How To Clean Your Paint Rollers

While cleaning paint brushes is a snap, cleaning paint rollers can be a bit of a challenge. A paint roller can absorb a lot of paint, similar to the way a sponge keeps soaking up water. This means that it can take a lot of time to get all of that paint back out when you are ready to clean up. Then, there is the matter of the paint roller tray to consider.

Tips For Cleaning Paint Rollers

Frankly, it is easier to simply remove the roller cover from the handle and buy a replacement cover if a project is finished. However, if you bought the more expensive covers and have some that are still in good shape, you probably want to save them for the next project. In this case, you should follow these steps for cleaning up after a latex paint job:

* Roll out as much of the paint as you can before you begin cleaning the cover. Touch up spots on the wall that look a little light or just roll it onto a scrap of wood or the drop cloth you are planning to discard.

* Once the roller cover has very little paint left on it, it is time to finish cleaning it. If you have a septic system, do not clean the roller or any other painting tool in the sink. The chemicals that make up the paint are really not something you want in your drinking supply and they could leach from the septic tank and into the groundwater nearby.

* If your sink is connected to a public sewer system, simply run the roller under warm water, gently squeezing the cover to help get the paint out, until the water runs clear. You may need to use a bit of soap to help get it completely clean. If you use a septic system, you’ll need to swish it around in a bucket of warm water instead, being sure to dispose of the water in the bucket in a safe manner.

Dealing With Oil -Based Paint

To clean oil based paint from a roller cover, you will need to use a solvent, such as paint thinner. Pull on some gloves and goggles and make sure you are in an area that has plenty of air circulating. Pour just a few inches of the solvent into a spare metal pan (Older paint trays are metal and work well for this.) and roll the cover around. You will need to gently squeeze the cover to help remove the paint and the extra solvent. Then, be sure to dispose of the solvent by placing it in an airtight metal container and following your local waste disposal regulations for toxic material.

Finally, if you are worried about cleaning a roller because you need to take a break, but the job is only part way done, simply wrap it in a plastic bag instead so that it doesn’t dry out. I’ve left rollers wrapped up for a week or more and have had no trouble with them drying out. I simply unwrap them and finish the job when I’m ready. Simple eh?