The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.

Cleaning Paint Rollers and Trays

Cleaning roller sleeves and trays thoroughly after use doesn’t take long and will prolong their life. This guide shows you how to clean out rollers and trays that have been used for water based paints such as emulsion or acrylic.

Cleaning roller sleeves that have been used with solvent paints is time consuming and often not cost effective. The amount of white spirit and brush cleaner used each time is likely to outweigh the cost of the roller sleeve as these are now relatively cheap to buy. On top of that there is the environmental consideration when disposing of these chemicals.

Although it’s tempting to put rollers and brushes to one side for cleaning later it really is best to do the job as soon as you’ve finished painting. The quicker they are cleaned, the easier it is.

Returning unused paint to tub

1. As soon as you finish painting, return any unused paint to the original container unless it has become contaminated. Use a brush to feed the paint back into the tub then replace the lid.

Cleaning the Roller Tray

Rinsing the roller tray

2. Run cold water over the tray and rinse away the worst of the paint.

Using scrubbing brush to remove paint from tray

3. Then, with cold water still running over the tray, use a scrubbing brush to remove the more stubborn paint. Using a circular motion you’ll find the residue comes away quite easily.

Rinsing the tray

4. Give the tray a final rinse once all the paint has been removed and dry it with an old rag. Then store it away for later use.

Cleaning the Roller

5. Work the roller over a scrap board to remove as much of the paint as possible.

Squeezing paint from roller sleeve

6. Holding the roller over the sink with water running, grip one end and slide your other hand down the sleeve quite tightly. This will remove a surprisingly large amount of excess paint.

Rinsing and squeezing paint from sleeve

7. Run the roller under the cold water for a minute or so and repeat the squeezing process above.

Rinsing the roller in part filled sink

8. Now, part fill the sink and work the roller back and forth in clean cold water. Repeat a couple of times.

Cleaning paint from the roller frame

9. Remove the roller sleeve from its frame and give the frame a thorough clean – use the scrubbing brush if needs be.

Working roller until water runs clear

10. Work the pile of the roller sleeve with your hands while running it under cold water. Repeat this process until the water runs clear.

11. Place the sleeve back on the frame and spin it to remove some of the excess water. Do this in the garden where the water spray won’t matter.

12. When storing rollers, hang them so that the sleeve is not touching anything and it is left to air.

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