Can You Clean Paint Brushes with Methylated Spirits?

Methylated spirits are solvents suitable for thinning paints, lacquers, and varnishes. But, aside from this obvious usage, do you know that it is also a cleaning agent? In this article, we will answer the question, can you clean paint brushes with methylated spirits.

Have you ever embarked on a DIY painting chore at home? Aside from thinking of adding aesthetic appeal by splashing color to surfaces, one of the problems that may concern you is about cleaning the paintbrushes used. Sometimes, you tend to forget them in a corner such that clumps of paint already dried in the bristles. You resorted to cleaning them with water, but you’ll see it’s no use after all. Let us know how you can clean paintbrushes with methylated spirits.

Essential Steps to Clean Paint Brushes with Methylated Spirits

Seeing the paintbrushes harden with paint on them might seem a daunting task. Sure it is if you don’t know what to do and what to use. But, with methylated spirits or denatured alcohol, you can easily pull off the trick. Here’s how.

  • Pour a jar with methylated spirit.
  • Let the paintbrushes be soaked until they soften.
  • Check if there are bristles that have hardened paint in between.
  • Comb the bristles using a brush comb. An alternative for this is a fork.
  • Soak the paintbrushes again to remove the remaining paint that is stuck on the specks.
  • Using warm water with soap, wash the paintbrushes.
  • Squeeze water out of the bristles.
  • If you think there’s still water on them, shake until there’s no more water dripping.
  • Leave the paintbrushes and let them dry.
  • Using plastic wrap, pack the paintbrushes one by one. The plastic wrap will help in retaining the original shapes as they dry.
  • Hang the paintbrushes to let them fully dry.

Advantages of Methylated Spirits as Cleaners

In industries, methylated spirits refer to the colorless liquid commonly used as a thinning agent to paints. Yet, it also has common household uses. One such use, as discussed above, is that it is rightly used to clean paintbrushes. In addition, there are several advantages associated with it.

First, it is easy to use. What will generally take as several days to soak with soap and water, you can do in just a few hours with methylated spirits. The dried paint on the bristles will loosen as you leave them soaked.

Secondly, because of its disinfecting properties, you are also disinfecting the paintbrushes through the cleaning process. So you’re hitting two birds in one process. After the process, you’ll have clean and disinfected paintbrushes.

Thirdly, methylated spirits are not hard on the pocket. It means that you can purchase somehow huge volume and stock it for future use. There is no fret of it being useless because you’ll learn that it has some more benefits.

Other Uses of Methylated Spirits

Now that it has been answered that you can clean paint brushes with methylated spirits, you might think what other purposes it can serve. Worthy not because here are some more uses of methylated spirits.

As for cooking fuel: If you’re an outgoing and adventurous person, you might be familiar already that methylated spirits are commonly used as cooking fuel, particularly during campings, glamping, and any other outdoor activity where you want some food eaten hot. It is also used in fondue burners!

  • As a cleaner for hard surfaces: Because its cleaning properties are already proven effective for paintbrushes, do you know that it can be used to clean the household’s hard surfaces like windows?
  • As a disinfectant for some tools: The medical industry finds methylated spirits also suitable for use as a disinfectant for some medical tools. The sterilizing effects of the methylated spirits make it a worthy disinfecting and sterilizing agent.
  • As glass cleaner: If your house is one with several glass components like glass tables and mirrors, you’ll find methylated spirits helpful in cleaning them and for making them clear and shiny as always!
  • As optical disc cleaner: You might still have some optical discs in your house, such as your favorite music album of a famous artist or perhaps a movie which you watched dozen times before. If you want to preserve them, then methylated spirits can clean them properly. With the use of microfiber cloth sprayed with a little of it, you’ll have a ready cleaner of your old CDs and DVDs.
  • As a degreaser: Working on your motor, machines, and cars can sometimes lodge grease on your hands. Worry not because methylated spirits can clean and remove them quickly.
  • As rubbing alcohol: Do you know that when diluted with water to about 65-70%, it can safely pass as rubbing alcohol. Dilution is needed to make it safe on the skin. It will also reduce its evaporation rate so it can adequately kill bacteria.
  • As a component in cosmetics: Methylated spirits are infused in some cosmetics found commercially, such as the popular toners like those in most skin rejuvenating sets. It is also one of the ingredients of makeup.

Precautions with Methylated Spirits

Although it has cleaning and disinfecting properties, methylated spirits should be handled safely. A lot of precaution is needed because in its raw form, it can also harm.

It is poisonous and should not be ingested. Because of this, you must avoid having direct contact with your skin. When using for cleaning, wear masks if possible. Work on it in well-ventilated areas too.

Methylated spirits are also flammable. However, it is the reason why it can be used in heaters and as cooking fuel. If you have stock of it, place it in a cool and well-ventilated area to avoid instances of getting it inflamed.


When it comes to cleaning, methylated spirits have a handful of uses. Aside from answering the common question of can you clean paint brushes with methylated spirits, you’ve already known that you can utilize it as a household cleaner with the proper dilution.

The next time you’re caught in a dilemma of cleaning your paintbrushes, do not hesitate to go to your nearest hardware or paint store for a bottle or bucket of the essential methylated spirits.