How to Clean a Large Paint Roller - Fine Homebuilding

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Theres a Better Way


How to Clean a Large Paint Roller

comments (10) March 14th, 2012 in Blogs
grateful.ed Chuck Miller, editor at large

Video Length: 1:32
Produced by: John Ross


If you're rolling walls with water-soluble paint, you could just throw the roller away when you're done, or you could clean it in the sink and spend a lot of time doing it, but there's a better way.


More Painting Video-Tips


How to:

- Stop paint from bleeding under masking tape
- Keep a paintbrush from drying out between coats
- Spray paint screw heads without the mess
- Paint doors efficiently


Mel Wolpert from Weatogue, CT, has figured out a way to use a garden hose and centrifugal force to clean a paint roller. This is a kid's dream come true--you get to play with water and accomplish something at the same time. What we're going to do is load this roller up with red paint and see if we can get this to work.

First, scrape the bulk of the paint out of the roller with your handy five-in-one tool. Then hang the end of the roller over a 5-gallon bucket or other rigid surface and spray across one edge of the roller with a strong stream of water from your garden hose. The force of the water will spin the roller and rinse out all of the paint in no time. Be sure to do this in a place where you're not worried about making a bit of a mess.

Great tip, Mel. Thanks.

Bonus tip: If you don't want to have to clean the paint tray, wrap it in a 5-gallon plastic garbage bag.


posted in: Blogs, painting

Comments (10)

Amish Electrician Amish Electrician writes: Chuck ... come on, now, let's get real!

First, the cleaning method:
yup, spinning the roller like mad with a stream of water does clean it almost store-bought new. Almost. But your's isn't the way to do it.

No, what you do- first- is take a rolling trash can and drill a 1/2" hole in each corner. Next, you replace the usual spray nozzle on your hose with a little valve and little brass open nozzle. (Find them in the garden section). Now you can stand to the side, reach in the can with both the hose and the roller, (roller in the VERTICAL position), and spin away. Reverse the direction a few times. For the last few spins let the water jet just barely kiss the edge of the roller, and most of the water will spin off. Roller is now clean and fluffy.

Of course, there are a variety of things on the market that claim to clean your roller just as well, and in the convenience of your kitchen sink. One resembles a big pitcher and spins the roller on its' handle. Another has you remove the roller and put it in a tight cylinder. Maybe FHB might consider doing a review of these gizmos.

Now, as for the trash bag idea ... yea, right. I have enough trouble with today's pans getting enough traction to roll the roller in the pan as it is. The trash bag will only make it harder ... then get pushed out of the pan, to deposit paint all around the tray.

While we're on the topic ... what about cleaning brushes, pans, and everything else? Might I suggest a 20 gallon 'parts washer,' found at the local import or auto parts store for about $90? Self supported by its' own legs, it has a pump and nozzle with just enough oomph for cleaning painting tools. Heck, it even does a decent job of hand-cleaning rollers. Toss in a quart of 'radiator treatment,' and you need not worry about algae or rust. I do advise that you make a better drain; I used a "Myers hub" from the electrical aisle and a valve from the plumbing aisle.
Posted: 6:02 pm on March 21st

Benjamin1988 Benjamin1988 writes: Never thought of this. Great idea

BENJAMIN RAUCHER
Posted: 5:41 pm on March 20th

Benjamin1988 Benjamin1988 writes: Lining the pan with the plastic is a simple idea I never thought of

BENJAMIN RAUCHER
Posted: 5:38 pm on March 20th

Gepettos Gepettos writes: Easier way for me is to just place the roller in a plastic bag, remove all the air and seal with tape.

Stays ready to go when I need it again. Up to the next day.

Now I am not a professional and do not paint my house every other week. Just toss it when all done with the color or project.

I get a couple of rollers so I can switch colors when necessary
Posted: 8:54 pm on March 19th

AKAndrew AKAndrew writes: Maybe it’s just me, however spraying paint all over the yard seems like poor form and I’m sure it’s not good for the ground water
Posted: 12:42 pm on March 19th

fpratt fpratt writes: Sorry to sound mean, but this is the dumbest Quick Tip I've ever watched. Like Cornelius99 says; why not use a spinner? It's quicker, less messy and will do a lot better job.
Posted: 8:51 am on March 19th

Cornelius99 Cornelius99 writes: How about using a paint roller spinner, which is made for this job?
Posted: 8:29 am on March 19th

InspiredInside InspiredInside writes: I used to do it this way, but found even a clean roller cover never seemed to dry right, and subsequent use always left an undesirable texture in the paint surface. So against my frugal tendencies, I just started throwing them away. Never thought of the air hose tip...however most paint jobs don't require my lugging along the air compressor.
Posted: 12:03 pm on March 16th

britchie britchie writes: I've been doing it this way for years. Now get out your air hose and spin/blow dry it. Will fluff the thing out just about like new!
Posted: 5:33 pm on March 15th

Wood_Sculptor Wood_Sculptor writes: That brings back memories of when I painted new houses on weekends during my Junior and Senior years in high school. I like the wheelbarrow as a shield but that wasn't necessary on a new construction site--no lawn to mess up.

You have to be careful and not over-rev the roller. You might float a valve or throw a rod.
Posted: 8:32 pm on March 14th

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