Is the idea of reusing a polyurethane brush practical? At times it sounds impossible or ambiguous to go about this. Buying a brand new brush after handling one or two polyurethane varnishes can be costly at times. At the professional level, this becomes even more significant. Some DIY enthusiasts attest to how they use two brushes for years through reusing.
Reusing polyurethane brushes is something that is becoming common these days. When done efficiently, the brush looks brand new once more. There are different approaches applied in this task depending on the type of brush being dealt with. To be more precise, it is influenced by whether the polyurethane is water-based or oil-based since the cleaning operation is done differently.
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Cleaning Water-Based Polyurethane Brushes
You will find this being relatively less involving than the oil-based polyurethane brushes. Begin by flushing sufficient water through the bristles. I find it convenient to place the brush for several minutes below a running tap. This normally removes most of the polyurethane from the prickles. Another option is immersing the brush in a jar of water.
Other people find the use of warm water more effective but this needs high observance as too hot water can damage the bristles. This is especially for the synthetic ones. For the first flushing you may do it using warm water but later on, replace it with cold water to restore the robustness of the prickles. As you run the water, be mindful of the time of exposure. Lengthy periods may negatively affect the durability of the applicator.
Cleaning Oil-Based Polyurethane Brushes
Water alone does not change a thing with this type of polyurethane. You need to have some chemicals such as acetone, white spirit, or paint thinners. Before beginning the cleaning work, think of how to prepare the brush. This is where we do the softening of the polyurethane through soaking. Do thorough massages to the bristles at the same time.
It helps mostly when dealing with brushes which are hard due to long drying. Using paint thinners on the already soft prickles will do wonders in removing the polyurethane. Be thorough with the application of the white spirit at the brush. This brings uniformity in the removal. Later on, get rid of the thinner by the use of acetone.
The final step is thorough washing of the brush by using water and soap. It eliminates all the chemicals including the acetone you used at the later stage. Besides the cleaning, the soap acts as a softener to the bristles. This makes your brushes soft the next time you use them thus bringing efficiency to your woodwork finishes.
After the whole cleanup, think of how to store the brushes. It safeguards all your tireless efforts in doing the maintenance work. Find a cardboard packaging for the items as this preserves them well from agents such as moisture and dust.
Reusing polyurethane brushes is something achievable. All you need is to do a thorough cleanup of the bristles. Depending on whether the polyurethane is water-based or oil-based, there are different procedures to use. This ensures success in the cleaning work. At the same time, it protects the physical attributes of the brush prickles.
Here is an article I’ve recently written on How to Brush Polyurethane Without Bubbles.