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Bernie Logan
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Discussion Starter #1
Every so often one of us forgets one or two of our latex paint brushes in the truck overnight, to find it's frozen solid and the latex paint has gellified or something. It is then virtually impossible to clean the semi-solid latex bits throughout the bristles. Usually the brush gets thrown away or one of us spends half an hour scrubbing it, if it is an expensive brush.

So anyway a box with about 25 of our latex brushes were left in the van this weekend!! Please, does anybody have any experience with cleaning frozen latex bits from their brushes, from home remedies to commercial products. I have a feeling this isn't the last time this will happen either..
 

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Lotta brushes. I usually run some wire through the holes in the handles, fill a 5 gal bucket 50-50 with KrudKutter and water, run a dowel through the wire hoop and let them soak. Try and keep the bristles from resting on the bottom of the bucket. Your still gonna have to to some wire brushing and combing. I know a guy who mixes lemon juice and boiling water and soaks them in it and he says it works great.
 

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I'll say who has twenty five wet brushes, can't be the good kind I'm guessing. How about xylol it's horrible smelly, cancerous and could possibly wreck a brush but it does well for paint removal but not as strong as laquer thinner ,
 

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on second thought, get some methyl hydrate, more gentle for weak bristles and then throw some in the water that you would regularily soak the brushes in , I hear it's like antifreeze.no wait just use antifreeze:whistling, it must be cold up there.
 

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Bernie Logan
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys!

Thanks so much for all your suggestions..and yes the brushes were from a few of us..my brushes were the cheapies but my coworkers had a few good corona brushes each..!
 

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New Member
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Trash can, chalk it up to an expensive lesson. Or, do what Ole would do, take it out of the guys pay and then fire him. What's the brush going to be worth, or good for, after all that chemical exposure and wire brushing. How much cost in chemicals and manhours? I know it hurts. I throw my rattle on the floor when I find one hardened, so twenty five might make me suicidal. But really. It's not worth it. Spend your time earning money. If you have twenty five wet brushes, it means you're working. You're a drywall and plumbing guy, what gives with the twenty five wet paint brushes lol?
 

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Bernie Logan
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Actually..

Actually we are primarily a painting company, but as the drywalling girl I am occasionally allowed to paint lol. Thanks again for the suggestions, I am going to opt for the more environmental ideas like brush cleaner and elbow grease first.
 

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Actually we are primarily a painting company, but as the drywalling girl I am occasionally allowed to paint lol. Thanks again for the suggestions, I am going to opt for the more environmental ideas like brush cleaner and elbow grease first.
OOPPS! Keep track of your time and expense, I'm curious.
 

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Don't use boiling water. The bristles will fall out. I know from experience. Use warm water with dishsoap in it, wire brush, rinse, repeat. Let us know how it turns out.
 

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I had a few good brushes that got left in my van could not wash on site and did not have a bucket ofwater to through them in. Stopped at the pub and you know the rest of the story. I picked up some brush cleaner from HD. This is great stuff they came out likie new.
 

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Bernie Logan
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Update 1 year later

Managed to save a few, soaked them in hot soapy water and used a bristle brush and a pet comb. Yes lots of elbow grease! :mellow:
 

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John the Builder
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16,993 Posts
I have a feeling this isn't the last time this will happen either..
As witness to our paint contractors: Ammonia on latex & KILZ, oven cleaner or MEK on bristle.

Both work best if bought from the dollar store.
 

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You should be able to salvage basically all of them. I've used brush cleaner, citristrip, Krud Kutter, solvent strippers, etc. Whatever your cleaner, soak them for a while. Then use a brush comb, awl, screwdriver or something like that to work holes through the block of bristles from the side, take off anything that's very loose (I'll brush lightly with a wire brush), then back in to soak for a while. This time take it out and use your brush comb to start separating bristles, give it another wire brushing and back in to soak. The next step is to work on the paint well up by the handle using a brush comb, awl, screwdriver... Wire brush the bristles, and back in to soak. From there it's just detail.

It's important to not be pulling on the bristles much when you do all this - they can loosen. Soaking in water based solutions can and will swell the wooden handle, causing bristles to fall out. It sounds like a lot of work, but if you soak a long time in between cleaning steps and only spend a few minutes cleaning each time, it isn't that difficult. Cleaning out the well and bristles near the ferrule is the toughest part.
 

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Brush cleaner. It'll soften it up enough to get them clean, soap and water to clean out the cleaner. Beware of the fumes and it's flammable. Soak them overnight if it's really bad, as someone said, find a way to suspend them in the cleaner if there going to be there awhile.

Someone else said to "take it out of their pay", then fire them. You may want to fire them, but taking it out of their pay first might end up with you in front of the labor board.

I had a friend who fired one of his employees. The employee had borrowed money from my friend a couple weeks prior. Well he took the money owed out of the last check. The employee knew the system well, and he put his former employer through the ringer. Full audit; 2years of signed time cards? No? $10k fine, Deducting from pay? Yes? $10k fine, Skipping breaks? Yes? 10k fine, etc....

After fighting it for a year. Friend settled for 15k, and closed his business in disgust.

I wouldn't chance it.

Sorry didn't mean to go off on a tangent, but his experience put a big scare into me, even though I suspect he may well have been pushing it with the labor laws.
 

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When ever I screw up a brush it becomes a duster, or a shellac brush, who we kidding , they're all screwed up, but as a last dash try I soak em in xylene and then after wire brushed a dip in methyl hydrate and then water. It lasts a few weeks more and then I break down and order a dozen like an intelligent person who has other things to do than dork about in the garage for an extra hour, and since there surely comes a time to park the truck in that bloody disgrace,,,,:blink: since I'm going to the dump in a big way anyhow, brushes don't weigh much. I put on a wool hat today, I need space now before the snow flies.
 
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