean off water-based enamel paint from your brushes, and also, what cleaning method and cleaning products will be more suitable for dealing with the oil-based type of this paint.

All You Need to Know About Cleaning Enamel Paint

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How to Clean Water-Based Enamel Paint Off Brushes?

So, how do you clean water-based enamel paint from your brush and make sure that there is no residue or particles of paint left in between the bristles? First of all, get ready properly!

For this cleaning procedure, you will need the following tools:

  1. Warm water
  2. Dish soap or Super clean
  3. Brush comb
  4. Paper towel

After you get all the items that are on the list, you can proceed and go through the following steps (luckily, the cleaning process is relatively simple!):

How to Clean Water-Based Enamel Paint Off Brushes

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Remove the Excess Paint From Your Brush

First of all, you will want to remove as much paint as you can from the bristles of your brush.

This is quite easy to do, simply scrape the paint off moving against the paint’s rim, or use any clean cloth instead.

Also, to make sure there is no paint left on your brush, pull off any strips or clumps of paint using your fingers to clean the bristles.

However, we want to warn you! Be very careful when doing so because it is possible to scrape the brush so hard that it gets damaged!

Mix the Warm Water and Dish Soap

Now, it is time to prep your cleaning solution.

  • Take enough warm water
  • Pour it in a bowl or bucket
  • Then add a dash of dish soap to it.
  • Mix everything thoroughly until the solution is sudsy.
  • As an option, you can use super clean directly.

Soak the Brush In The Soapy Water

Once you prepared the soapy cleaning solution, it is time to give your paintbrush a good bath!

  • Swirl your brush in the soapy mixture until you see the paint is removed.
  • Alternatively, spray the super clean on the brush directly.
  • If needed, make use of your fingers for separating the bristles and get rid of the dried paint strips or clumps.

At this stage of the cleaning process, many of you may face the issue of water-based paint being already dried on the brush. What shall you do in this case?

If this happens to you, you need to soak the bristles in soapy water for around 20 minutes. It will help you loosen the dried paint. Then you can swirl the brush around and the stubborn paint should be removed easily.

Rinse Your Brush Well

Now that your paintbrush is paint-free, you need to remove the soap suds from its bristles. To do this, simply rinse it with the help of a faucet or hose.
Afterward, using the brush comp, scrape off any remaining paint that can be seen on the bristles.

Dry the Brush Well

Finally, after you wash and rinse your paintbrush, and you make sure that all the paint and soapy suds are removed, it is time to dry it. Before you do so, shake your brush off to remove any remaining water.

And then just dab it with paper towels. We recommend you make use of a regular paper towel (like the one you use in your kitchen) for drying the brush.

It is not mandatory to make the brush completely dry, of course. However, we would not recommend you store your paintbrush with the water remaining on the bristles. If it happens, that water can make the bristles weak after a while.

How to Clean Up Oil-Based Enamel Paint from Brushes?

Now that you know exactly how you should clean off water-based enamel paint from a paintbrush, let’s see how to do it if you used an oil-based alternative.
This time, these are the tools and products you will need for a brush cleaning procedure:

  1. Paint thinner/ mineral spirit
  2. Protective rubber gloves
  3. Face mask
  4. A plastic container
  5. Brush comb
  6. Paper towel

As you can see, we already have certain distinctions! Now let’s move on and find out what exactly should be done step by step.

How to Clean Up Oil-Based Enamel Paint from Brushes

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Put On Your Safety Gear

When you are going to clean off oil-based enamel paint from your brush, you must always remember to put on your “safety kit” first! This is because paint thinners that will be used may lead to chemical burns if they get on your skin!

So, to avoid being hurt and traumatized, you should always wear a protective face mask and rubber gloves.

Both will keep you safe from the chemicals. Also, remember to keep the windows in your room open while cleaning the brushes.

Apply The Paint Thinner to The Brush

Now, after you are ready and you have all the tools on you, it is time to start the brush-cleaning process.

  • Take a clean container or jar.
  • Pour the paint thinner into it. Be very careful while doing the job to avoid the paint thinner spill or splash!
  • After that, take the brush and swirl it around the paint thinner.
  • Keep doing it for around 30 seconds.

After half a minute, you will start noticing that the solvent is removing the paint from your brush. You will understand that because the paint thinner will take the color of your paint.

At this stage, you should never soak the brush for more than 30 seconds! If you do so, the chemical solvent may weaken the bristles.

Apply The Paint Thinner to The Brush

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Comb Through the Bristles

It’s time for combing now! You will need a brush comb for that. Combing through the bristles of your brush allows you to break up any clumps of paint that might get stuck there.

But please, remember to do it gently! Otherwise, you will simply pull the bristles out, leaving your paintbrush bold!

And remember that you may need to run the comb 7-10 times until you see that the bristles are totally paint-free.

Refill the Container With Clean Paint Thinner

Yes, you go it right, you are going to repeat this step again. Simply swirl the brush in a clean paint thinner again. Why would you need that again?

Well, in order to remove the very last remaining bits of paint that might be stuck in between the bristles somewhere.

