How to Clean Your Art Work Area & Supplies

We all wish cleaning up after our hours of art work was as fun as the creative task itself! Not only that it is boring, but also it is really challenging sometimes. During my own cleaning battles, I have figured that some chemicals work best in certain type of stains. Let me tell you some tricks and tips I learned about cleaning our art work area an supplies!


How to Remove Charcoal


Have you experienced that after working with charcoal, no matter how many times you wash your hands with soap, it stays there, doesn't go away? It seems like a simple dish soap would work better than hand soap. I tried and it is absolutely true.


I do many charcoal drawings (And my favorite brand is General's!!) My art space has a light pink mat. So, you do the math. It gets really dirty like this:


I tried, dish soap (because it worked on my hand!), hand soap, multi-purpose spray and everything but, nada! It wasn't working... So, I tried another detergent which was in powder form. I thought it would get into all those tiny grooves of my mat. So, I dipped my paper towel in a warm water, then squeezed it and wet the surface of my mat. Then I spread the powder all over. After that, with my wet towel, I scrubbed the surface with this powder: Ajax with bleach.



First I rinsed that muddy powder-water mixture with another clean wet towel. Then as a final step, I wiped it off with my dry paper towel. This was the result, I couldn't believe my eyes!!!:



So, definitely I highly recommend it for charcoal AND watercolor stains that are dry and hard to remove.


How to Remove Dry Watercolor Stains from Your Palette

I know this sounds funny and you think "It is WATERcolor, it goes away with water, duh!" Well, yes but it is not that easy to explain. If you clean your palette after each paint then probably you will be less likely to have a problem. BUT if you feel lazy one day and those colors stay there overnight, just holding them under running water the nextt day won't work.

What I highly recommend is to boil some water and pour it in a cup. Then, get your big size brush, dip it into the water and then go into the corners of the palette just as shown:


Then as a final step, I grabbed a piece of dry paper towel (you can choose a tissue or toilet paper if you like) and tried so wipe that watered down paint off. This was the result!! :


It was soo clean that I was just so proud of myself for a second! Please be careful while dealing with boiling hot water.


How to Clean Watercolor Pens

I LOVE my watercolor brush pens. They are so fun and easy to draw with. But cleaning them is not as fun or easy. Especially the brush cap is difficult to clean, so it took me a while to figure out a strategy to clean them in a most effective way. So, here, I will try to explain step by step:


  1. Unscrew the plastic pen and squeeze the paint + water mixture into the sink.


2. Then, hold and clean both parts under running water.



3. It is not done yet! This part is necessary! Fill up the pen again with clean water, screw it back. Then squeeze the water inside until the water starts to run out clean.


4. As a final step, rub it on a dry paper towel to clean it.


How to Clean Oil Paint from Brushes

Now, I don't do oil paintings but my artist friends do. Oil paint brushes are expensive and they need a good care. If you leave them overnight without cleaning, you will give an irreversible damage to your brush. Here are some artist suggestions on how to clean your paint brushes after each use:


- First, dip them briefly in oil thinner (Gamblin Odorless Solvent would work) or if you are sensitive to thinner, dip them into linseed oil first and make sure the bulk of paint comes off.


- Second, gently wipe them down with paper towel, rinse them in warm water. And repeat this first and second step until the paint comes off.


- Dip in the solvent/oil again and then, on a light colored bar of soap, individually work them and see if any paint is bleeding on the soap. This will allow you to see if there were any oil paint left in the bristle, unseen parts of your brush. Make sure you rare not pushing but instead pulling your brush each time on the soap.


- As a final step, rinse them in warm clean water, wipe them off on a clean towel and let them rest in a protected cover where bristles are touching against nothing.




I hope you found this post helpful! You can get all my real time painting and drawing tutorials on my patreon!: https://patreon.com/ecegurler


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Ece Gurler

Artist&Author