Cleaning Up Paint and Carpentry Tips

by Tobe Walter
(New Jersey)


Cleaning up paint and carpentry tips. Tools and equipment should be cleaned and put away before the finish dries on them. Close a can by placing a piece of wood around the top of the lid and tapping it with a hammer. Throw away dirty rags in a garbage can, preferably a metal one, after chemicals have evaporated. Clean metal tools such as shave hooks with water or mineral spirits and put them away.


Cleaning and storing brushes If you take the time to care correctly for your brushes, you will greatly extend their life. Wash brushes used for water based paint or wood stains in water. For brushes used for oil painting, wash in mineral spirits to loosen the paint, then wash in warm soapy water; proprietary brush cleaner is expensive but worthwhile if you have invested in the best brushes. Rinse cleaned brushes thoroughly, then work them against a clean rag to get most of the water off.

For overnight storage, suspend brushes with oil based paint on them in water, with the brushes clear of the bottom, by a wire through a drilled hole in the handle. For shorter-term storage, wrap in foil or plastic wrap to keep them wet. For long term storage, when brushes are clean, shake any excess water off the brush and place a rubber band around the bristles to help it to keep its shape as it dries. Rest it on its side. When completely dry, wrap brushes in paper and store in a dry place.

Cleaning up paint spills and splashes Paint on glass is quite easy to remove: let it dry and then scrape it off. Dry paint on the floor is more difficult. On wood, scrape it off carefully as for glass, taking care not to scratch the surface. It may be necessary to sand a paint blob very carefully, trying not to damage the surrounding wood and, if necessary touching up the floor with scratch cover or other wood treatment.

Paint on a carpet is extremely difficult to remove. If the paint is only lightly on the surface of a carpet with a pile, it may be possible to snip away the top of the fibers when the paint is dry. If it has soaked into the carpet, you can try removing it with a strong dry cleaning fluid; but this may spread the color. If the stain cannot be removed, it will be necessary to cut out and replace a small square of carpet.

If you get paint on a recently painted wood surface, lightly sand the surface and touch up with the appropriate color. In certain situations, if a blob of oil paint has splashed onto a water-based paint, for example, it may be necessary to prime the patch before repainting.

Paint problems

Blistering This will occur if moisture has been trapped between the layers of paint. To correct, strip off the offending layers (this is not difficult if the blistering is extensive, as much of it will simply peel off) and reapply the paint. Blistering may also occur if the wrong type of paint has been applied for example, a water-based paint over a layer of oil based paint so check that your paints are compatible.

Wrinkling or sagging If you apply paint too heavily, it will begin to sag. To resolve this, wait until the paint is dry, sand sufficiently heavily for a smooth surface, and reapply the top coat. Alternatively, strip off all the top coats entirely and reapply the paint less heavily.

Dribbles This is a consequence of too much paint on the brush. If you notice a dribble or "run" as you are painting, work across it with your brush before the final laying off. If the dribble has begun to dry, leave it until it is completely dry, then sand it down and touch up as necessary

Undercoat showing through This could happen for a number of reasons. Either the wrong color of undercoat has been used (too dark for a pale top coat or too pale for a dark top coat) or the top coat has been applied too sparingly. You may even have forgotten to add a second top coat. To rectify, paint on another layer or two of top coat. Go Jereme! Thanks for reading this page on Cleaning up paint and carpentry tips.

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