I am murder on brushes, I don't often wash them, I scrub with them and abuse them with my paper towel. I only use a few. Some day when I am really rich and famous I will just throw them away at the end of every painting day. I do like them sharp and when they lose their edge, out they go.
When paint dries in my brushes, I use professional house painters brush cleaner, but that has to be done outdoors as it is nasty stuff. I used to use Ivory bar soap until I was turned on to the Murphy"s soap.
The procedure is this:
- Pour a dot of the Murphy soap directly onto the brush from the bottle.
- Run it around and around on the palm of your hand ( I wear gloves most of the time and it would seem like a good idea for this too, I was taught to do it barehanded years ago, but it is probably smarter not to grind pigments into the skin of your palms.
- Keep that going until the lather comes out white, indicating no pigment is left in the brush, try to get the paint out of the ferule too (that's the shiny part between the hair and the wood).
- Shape the brush when you have finished so it will dry into a shape that it is supposed to be. NEVER point a brush with your mouth, or hold a brush in your mouth either. Even the little residue of paint in your brush is toxic.
- Often in workshops I have students whose brushes are totally worn out. They are useless, when your brushes get worn, replace them. A brush needs to be able to make a clean mark not a fuzzy one. The cost of painting is your time and education, not the materials or brushes. Go ski for a day if you disagree, then get back to me.