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The average consumer can spend up to a whopping $800 on repainting just single a room in their home.

And if it ended up being a tough project to complete, the last thing you want to do after it’s finished is to spend more time cleaning it up than you did actually painting.

Even if you spent time finding the right painting tool for your job, you’re not fully prepared to apply a fresh coat until you’ve researched how to easily clean up after yourself.

In this post, we’re offering the top 7 painting clean up tips you need to save time and money.

painting clean up tricks

1. Harness The Power Of Aluminum Foil


This household item won’t just keep your food fresh – it’s also right at the top of our list when it comes to effective tools for painting clean up.

Check out everything aluminum foil can do:

Keep the paint from growing skin

Put aluminum foil underneath your paint can, trace it, and then cut out your aluminum circle. Place that circle inside your paint can, blow into the can of paint to push it onto the surface of the paint, and then put the lid back on the can.

This will help to keep the paint from drying up between uses, and your breath replaces oxygen with carbon dioxide.

Make cleaning out rolling pans easier

Before you pour the paint in the rolling pan, line it with aluminum foil first. Then, when you’re done with the job, just roll up the foil and toss. It’s much cheaper than a plastic liner.

foil cleaning

Keep the paint off your doorknobs

We know it’s awful to drop a huge splotch of paint or stain on your doorknob when painting your door.

To prevent this, just wrap the knob in foil. Don’t forget to cut down on potential mess by also wrapping any door knobs you’ll need to touch on your way to the sink to clean your brushes.

Saves you time if you don’t finish a project in one day

Aluminum foil can also keep you from having to wash your brushes if you’re going to use them the next day.

Squeeze out any leftover paint, then wrap the brush’s head in aluminum foil and secure with a rubber band. Then, toss your brush in the freezer. Just remember to take them out about a half an hour before you start your job again the next day!

2. Use Vinegar To Help With Painting Clean Up


We’re big on using items you already have at home to help with painting clean up. Vinegar is great for…

  • Getting rid of a fresh-paint smell. Let’s get real: those fumes can give you a real headache. Placing a few bowls full of undiluted white vinegar around your newly-painted room can air it out faster.
  • Avoid peeling paint: Especially if you’ve painted on cement, you know it has a tendency to peel a bit faster than others. To make it stay for longer, coat your cement floor with white vinegar before you start painting. Same goes for metal surfaces you’re painting!
  • Save a favorite paintbrush: When you’ve found a tool that works, you don’t want to have to get rid of it just because you skimped on the painting clean up process. If the paint has dried on your favorite brush, soak it for about 20 minutes in white vinegar, then rinse it off with hot soap and water.

There’s no need to spend money on expensive, and potentially harmful, chemicals when so many awesome solutions for cleaning up the mess are waiting right inside your kitchen cabinets!

Don’t spend more money – or make another trip to the paint store – when the solution is as close as the pantry.

3. Use Your Recyclables


When it comes to effective painting clean up, why not use what you already have? Plus, it’s good to look into every option you have when it comes to going green. Help the planet while you contain your painting messes!

Instead of spending money on carpenter tape to cover up your windows or other surfaces you don’t want to get paint on, cut out several long, thick strips of newspaper.

Then, dampen the strips and stick them on the window panes. It won’t fall off and is much easier to take off than tape, which can destroy your nails and leave marks on your window panes.

If you want to save leftover paint, but know that the metal paint can dry and seal itself shut (or if you don’t have too much leftover) use an old milk carton to keep the paint in. Same goes for old margarine or butter tubs!

4. Use Those Beach Buckets For More Than Just Sand


You don’t have to only use your sand buckets when you’re heading to the coast for a weekend getaway. They can also take some time off your painting clean up game plan.

  • If you’re painting on a ladder or on scaffolding, put your can of paint and a brush inside a pail with a handle. If you’ve got a bigger bucket, you can also place some other tools inside. Now, you’ll reduce your potential for disastrous messes, and you won’t have to constantly go up and down to get what you need next.
  • Use buckets to hold smaller amounts of paint, too. Why carry around 5 gallons when you only need a small amount at a time?
  • Put a lid under it. If you’re working with 5-gallon buckets or even a smaller container with a lid, use it to your advantage. Place the lid underneath your paint can to catch any drips, then seal it back up when you’re done with your project for the day.
cleaning beach

5. Remove Splatters From Acrylic Surfaces


Here’s a news flash: using ice scrapers won’t just help you to clear off your car in the winter. They’re also an awesome painting clean up tool.

If you managed to splash a few droplets of paints on your acrylic bathtub when touching up the walls or ceiling, go ahead and gently scrape them off with an ice scraper.

They won’t damage your tub, and they can also be used on any other surfaces – as long as those surfaces aren’t metallic.

6. Coat Your Fixtures


One of our more rapid-fire painting clean up tips? Instead of removing every single fixture in your living room when you’re ready to repaint the walls or ceiling, follow this trick:

Coat doorknobs (that you don’t need to open, of course) and all other metal fixtures (even cabinet handles!) with petroleum jelly.

This will keep the paint from sticking to your fixtures.

After the paint has dried, to clean up the petroleum jelly, just wipe it off with a wet wipe.

7. Show Your Hands A Little Kindness


With all the focus on properly cleaning up and protecting your furniture and walls when you’re painting, your hands can often go unnoticed. Whether you’re using a brush or a handheld sprayer, your hands can get messy fast! But, let’s say you’re re-painting a room right before you have to be somewhere, heading out with colorful splotches all over your hands and arms isn’t really an option.

7 tricks clean

To get rid of stubborn paint that won’t just wash off (this is especially a problem if you’re using paint that’s also a primer) follow these tips:

  • Wear latex gloves when painting (though this can be hard to maneuver with for some people)
  • Use Lava soap or any other pumice-based, gritty hand soap.
  • If you want to DIY it instead, you can make an exfoliant out of salt and vegetable oil (unless you have a cut on your hands!). The coarser the grain of salt, the more effective the cleaning process.
  • After washing your hands with soap and water, cover the stuck-on paint with baby oil and let it sink in for a couple of minutes. (If you don’t have baby oil, try any vegetable oil.) Wash it off in small circles with your fingers.

You’re All Set Thanks To These 7 Painting Clean Up Tips!


It’s nice to know that, no matter what kind of paint job you’re going for, there are lots of ways out there to cut down on the mess painting can make.

If you’re ready to start your next home renovation project, a fresh coat of paint is an excellent first step. Now, there’s no excuse for a lengthy painting clean up!

If you’re still on the fence about that painting project, check out the impact the right colors and application of paint can have on your walls and furniture alike.

Looking for more tips, tricks, and advice when it comes to painting your home’s interior or exterior? Need help picking out the right kind of paint and the type of brushes or sprayers you should use? Want to read reviews of the best painting tools out there?

Feel free to check out our website and blog, and contact us with any questions. We are eager to hear from you.

We can’t wait to help you with your painting projects!

7 Tricks for An Easier Painting Clean Up

by Tyler Saunders time to read: 14 min
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