How To Clean Polyurethane Brush To Get The Best Results?

Without polyurethane, your furniture may appear just like some wood pieces joined together. But thanks to polyurethane, they have become a sight to behold.

But one thing is for sure. The polyurethane did not just surface on your furniture. Some brush did the magic and gave it a warm amber look with polyurethane. So, it’s important to learn how to clean polyurethane brush.

You have to clean the polyurethane brush after use to make it usable next time. And you are in the right place to learn about it in multiple ways.

Several Ways to Clean Polyurethane Brushes

how to clean polyurethane brush

There are many types of polyurethane out there and I will talk about them later in this article. For now, let’s check some effective ways to clean such brushes easily.

  • Cleaning Polyurethane Brush Without Paint Thinner

You do not necessarily need a paint thinner to clean your polyurethane brush if you are using water-based polyurethane. Here the simple way to get a water-base polyurethane off your brush.

  1. Soak The Brush In A Bowl Of Water

The first step is to allow your polyurethane brush to have a bath is in a bowl filled with water. Since the polyurethane used is water-based polyurethane, there are chances that the finish will dissolve in the water.

  1. Spilling And Refilling

After soaking your polyurethane brush for about 20 minutes, proceed to change the water. Refill the bowl with another clean water to absorb more polyurethane. Do this couple of times to remove a reasonable amount of polyurethane.

  1. Hand Wash In A Sink

The final stage is to head over to your sink to remove the minute leftovers that were left in the 2 previous steps. Make sure to wear your gloves for this step and try to kick against spillovers. When you are through, dry your brush and keep it in a safe place.

It sounds easy, and it is.

  • Cleaning Polyurethane Brush With Acetone

For oil-based polyurethane, you will need a paint removal as the acetone or the paint thinner to get rid of the finish. Make no mistake about it.

Acetone and paint thinner are two different solvents, but they both do a great job cleaning polyurethane. Follow these steps to clean an oil-based polyurethane brush effectively.

  1. Dip The Stained Brush Into An Acetone

For this step, all you need to do is to add a small amount of acetone to a cup. Then, dip the polyurethane brush into the cup and leave it for 20 minutes.

  1. Wing The Brush

Make sure that all the bristles come in contact with the acetone up to the metalmark. As much as you can, wing the brush to get away the possible amount of stain from it. Once you have taped this part, jump right into the next step.

  1. Hand Wash The Brush

To get a thorough cleaning, apply a bar of dish soap to the brush and hand wash it in a sink or a bucket. Don’t forget to rinse as many times as possible and allow the brush to dry before storing.

  • How To Clean Polyurethane Off Hands?

The truth is that you will have some polyurethane stains on your hands after working, except you are some magician. But if you are not Harry Houdini, you will need to cleaning polyurethane off hands.

First, get a dish soap that will be mild on your skin. Apply it to your palm and work it into a lather. Wash your two hands thoroughly and rinse with water.

For best results, try running a moisturizing lotion to alter the sticky effect.

What Is A Polyurethane, And The Different Types Of Polyurethane?

Polyurethane tops the list of the most durable finish in the market. Not only that, but it is also one of the fastest drying coating used on wood surfaces.

A polyurethane is so reliable go to the extent that it hardens up when dry and will not go back to the liquid form.

Polyurethane exists in two types, and they are oil-based polyurethane and water-based polyurethane. Let us take a look at each of these polyurethane types.

Oil-based polyurethane: It is the version of a polyurethane prepared with oil. It is less expensive and durable than water-based polyurethane.

Water-base polyurethane: The water-base polyurethane has so many benefits to the oil-based polyurethane. It includes low toxicity and odor. Additionally, it is easier to clean off a water-based polyurethane to oil-based polyurethane.

Note: The water-base polyurethane has a milky color. It turns out that the milky color goes off when the solvent dries up on the wood. So there’s nothing to worry about the polyurethane changing the appearance of your work.

What Is The Best Brush For Polyurethane?

cleaning water based polyurethane off brush

Without further ado, the most recommended brush for polyurethane is a fine bristle brush. It will be a disaster to use a foam brush for polyurethane. Want to know how to choose the best brush for polyurethane? Keep reading.

  • Bristle type

While there are two major bristle types, they are specific to a function. What this means is this. The natural bristle brush is best for oil-based polyurethane owing to its ability to absorb water when used for water-based polyurethane.

While on the other hand, the synthetic bristle brush is recommended for water-based polyurethane.

  • Handle

Another factor to consider when choosing the best brush for polyurethane is the handle. Ensure that you are comfortable with the handles. It will make the job faster and less tiring.

As a note, a brush with a thick and short handle is best for a small project. Consider using a longer handle for larger projects.

  • Ferrule

Inspect the ferrule to confirm that the bristles are secured are not loose. Of course, we know the danger of using a brush with a loose bristle. You don’t want that, do you?

  • The width

If you are looking for the best polyurethane brush for your detailed work, the 2-inches width is your go-to for the project. You may consider using a 4-inches width for larger projects.

How To Store Polyurethane Brush Between Coats?

Cleaning your polyurethane brush now and then is a time-consuming task. The good news is that you can store your polyurethane brush within coats and pick it up ready to use for the new project.

Think I’m exaggerating? See the right way of storing polyurethane brush within coats without sweating it out.

Secure your polyurethane brush in a plastic bag and keep it in a refrigerator. Ensure that the plastic bag is air-tight to avoid giving other items in the refrigerator a weird smell.

And guess what? You can always run to your stored polyurethane brush at any point in time.


There is no greater joy than getting a cleaned polyurethane brush after working. This joy gets to its peak when the process does not consume much time and effort.

We know what it means to you when you have a clean polyurethane brush to work with for your next project.

With the best guide on how to clean polyurethane brush, you can be sure to boast of a clean brush every time you get to work with polyurethane. Don’t forget to wear your hand gloves and masks when painting.

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