Rinse and Dry the Brush

Finally, we are almost there! This is the last step of your brush-cleaning procedure. Using clean water, rinse the brush thoroughly. Then, shake it off to remove any excess water. Finally, gently dab the bristles with a paper towel.

Like this, you are now aware of the detailed process of cleaning your paintbrushes that were used for working with enamel paint, both water-based and/or oil-based. Like that, you will be able to keep your painting tools clean and in a good state longer.

How Do You Clean Enamel-Paint Surface?

Enamel paint is durable and resistant to damage, this is why so many homeowners choose this type of paint for their interior painting projects. However, things are a bit different when it comes to cleaning surfaces that are painted with enamel paint.

In this case, it is on the contrary best to use less abrasive materials.

Here are some general cleaning recommendations for those of you who have walls or other surfaces pained with enamel paint at home:

  • Dust your walls and ceiling at least once per year. For this, your vacuum’s brush attachment will work great!
  • To get rid of dirt, opt for a mild solution of warm water and dish soap.
  • To cope with tougher stains, try using a baking soda paste or a Magic Eraser.

Below, you can find a more detailed description of the cleaning routine that will help you to keep your painted surfaces clean and good-looking.

How Do You Clean Enamel-Paint Surface

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Do Regular Cleaning Routine

You need to dust your painted walls at least once every year.

Removing dust regularly is important for keeping enamel-painted surfaces in a good state and nice-looking. But if you need a more thorough cleaning, opt for the method we provide below.

Dust the Surface

First of all, it is important to get rid of the layer of dust on the surface you are going to clean.

  • Using the brush attachment on your vacuum, run it over the walls and/or ceilings.
  • For smaller areas, a hand duster will be a good substitute.
  • Always dust before starting a deeper clean.

Make a Cleaning Solution

If you can see dirt and/or smudges on your painted walls, those will require something stronger than just a simple dusting. However, you can easily make it with the help of mild dish soap and warm water!

  • Fill a medium-sized bucket with warm water
  • Add a few drops of mild dish detergent.
  • Mix all the components together.
  • Fill a separate bucket with just warm water.

When the solution is ready, you can move on to the next step.

Dampen a Non-Abrasive Sponge With the Solution

Take a non-abrasive sponge (remember that we need to be gentle, right?) and dunk it into the bucket filled with the cleaning solution that you have just prepared. Remember to squeeze the sponge to remove excess solution since it has to be dampened but not dripping!

Work In Sections

Finally, this is the cleaning stage! Divide the surface you are going to clean into several vertical sections and clean them, doing one at a time. Start from the top and work your way down to the bottom, scrubbing the surface in circular motion delicately.

When you notice that your sponge is dirty, dip it back into the solution, wring it out, and continue.

If the water in the bucket starts to look dirty, feel free to dump it out and make a new batch of cleaning solutions. Luckily, it doesn’t take much time to do that!

Work In Sections

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When you’re done scrubbing, rinse each section with clean water. For that purpose, you will need a second sponge to use with the clean water (which means that you will also need a second bucket).

Just like with scrubbing, start at the top and move down, wiping section after section and rinsing away the cleaning solution.

Dry the Surface

The final stage is drying. You need to make sure that the surface you were cleaning is now completely dry with no moisture on it. Dry it with a towel, thoroughly working on each section.

Also, it’s best to use a fresh towel on each section. Like that, you will be able to remove excess moisture from the surface.

Now you know how you should clean any surface that is painted with enamel paint. As you can see, there is nothing difficult about the process, it’s just important that you follow all the recommendations precisely.

What Enamel Paints Are?

Before you start the cleanup process, it is good to have at least some basic idea about enamel paints and their types. This is so important because each type of this paint requires an individual cleanup procedure.

If you use enamel paints often enough, you most likely know that when they dry, they create a solid, lustrous, and durable finish. People usually use enamel paints if they need a glossy trim for surfaces that require a shiny finish but must withstand constant washing as well.

All enamel paints offer you a hard, glossy, and washable finish. However, there are two basic types of enamel paint that have certain distinctions:

  • Water-based paint
  • Oil-based paint

The first type (water-based) usually dries faster and can be recognized by a low odor. The second type, oil-based, dries slower and comes with a strong solvent scent.

Also, oil-based enamel paint needs to be washed off with the help of harsher cleaning products. Often, they are chemical cleaners and paint removers. In comparison, to wash water-based enamel paint off, you will only need a bucket of soapy water!

Well, this is all that we wanted to share with you today on the subject of enamel paints and how to clean them off your brushes in particular.

Now that you are more aware of the specifics of this paint and the cleaning methods suitable for it, you will be able to maintain both your painting tools and the surfaces painted with enamel paint easily.

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Frequently Asked Questions

⭐What surfaces can be painted with enamel paint?

This paint is pretty versatile. You can use it for painting such surfaces as copper, metal surfaces, glass, wood, plastic, and even walls!

⭐Is it possible to remove enamel paint with acetone?

In fact, it is possible. Use an acetone nail polish remover or acetone for enamel paint removal, but don’t expect it will cope with the old and dried paint!

⭐Is enamel paint toxic?

It does contain chemicals, so inhaling the vapors of this paint is not recommended. However, there are no proofs that it’s toxic.

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