Painting Tips: How To Clean Up After Painting

Immediately After Painting

  • For paint cleanup keep a damp cloth on hand to wipe up any drips immediately, before they have time to dry. Recent, but drying drips on dry, nonporous surfaces can often be wiped away with a wet cloth or with mineral spirits or paint thinner.
  • When cleaning up after painting, remove any masking tape before paint has a chance to dry. This will reduce the possibility of lifting the fresh paint film with the tape. If paint has dried, score lightly along the edge of the tape with a utility knife or razor blade before removing.
  • Allow paint to dry thoroughly before scraping off glass with a razor or scraper.
  • Fold the edges of drop cloths and plastic sheets toward the middle to avoid smearing small spills or drips on surrounding surfaces.
  • Clean tools such as edgers, scrapers and paint trays, immediately after completing the paint job to prevent the paint drying permanently on them, and wipe dry to prevent rust. Use warm, soapy water to remove latex paint. Use mineral spirits or paint thinner to remove oil paint.
  • Clean brushes and roller covers before they dry.
  • Allow tray liners to dry before discarding.
  • When using a latex-based product, clean up hands and tools with soap and water. Wipe oil paints off hands with a cloth dampened with mineral spirits or paint thinner, then wash with soap and water.
  • When cleaning up after painting hang oily rags to dry completely before laundering, or immerse in an open container filled with water. Oily rags, particularly if piled up or placed in a closed container or space, are at risk of spontaneous combustion.

Cleaning Painted Surfaces

Avoid touching, wiping, or wetting any freshly painted surface for 30 days. After that time, dirt and stains may be removed with a mild, nonabrasive cleaner and water.

Paint Storage and Disposal

  • Clean the threads and the area surrounding the lid before placing it back on the can. Use a rubber mallet to reseal metal paint cans. Tighten Twist & Pour® containers well.
  • Store paint at room temperature. Do not subject paint to freezing or very high temperatures.
  • Contact your local government or city hall for information on disposal of old paint. Each district has different regulations for the disposal of painting materials.