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Can You Reuse Paint Supplies? [Inc. Rollers, Brushes, & Trays]

You typically have to buy supplies when embarking on a new painting project. As you may already know, paint isn't always easy to clean up. However, it may be worth it if you can reuse the supplies. Is that possible? If that's your concern, you've come to the right place!

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Most paint supplies are reusable; rollers, brushes, and trays are the few that come to mind. However, it's crucial to clean them correctly. Otherwise, you'll be dealing with tools of diminished quality. In any case, reusing paint supplies is more sustainable and economical than purchasing new supplies.

A fresh coat of paint can revive anything it touches. But the painting process is a whole different beast. Paint is usually hard to get out of the supplies. So, we typically settle on throwing them out to reduce the hassle. However, you can avoid doing that, and we'll show you how! 

Working set of paint brushes from natural bristles with layering of paint from reusable use, Can You Reuse Paint Supplies? [Inc. Rollers, Brushes, & Trays]

Reusing Paint Supplies

There are a couple of situations we'll cover for this topic. In the first case, maybe you're someone who wants to reuse old equipment lying around. If not, perhaps you're preparing ahead of time to ensure your tools are clean for your next project.

Therefore, you're looking to see what you can do after painting to reuse the tools you've bought. Let's start by addressing the first case. 

Painting equipment on the shelf paint stuffs brush roller paint

Reusing Old Paint Supplies

Close-up set of old used pant brushes on rustic wooden background

The possibility of reusing old painting equipment depends on how you've stored them. Cleanliness and tool quality are two factors that come to mind, though these two factors apply more to paint brushes and paint rollers. 

You'll have to observe how they've held up. If you cleaned it incorrectly, the quality of the brush becomes questionable, and the same goes for paint rollers. 

Paint Rollers

It's possible to restore a paintbrush. However, you won't have much luck with a roller. Given how long it will take to revive the roller, you're better off simply buying a new one.

If the paint has dried on the roller, it's better to throw it out. Most rollers are disposable. If not, they come with a disposable cover. So, you don't have to feel bad about throwing it out. 

Paint Trays

Paint trays are reusable no matter the condition they are in. You can pour the fresh paint right over any dried paint from your previous project without any issues.

Of course, that's assuming the paint is stuck on firmly. If it's cracking, you want to avoid pouring paint into it. Otherwise, the paint chips will mix into your fresh paint. 

The dried paint is easy to remove too. To remove it, take any sharp object and peel it off. Of course, it's going to take a bit of effort. If you find another layer of paint under the one you've peeled, sand the loose bits off. 

Afterward, it should be ready for use again. Here's a video explaining it in detail:

Paint Brushes

Paint brushes are also restorable, but that depends on their condition. Take a few minutes to look at the paintbrush. If dried paint covers most of it, you'll need the help of chemical removers. 

You have two options in this situation—throw it out or try to restore it. If it's a quality brush with a hefty price, it's worth taking the time to clean off the dried paint. 

Throw away any cheap brushes with dried paint. Instead, buy a quality one. We'll go over how to take care of them after painting later on. 

Restoring The Paint Brush

Before you start, you'll need three tools: a paint comb, a container, and a brush cleaner. The container needs to be small enough to submerge the bristles in cleaner. Avoid having the metal ferrule touch the cleaning solution. 

Click here to see this brush cleaner on Amazon.

Start by standing the brush upright in the container; use anything you want to help hold it up. The bristles should be the only part that touches the cleaner. 

Then, pour the brush cleaner inside. At this point, you'll have to wait 20-30 minutes to let the cleaner do its work. After waiting this long, run a utility brush against the bristles lightly. 

Click here to see this utility brush on Amazon.

Brush the bristles in a top-to-bottom motion; start at the beginning of the paint and brush towards the cleaner. The paint should come off with ease. 

It won't take long to take off the surface layer of paint. Then, fill another container with water. For this part, we'll need a board we can brush. 

