Rollers are one of the essential pieces of a painting kit for any painter – amateur or professional. However, once you get to the end of a tough day of painting your walls, the last thing you want to do is spend another hour cleaning and taking care of your rollers, only for them to get dirty again the next day.
It is vitally important that you do clean your rollers after every use. If you don’t clean them regularly, they’ll get clogged up with leftover dry paint and you’ll constantly need to replace them.
In this article, we’re going over some of the best ways to clean your paint rollers quickly and effectively.
Step 1: Pour Out Leftover Paint
Regardless of what method you’re using to clean your paint roller and tray, the first step is always the same. You need to pour all the leftover paint in your tray back into the tin, or whatever receptacle you’re using.
Obviously, you should only do this if the paint has not been contaminated in any way. By this, we mean any dirt and dust in the room that could have gotten into the paint. There will always be a little bit of dust in the leftover paint so don’t worry about it unless you can see obvious clumps within.
The same is also true of the paint roller. Use a knife or scraper to scrape off as much of the excess, leftover paint as you can to put it back into the tin.
Washing By Hand
The most simple and cost effective way to clean your paint rollers is to roll your sleeves up and do it yourself.
You always want to start by disassembling the roller into its constituent parts. Then, rinse everything off with warm water. After a few rinses, add some soap or detergent to the water and run it through each part, paying close attention to the brush.
This will get the last of the paint out of the fibers of the brush, though it will still take some time and elbow grease to make sure it’s completely clean. Try not to soak the rollers in the water, though. You should clean it under running water and keep going until the water runs clear.
After you’ve rinsed off all the soap and bubbles, leave the parts to air dry, preferably overnight. You’ll need to make sure it’s completely dry before you use it for any more painting, as the moisture could have an effect on the type of paint you’re using.
Using A Washing Machine
This is definitely one of the riskier strategies and shouldn’t be done if you know your roller is delicate. However, if the packaging on your roller specifies that it is machine washable, go right ahead and follow these steps.
Again, always start by scraping as much excess paint as you can off of the outside of the roller. Then, take the roller apart, since the only part you’ll be putting in the washing machine is the outside sleeve.
Put the sleeve into the machine on cool wash and, while this might seem obvious, do not put any clothes in with your roller sleeve. This might not have much of an effect on the roller but your clothes might end up a little worse for wear!
Once the cool wash is finished, leave the roller sleeves to air dry for plenty long enough, to make sure there’s no moisture left in them for the next time you use them.
We’ll reiterate, this is a risky way to wash your rollers and it could affect their lifespan because of how harsh this method is on their structural integrity. We wouldn’t recommend using this method regularly, but it’s great for when you can’t be bothered to wash them by hand.
Specialist Roller Cleaners
You might not have heard of them, but there are devices out there specifically designed to clean paint rollers with minimal hassle.
You’ve probably come across special scrapers which are designed to fit the curved shape of a roller to get rid of excess paint, but there’s other equipment that will help you clean them more thoroughly.
They look pretty much like a handheld power drill and all you need to do is place the outside roller sleeve into the tube attachment, lower it into some soapy water in a bucket or a sink, and activate the device.
It will spin the roller extremely quickly through the water, mimicking the way you would wash it by hand, only a lot faster.
Naturally, this method will cost more than the previous two if you don’t already own a device like this. However, if you’re painting regularly and don’t have the time to constantly wash your rollers by hand, this tool can be a lifesaver.
Naturally, just like with the other methods, you should always leave the roller sleeve to air dry afterwards. A cloth or towel will never be able to get rid of all the moisture, so letting it dry properly is essential.
Environmentally Cleaning Rollers
Quite often, methods for cleaning paint rollers have a negative impact on the environment. Using things like white spirits and solvent-based cleaners can be harmful, so it’s not a bad idea to try to avoid these.
At the end of the day, your environmental impact will be largely based on what type of paint you’re using, so try using water-based paints that will wash off easily. Do some research about what the best type of paint is for your project’s needs.
Now, you should have a few more ideas about how to clean your paint rollers properly. Of course, there will be other methods that we haven’t mentioned here, so feel free to give any others a try to find out what works best for you.