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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I confess, I’m lazy about brush cleaning. I hate using all that solvent, or disposing of gross water based cleanup.

For my natural bristle brushes, I’ve been using a quart size Chinese food container, cutting a small hole in the lid for the brush handle to poke through, and leaving the brush wrapped in a solvent-soaked rag.

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This has two down sides. First, it’s not really air tight so eventually it dries up. Second, the weight of the brush eventually deformes the blade.

So does anyone know of a product, or has anyone built a solution, that stores the brushes inside an air tight container, hanging from the handle, with the bristles dipped in solvent or kept moist some other way?
 

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First. It is not necessary to waste "all that solvent". After cleaning your bursh, put your used solvent into a closed container and let the solids settle out. What's left on top will be almost clear and can be used over and over. The next time you need to clean your brush, start with the decanted used solvent. When you have gotten the brush as clean as you can with that, then use a little fresh to finish up. Pour it all back into the "used" cantainer and let it settle again. Overall, this uses very little solvent over time.
For water based clean-up, that is just soap and water clean-up under the faucet. Shouldn't be an issue.
However, if you want to leave your brush in the solvent (I don't think it is a good thing to do long term) just find a plastic jar and cut a hole in the lid just large enough for the brush handle to slip through, then put a small spring clamp on the handle to hold the brush tips off of the bottom of the container and put in your solvent. Or, put a hole in the brush handle and slip a nail or peg through the hole so that it rests on the lid or rim to hold the brush up. This is much like what you picture only without the rag. Yes. It will eventually dry out and you will have to add more solvent. Best to clean the brush completely.
 

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If you leave the brush sitting in solvent all the gunk will end up on the end of the brush as it settles. Then the weight of the brush will flatten out the end of the brush deforming it's shape. It would help if you would drill a hole in the end of the brush and suspend it from a wire so the brush isn't touching the bottom of the container. Anyway if you leave the brushes too long the solvent will evaporate away and you will have this.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
FWIW, this is my current effort: an air-tight spaghetti container with a hangar. I can’t find a suitable container that’s quite tall enough, so I had to chop 1” off the brush handle and drill a new hole. But it keeps the weight off the bristles and keeps the bristles moist.

The wood wedged inside to make the hangar deforms the box slightly, but the lid seems to push it back to square. I’ll keep an eye on it for the next couple months and we’ll see how “air tight” it really is. My hunch is the solvent will still evaporate slowly and gunk will accumulate in the bottom. But if it preserves the brush for 2-3 months until it’s next use, it ought to serve as a solution (pun intended) for my purposes.

If it’s successful, I’ll make a better hangar, probably more like a stand. I’m also in the market for a 14”-16” tall container so future brushes won’t need to be chopped. But it has to stay narrow, or else you use too much solvent and there’s too large a volume of air inside.

BTW, this is a natural bristle brush used for shellac, and the solvent is denatured alcohol. But I see no reason it couldn’t also work for mineral spirits.

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I found it just easier to clean and move on.

Now my spray guns, that's another story.. :cautious:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I found it just easier to clean and move on.

Now my spray guns, that's another story.. :cautious:
I never know what to do with used solvent or the gross water-paint/finish waste that comes from cleaning. I have a septic field, so the drain is definitely not an option. Just leaving it out to evaporate seems wasteful. So I figured this way the same solvent gets re-used multiple times.
 

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I never know what to do with used solvent or the gross water-paint/finish waste that comes from cleaning. I have a septic field, so the drain is definitely not an option. Just leaving it out to evaporate seems wasteful. So I figured this way the same solvent gets re-used multiple times.
Do you change your own oil and have an O'Reilly?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Do you change your own oil and have an O'Reilly?
I do change my own oil, but I don’t know what O’Reilly is. If I had a way to reuse my old oil I would. Since I don’t, I dispose of it at the municipal recycling facility. I hope, probably naively, that it is processed for re-use in a way that’s more sustainable than producing new oil.
 

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I never know what to do with used solvent or the gross water-paint/finish waste that comes from cleaning. I have a septic field, so the drain is definitely not an option. Just leaving it out to evaporate seems wasteful. So I figured this way the same solvent gets re-used multiple times.
See post #2 above. In addition, once you have the brushes clean using the solvent, finish cleaning in soapy water. I think the dirty water can go down your drain but, if you don't think so, pour it into some cat litter and put it into the trash. You can do the same with the sludge that precipitates out of the used solvent.
 

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Oreilly parts store take old oil. I just poor old solvents in with it and they take it.

You may have a parts store that takes old oil or as you stated a municipal recycling facility..
 
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