Use a cutting board or any utensil you don't mind getting paint on. Next, hold it inside the water container and use the paintbrush. You'll see cloudy residue coming off it.

Combing The Brush

used paint brush close up on the glass bottle

Now we'll need to brush it again. Take a utility brush and run it along the bristles; remember to brush away from the metal ferrule. Then, use the palms of your hands to hold the paintbrush by the handle.

Spin it to remove excess water. Finally, take a paintbrush comb and run it through the bristles. The main goal here is to reduce the clumps the dried paint causes. 

Once you're satisfied with the results, hang it to dry. You'll be able to reuse it again! If you need visual guidance, here's a video to help:

Click here to see this paintbrush comb on Amazon.

How To Clean Your Paint Supplies For Future Use

As you can see, removing dried paint from a brush can be a hassle. If you want to avoid going through it, you need to practice good painting habits. More specifically, you need to add a cleaning routine after you finish painting. 

Of course, that's if you want to preserve your tools for future use. In any case, cleaning painting supplies isn't complicated. 

Paint Brushes And Rollers

Start by removing the excess paint from your brush or roller. You can press the bristles against the paint container. If you're cleaning a paint roller, use a roller comb to remove the paint.

Next, rinse the brush or roller with water. For this process, you'll need three tools: a bucket, a water source, and a brush. 

First, turn on the hose and point it directly to the roller as you hold it in the bucket. The force of the water will spin the roller for you. After a few minutes, it should be clean.

Cleaning a paintbrush follows a similar procedure. Start by filling the bucket with some water. Then, dip the paintbrush inside. Once it's wet, take a utility brush and brush away from the ferrule. 

Dip the paintbrush into the water once again to remove more paint; repeat this as necessary. Once you finish cleaning it, hang it to dry. 

Here's a video demonstrating how to clean these tools:

Paint Trays

As mentioned, it's not necessary to clean paint trays right away. You can let the paint dry and peel it off later. If you want to avoid this, you have two options. 

You can use a paint tray liner to dispose of later. Otherwise, you can line it up with a bag that fits. Tape it down to avoid letting the bag move around too much. 

Click here to see this paint tray liner on Amazon.

Once you finish the job, take off the liner or bag. Let it dry first before you think about throwing it away.

Can You Reuse Paint?

woman opening the old pink paint reusable

It might be surprising, but you can reuse paint too! However, that depends on how you store it. Improper storage will allow the paint to spoil over time. 

For this reason, you won't be able to use the paint for future projects. If you want to store it for later, let's go over the rules to make it last.

  1. Start by covering the top of the paint can with plastic wrap.
  2. Place the lid on and tap it with a mallet to seal the can.
  3. Stick a label on the can that indicates the date of purchase. 
  4. Store it in a cool, dark place. 

The paint should last you about 10-15 years in storage. However, that depends on the type of paint. Solvent and oil-based paints last longer. 

How To Tell If Paint Has Gone Bad

If you have some paint lying around, check if it has gone bad. There are a few telltale signs. You'll have to check it for odors, mold, or dryness. If the paint smells and shows signs of mold, it's no longer usable. Since there's no way to save it, throw it and purchase a new can. 

Regarding texture, the paint may become chunky over time—which is not as bad as mold growth. It will need some stirring to become usable again. 

Finally, the paint may dry out entirely. Of course, it won't be usable. However, you can cut out a small piece for color matching.

In Closing

Working set of paint brushes from natural bristles with layering of paint from reusable use

It can be expensive to purchase the same supplies again. Fortunately, you don't have to do that with painting supplies. It only takes a bit of effort to preserve them for future use. We hope you found this informative. 

Before you go, do you have other painting concerns? If you're planning on returning Sherwin Williams paint, check out our post:

Can You Return Sherwin Williams Paint?

Do you have a mold problem with your painted walls? We can give you some guidance. To learn more, check out:

How To Remove Mold From Painted Walls?