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See all Exterior 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.

  1. Step 1

    Remove painter's tape using moderate speed and pulling the tape back over itself.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Step 4

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

  5. Step 5

    Once the paint has fully dried, remove all protective coverings from the project area and re-attach items such as address numbers and light fixtures.

  6. 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.