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Like this easy hack: coat paint brushes in fabric softener to keep bristles soft.

A DIY painting job doesn’t have to equal crooked lines, besmirched floors and ceramic sinks speckled with robin’s egg blue.

Use these easy painting hacks, to make the process faster and less messy — and ensure a fresh, modern look for your home.

1. Soak brushes in fabric softener to keep soft

Every DIY painter has been privy to the horrors of a day-old brush with stiff bristles that makes round two nearly impossible. Try this painting hack instead:

To keep paint brushes soft:

  • Rinse thoroughly (no soap).
  • Mix half a cup of fabric softener with a gallon of warm water.
  • Swish brushes in the mixture for 10 seconds or so.
  • Lay them flat or hang them on a peg for overnight storage.

2. Use plastic wrap to prevent mishaps

When painting around a large, awkward item you want to keep clean, like a toilet or a standalone sink, use this painting trick from the pros: surround it with plastic wrap to keep drips from destroying its finish.

For an extra tight wrap, choose a wrap with an adhesive backing — your hardware store will even carry special painter’s plastic wrap, if you really want to go all out — which will help it stick to the surface and prevent the odd drop from inching its way in. Once you’ve finished the job, just unwrap for a paint-free finish.

3. Repurpose old t-shirts as rags to reduce waste

Painting’s a messy job, but using roll after roll of paper towels is neither efficient nor environmentally-friendly.

And while you could pick up a mega-pack of plain cotton towels to keep paint from splattering, why not use something you can find stuffed at the back of a drawer?

Geoff Sharp, the owner of Sharper Impressions Painting Co., recommends cutting up old T-shirts to use as rags, saving money and resources (not to mention a trip to Goodwill).

4. Keep Q-tips handy for mistakes

Oh no! A drop of Naples Sunset just splashed on your white window frame. You’ve only got a few minutes to clean up the mess before your mistake is sealed for eternity.

That’s where Q-tips come in handy. Just stash some in your pocket for these types of emergencies.

5. Use a hair dryer on painter’s tape for easy removal

Painter’s tape is supposed to make your paint job easier and stress-free.

But when strips of perfect paint peel off along with the adhesive — or you just can’t get the darn tape to come off at all — you might feel like you wasted your effort.

To help stubborn painter’s tape get a move on, turn a hair dryer (low heat only) toward your handiwork.

Holding it about three inches from the wall will help soften the adhesive and ensure an even line, making removal a stress-free affair — and ensuring you keep that dreamy, crisp paint line.


National Association of REALTORS HouseLogic
About the author: Jamie Wiebe is a writer and editor with a focus on home improvement and design. Previously, she worked as a web editor for “House Beautiful,” “ELLE Decor,” and “Veranda.”
This article provided through a partnership between The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and St. Louis REALTORS®.