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See all Interior paint how-to »

How to Clean Up After Painting

Skill:  Novice DIY'er

You've prepped and painted, and now it's time to clean up and see the final results of your home's new look.

For Best Results:

For water-based paint, remove painter's tape before the paint has dried completely.

If your paint has completely dried and the tape begins to lift the paint, gently score the top edge with a utility knife to release the film before pulling further.

Let your project dry completely before reassembling items removed during preparation.

Suggested Supplies

  • Bucket
  • Rags
  • Utility Knife
Step 1

Remove painter's tape using moderate speed and pulling the tape back over itself. Re-grasp the tape so that you are not more than 12 inches away from the pull. If the paint has dried, use the utility knife to score the edge to release the film before pulling further.

Allow more time for paint to dry in high moisture areas.
Step 2

Clean your tools to extend their life. For latex- or water-based paints, always clean with soap and water. For oil-based paints, use mineral spirits.

Step 3

Use a paint comb to clean the bristles of your brush. After cleaning, shake the extra water from your brush and squeeze the excess water from your roller.

Step 4

Hang your brush by the handle to allow the water to drain down and out of the metal band.

Step 5

Once the paint has fully dried, remove all protective coverings from the project area and reattach items such as light fixtures and outlet covers.

Step 6

When storing leftover paint, clean the outside edge and interior rim of the paint can.

Don't let your paint freeze. Store leftover products in a dry, temperature-controlled location. Contact your household refuse collection service to dispose of empty containers, unused product and soiled rags.
Step 7

Relax and enjoy your newly painted interior.

To maintain your beautiful interior, you may wash after 4 weeks with mild soap and water.