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Cleaning acrylics from paintbrushes and airbrushes

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LDF
  • Member since
    August, 2017
Cleaning acrylics from paintbrushes and airbrushes
Posted by LDF on Thursday, August 17, 2017 10:42 PM

I'm totally new to this and have been reading and watching videos to try to get up to speed. I plan on using Tamiya acrylics for both airbrushing and paintbrushing, and using the Tamiya  x20-a for thinning the paint, but I'd like to use something cheaper for cleaning. It looks like either isopropyly alcohol or Windex with ammonia are cheap and will work for cleaning. Is there an advantage to using one over the other? Will they both work for both types of brushes?

  • Member since
    January, 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Friday, August 18, 2017 1:56 PM

I use Tamiya brand cleaner and Testors Universal Brand airbrush cleaner to clean my airbrush and brushes. Some folks here do use Windex and other alternative products as well.

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Northern New Jersey
Posted by Tojo72 on Friday, August 18, 2017 4:20 PM
I use the Medea-Iwata Cleaner for cleaning brushes and airbrush for acrylics.It's fairly cheap at about $10 a pint,goes a long way.

  • Member since
    July, 2013
Posted by modelmaker66 on Friday, August 18, 2017 11:28 PM

I use laquer thinner and windex for my airbrush and General Pencil Company Inc., The Masters Brush Cleaner & Preserver  for brushes after rinsing with water if acrylic, lacquer thinner if enamel or oil. Alwaus use the soap. It does so good at cleaning and treats the brush and conditions it. here is a link. They make other sizes too.

https://www.amazon.com/General-Pencil-Company-Masters-Preserver/dp/B001TNR7VM

 

 

  • Member since
    October, 2010
Posted by hypertex on Saturday, August 19, 2017 7:00 AM

Two part anser for you questions:

1. Alcohol vs. windex as an airbrush cleaner for Tamiya acryics--I don't know which is cheaper, but windex does a better job of cleaning an airbrush than does alcohol. The windex dissolves the tamiya acrylic, while the alcohol is just a diluent.

For other brands of acrylic, windex does not work as well. For example, I've tested the cleaning power of windex of tamiya vs vallejo acrylics. Windex clearly dissolves the Tamiya paint much faster than vallejo.

2. Don't use solvents to clean your regular brushes. Just use soap and water. The trick to keeping your brushes clean is to never let paint dry on them. Regularly swish your brushes in water while you are painting. Then when you are done, clean with soap and water. I also like the Master brush cleaner that someone else mentioned.

If you do allow a little paint to dry on the brush, you can try a cleaner like Winsor and Newton brush restorer. But don't soak the brush in a solvent overnight because the bristles will come loose (I had this happen once).

LDF
  • Member since
    August, 2017
Posted by LDF on Saturday, August 19, 2017 3:05 PM

Thanks, your explanation of dissolving vs diluting helps me understand. 

  • Member since
    August, 2017
Posted by laskdjn on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 12:10 PM

hypertex

Two part anser for you questions:

1. Alcohol vs. windex as an airbrush cleaner for Tamiya acryics--I don't know which is cheaper, but windex does a better job of cleaning an airbrush than does alcohol. The windex dissolves the tamiya acrylic, while the alcohol is just a diluent.

For other brands of acrylic, windex does not work as well. For example, I've tested the cleaning power of windex of tamiya vs vallejo acrylics. Windex clearly dissolves the Tamiya paint much faster than vallejo.

2. Don't use solvents to clean your regular brushes. Just use soap and water. The trick to keeping your brushes clean is to never let paint dry on them. Regularly swish your brushes in water while you are painting. Then when you are done, clean with soap and water. I also like the Master brush cleaner that someone else mentioned.

If you do allow a little paint to dry on the brush, you can try a cleaner like Winsor and Newton brush restorer. But don't soak the brush in a solvent overnight because the bristles will come loose (I had this happen once).

 

I paint with Vallejo acrylics.

Having recently made a trip to Coast Airbrush for parts and speaking with one of the reps there regarding airbrush cleaning, I was told to never use Windex in an airbrush.  The ammonia will react with the chrome lining inside the cup.  Therefore, when I clean mine, I use either the Iwata Airbrush cleaner if I'm going for a quick flush, or I use 91% isopropyl alcohol for a deeper clean, and then allowing all the parts to air dry before continuing.

  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 2:47 PM

I also use Tamiya acrylics now and then. I highly recommend that you use the Tamiya thinner for your paint thinning. I have found that they do not hand brush very well but Vallejo Model Color does hand brush well. I just got some Vallejo Air to try out in the air brush thinned with their brand thinner and performed well.

I use lacquer thinner to clean both air and hand brushes. The LT removes both enamels and acrylics from both hand and air brushes.

Before anyone says that LT is too harsh, I have been using LT since the mid 1970's and still have my first ab, a Badger 150 purchased in the mid 1970's and still works like new.

My hand brushes last me an eternity. I gently tap the bristles inside the glass jar with LT and you can see all the paint come off that regular thinner failed to remove. I then gently wipe them on a paper towel.

Never soak the back end of an ab (where the trigger and air valve are at) in any kind of solvent. I have also heard not to use ammonia in a chrome ab cause it may etch and eat into the finish. 

  • Member since
    August, 2017
Posted by DoEddi on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 3:27 AM

LDF

I'm totally new to this and have been reading and watching videos to try to get up to speed. I plan on using Tamiya acrylics for both airbrushing and paintbrushing, and using the Tamiya  x20-a for thinning the paint, but I'd like to use something cheaper for cleaning. It looks like either isopropyly alcohol or Windex with ammonia are cheap and will work for cleaning. Is there an advantage to using one over the other? Will they both work for both types of brushes?

I use Gunze Lacquer paint's thinner for cleaning airbrush and paint brush. And do not have any problem so far.

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 4:49 AM

For brushes i use good old tap water. For my airbrush i have just started useing the same one as Tojo.

''I am a Norfolk man, and i glory in being so''

  

On the bench: Hasegawa 1/32nd Fw 190D-9    

  • Member since
    December, 2013
  • From: Orlando Florida
Posted by route62 on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 8:03 AM

2nd plastic junkie on laquer thinner for both.  I have been using LT for 20 plus years for cleaning both and still have my original airbrush that works great.  I have brushes that are 5 years old and still work great.

  • Member since
    June, 2014
Posted by bluenote on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 8:49 AM

Honestly, I always use the cleaner within the brand of paint I'm using.  If I'm using Tamiya paints, I'll use the Tamiya airbrush cleaner.  A bottle of airbrush cleaner will last me years, so any savings would be pennies, if that.  And, there is no question that it'll work on the paint I'm using.  My advice is to keep it simple

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