A Guide to Cleaning Up After a Painting Project

There are many excellent home improvement and home repair projects that homeowners can use to spruce up the roof over their head, but few are as low cost and high impact as slapping on a new coat of paint. Painting a room can transform the entire look and feel of the living space, make a small room look bigger, a big room look smaller, and any room look more inviting. While painting or repainting a room can be a great creative exercise, few homeowners look forward to cleaning up afterwards. Fortunately, there are some steps that can be taken to minimize the time it takes to clean up after a painting project.

One of the best ways to make cleaning up after a painting job a lot easier is to plan well ahead of time. It is important, for instance, to lay down plenty of drop cloths, old towels, rags and other items to keep paint off of furniture, floors and other parts of the room. It is well worth the investment to purchase or borrow some old sheets or rags to use as drop cloths. This preparation will help to reduce or eliminate the problem of removing paint from surfaces that should not have been painted.

A liberal application of painter's tape will also help to make cleaning up after the job a great deal easier. Painter's tape looks a lot like masking tape, except that it is often blue, and the fact that it is designed to peel off easily after use, without damaging woodwork or other surfaces. It is important to apply this painter's tape to woodwork, molding, trim and other surfaces that will not be part of the painting project. This tape can also be used around light fixtures, electrical outlets and light switches.

If any paint does get on unwanted surfaces, it is important to remove it as soon as possible, before it has had a chance to dry in and set. Most latex paints can be removed with just warm water, while for oil based paints it will be necessary to apply a solvent or paint thinner to remove unwanted paint. It is a good idea to purchase a bottle of solvent or paint thinner before starting the project. That way it will be easier to clean up any spilled paint or remove paint from unwanted surfaces.

This solvent or paint thinner will also come in handy when it is time to clean the paint brushes. It is important to remove the paint from the brushes as soon as possible after the project is over, as this will help to keep the brushes in tip top shape for the next painting project. If latex paint has been used, the brushes can simply be soaked in warm water to remove the paint. If the paint was oil based, the brushes or rollers can be soaked in paint thinner or solvent. Again, it will be easier to clean the brushes if they are soaked right after use.