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Do Paint Brushes Wear Out?

As an artist, paint brushes are one of your most essential tools! However, you must ensure the bristles are always in decent condition so their quality doesn’t impact your painting. If you use your paintbrushes frequently, you’ll want to do your best to take care of them.

So, do paint brushes wear out? Yes, paint brushes do wear out eventually. Brushes can lose bristles over time and may warp. If this happens, your brushes won’t work well, and they can impact your art. Higher quality brushes tend to last a lot longer- usually several years! Cheap brushes may fall apart after your first use.

Overall, you’ll want to make sure you have good brushes for painting. You’ll want to consider several factors and steps to make your brushes last as long as possible. Let’s keep reading to learn more!

How Long Do Paint Brushes Last?

Paint brushes last different amounts of time depending on their quality. On average, you can expect them to last between a few uses and a few years! They’ll wear out significantly faster if you’re especially rough with them or use them daily.

Brushes use either natural or synthetic hair, changing how long they last. Synthetic bristles tend to hold their shape for much longer. Still, many artists appreciate natural brushes more since they spread paint more smoothly.

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Natural brushes also last long. These brushes should last you between three and five years when you take care of them. Synthetic brushes tend to last only two to three years with proper care. If you want to make them last as long as possible, use soap and water to clean them after painting. You should never leave the bristles sitting in water for long!

In short, the cheapest brushes won’t last very long. More expensive options should last you several years, so you’re more likely to get your money’s worth from them. Plus, you’ll feel the difference while you paint.

My favorite and top pick is always Arteza Paint Brushes. They are a very reputable company, and the quality of the brushes is amazing!

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How Often Should You Replace Paint Brushes?

Generally, most painters prefer to replace their brushes at least every three to six months. These artists use their brushes more frequently, so they tend to wear out very quickly. However, your set might last longer than that.

You should replace your paintbrushes when they start showing signs of wear. You can tell your brush isn’t going to last much longer if it shows these signs:

  • It leaves hairs behind in your painting frequently
  • The brush is losing its shape 
  • The tip of the brush lost its point
  • The brush is limp
  • There are many missing hairs
  • The brush is hard to control
  • The brush creates awkward lines
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Brushes with wooden handles can also absorb water and swell, causing damage to the entire brush! You’ll want to watch for all these signs and replace your brushes when they look ragged or become harder to work with. 

As long as you replace your paintbrushes before they start to impact your work, you have nothing to worry about!

How Do You Fix a Worn Out Paint Brush?

If you don’t want to replace your brushes, you might be able to fix them if the damage isn’t too intense. First, you’ll need to know whether you have synthetic or natural bristles because you handle repairing them in different ways.

For synthetic hairs, start by heating some water on your stove until it boils. Then, dip the clean bristles into the pot for 10 seconds, then pull out the brush. This process makes the hairs moldable since they consist of plastic. Before the brush cools completely, reshape it using your fingers- be careful as it’ll be very hot! You want the brush to have a slight tip at the end.

You’ll want to use a brush cleaner and preserver for natural bristles. First, clean all the paint from the brush, then dip it in the cleaner. Use your fingers to reshape the bristles. Gum arabic is also perfect for reshaping your bristles. 

I recommend using Winsor & Newton Paint Brush Cleaner and Restorer. It’s a great product that will help keep your brushes working great!

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If you don’t want to buy new brushes- you probably don’t have to just yet! As long as you wash them after each use, you can prevent pigment buildup and make them last much longer.

How Do I Stop My Brush Bristles From Falling Out?

Shedding paintbrush bristles can fall into your painting, causing smearing or other issues. However, fixing your brushes isn’t very difficult. 

Your brushes should have a metal section near the bristles. Use a pair of pliers to clamp down on the very end of that metal section, as close to the hairs as you can get! Then, squeeze the pliers to tighten the metal.

By doing so, it should have a stronger grip on the hairs and prevent them from falling out! Most brushes have very thin metal, so you shouldn’t have trouble bending it back into place.

The metal can loosen over time, especially if your rushes absorb too much water and start to swell.

Why Are My New Paint Brushes Hard?

New brushes can sometimes be hard and impossible to paint right after buying them. Brushes that ship to you usually come with water-soluble glue over the bristles, so they don’t deform on the way.

These brushes will feel hard and stiff. You can remove the coating easily by running the brush under warm water for about a minute. Then, use your fingers to work the stiffness out of the bristles. You only need to do this with new brushes!

Can You Ruin a Paint Brush?

Unfortunately, it’s easy to ruin a paintbrush. If you don’t wash them well, they build up paint, which hardens and causes damage to the brush. The paint forces apart the bristles, ruining the shape of your brush!

Next, leaving the brushes in water with the bristles facing downwards can also cause a lot of harm. The brush absorbs the water and warps. Plus, the entire weight of the brush pushes on the bristles, causing them to splay out and lose their shape.

Finally, rubbing your brushes into the canvas too roughly will cause the hairs to loosen and fall out. As long as you’re careful, you can easily avoid destroying your favorite brushes!

How To Store Paint Brushes

Storing your paint brushes properly is an essential way to increase their longevity. After washing them, lay them out flat to dry. Once dry, store them with the bristles facing up or keep them on their side- they should never face downwards.

If you have paint on the brush that you want to keep fresh, you can wrap the top of the brush in plastic wrap tightly. Then, use masking tape to seal it off. This process allows you to store a brush for two days in the fridge.

I like to use Mason jars to store my brushes in. It’s a great way to keep your brushes safe and upright.

Final Thoughts

In short, paintbrushes do wear out. The friction of rubbing them against your canvas slowly deteriorates over time. As they break down, the brushes lose their bristles. Eventually, they become extremely difficult to paint with!

You can make your paintbrushes last longer by taking care of them. Please don’t leave them in water, and make sure to lay them down flat to dry. Higher-quality brushes will last longer than low-quality ones, so you may want to invest in more expensive brushes if you love painting.

Make sure to follow all my tips and recommended products to ensure your project turns out great! Also, don’t forget to check out my other articles for all your painting Q&A’s. Happy painting! 

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