Cleaning of brushes has created a lot of problems for me. I have lost many good brushes due to not being able to clean them properly. After lots of trial and error methods and sacrificing a good number of beautiful brushes I have come up with some important tips for cleaning and maintenance of brushes.
1)Very very important always keep brushes for oil paints and water colour separate. Never use them alternatively as oil paint brushes have to be cleaned using turpentine or other solvent whereas water colours can be washed with plain water.
2) Store brushes with hair side up to keep the brush hair neat. Keeping the end part down in a box or container that is tall enough for the sizes of brushes you use takes care of the hair as well as it is easy to take out whichever brush is required.
3) Always wash brushes thoroughly after every use to remove all residues of colour. When colours remain on the brushes, whichever type of colour, water or oil it makes the bristles hard and is difficult to use later on. This may also result in your poor brush losing hair and being bald!
4) Keep clean soft clothes to wipe bristles of hair. Rough materials used may damage the hair and eventually death of the brush!
5) Keep brushes away from window where there is always heavy blast of air or wind blowing continuously as this will result in brush hair being scattered or turned in one direction with the pressure of the wind.
6) Wipe the tips of the brushes carefully. I have done this and believe me till now all my brushes would become fat headed and would lose the tip due to pressure applied during wiping.
7) For water colour as well as oil paints sometimes give your brushes some pampering. Try cleaning them once in a while with soft liquid soap to remove all the dirt that is left over or stuck up on them. Dry them and keep them clean.
Brushes are the most important tool of an artist. Take care of them and love them.