How To Clean Paint Rollers

Paint rollers are an essential tool for any DIY enthusiast or professional painter. They make painting large surfaces a breeze and can help you achieve a smooth, even finish. However, cleaning paint rollers can be a bit of a hassle, especially if you want to keep them in good condition for future use. In this blog, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to clean paint rollers effectively and efficiently.

Why is it Important to Clean Paint Rollers?

Painting your home is probably one of the least expensive ways to refresh your home. You can do this either in the interior or exterior of your home, but regardless, painting can be the difference to having an attractive home. When it comes to painting, knowing the colour you want and the type of paint is essential. Having the proper tools and materials is equally important because you wouldn’t have anything to paint with without them!

Learning how to clean paint rollers for reuse is crucial for several reasons:

  • Extending the life of your paint rollers: Proper cleaning and maintenance can help your paint rollers last longer, saving you money in the long run.
  • Ensuring a smooth paint application: A clean paint roller will provide a more even and consistent finish.
  • Preventing paint contamination: Reusing a dirty paint roller can contaminate your paint, causing issues with colour and finish.

Tools needed:

  • 5-in-1 tool + Bucket
  • Firm bristle brush
  • Paintbrush comb
  • Putty knife
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety glasses


  • 5-in-1 tool + Bucket
  • Firm bristle brush
  • Paintbrush comb
  • Putty knife
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety glasses

According to professional painters, you should not pass up the opportunity to buy quality paint brushes and tools. For best results, it should always be about quality over quantity. In addition, when you buy the best tools and materials, it will last you a long-time when you clean and reuse them. With all this in mind, let us show you how to clean paint rollers.

How to Clean Paint Rollers

Think of a paint roller as a sponge, as it is very absorbent and can capture excess paint. Capturing any excess paint will be the difference between a finished and unfinished paint job. Also, it might be the difference between you ultimately buying another expensive bucket of paint.

Use your curved-edge 5-in-1 tool or a putty knife to remove excess paint from the roller. Then, you can put it back into the paint bucket beside you. And this is why you should clean your paint brushes or rollers before using them because then little paint pieces would not easily fall off. How can cleaning your paint roller be a more straightforward process? The more paint you can remove off the paint roller before washing, the easier the job will be. You should use a newspaper to remove all the excess paint until you see none left.

Washing Roller Frame

You should always clean the roller frame immediately after using it to paint either latex or an oil-based product. Also, you must wear rubber gloves to remove the cover from the roller. Put the cover aside for a moment and clean off the roller frame. The quickest way to clean a roller frame is when the paint is still wet. Also, paints that consume a higher gloss are much tougher to clean. 

  • Oil paint: Use mineral spirits on a damp cloth to scrub off the paint. 
  • Latex paint: To clean off latex paint from a paint roller, you will need a warm bucket of water and a tiny amount of dish soap. While you will need a firm-bristled brush with long handles to help scrub away tiny patches. That way, it can fit inside the roller frame.
  • As a caution, you should always wear eye protection when dealing with solvents.
Washing Roller Frame

How to Clean the Roller Cover

For oil paint:

  • First, get a container and fill it with paint thinner or mineral spirits. You do this to submerge the roller cover.
  • Second, choose the smallest container you own to use a minimum amount of solvent.
  • Third, Work the cover with the solvent and release the paint.
  • After approximately 5 to 7 minutes, remove the cover and put the excess paint back into the container.
  • Then, pour the remaining solvent into a disposable bottle.
  • Next, clean the container with a paper towel or a damp cloth.
  • Now, you will remove the cover and allow the excess solvent to go back into the container, then let it dry in a ventilated area for only a few minutes.
  • Then, combine the used solvent into the used solvent bottle you previously started.
  • Lastly, wash the cover with warm water and a small dish detergent. Wait for it to completely dry.

Latex paint:

  • First, submerge the roller cover in warm water with a few drops of detergent.
  • Second, squeeze the paint out using your hands.
  • Then, rinse the cover with clean water or in a bucket.
  • Finally, shake the remaining water from the cover and patiently wait for it to dry.

Tips for Cleaning Paint Rollers Easily

Is there an easy way to clean paint rollers? Yes, there are easier ways to clean paint rollers.

Tip 1: Use a paint roller spinner

A paint roller spinner is a fantastic tool that makes cleaning paint rollers a breeze. This device spins the roller rapidly, forcing out excess paint and water. To use a paint roller spinner:

  • Scrape off as much excess paint as possible using a 5-in-1 tool or a paint scraper.
  • Next, attach the roller to the spinner and hold it over a bucket or sink.
  • Pump the spinner handle to spin the roller, forcing out the remaining paint and water.

Tip 2: Scrape off excess paint

Before you start cleaning your paint roller, removing as much excess paint as possible is essential. To do this:

  • Roll the paint roller on a scrap piece of cardboard or a paint tray to remove excess paint.
  • And then. use a paint scraper or a 5-in-1 tool to scrape any remaining paint from the roller.

Tip 3: Use the right cleaning solution

The type of paint you’ve used will determine the best cleaning solution for your paint roller. Warm water and mild dish soap will do the trick for water-based paints, such as latex or acrylic. On the other hand, this is how to clean paint rollers oil-based

  • You’ll need to use paint thinner or mineral spirits. 
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for properly using and disposing of these chemicals.

Tip 4: Soak and scrub

  • To clean your paint roller easily, try soaking it in a bucket or sink filled with warm, soapy water (or paint thinner for oil-based paints) for at least 30 minutes. This will help loosen any remaining paint.
  • After soaking, use a stiff brush or roller cleaning tool to scrub the paint roller, removing any stubborn paint residue.

Tip 5: The lazy man’s trick

You can try the lazy man’s trick if you’re short on time or don’t feel like going through the whole cleaning process. First, put the paint roller in plastic or a plastic bag and store it in the freezer. This will prevent the paint from drying, and you can reuse the roller for future painting projects without cleaning it. Lastly, just let the roller thaw and reach room temperature before using it again.

Roller Brush

Tip 6: Dry and store properly

After cleaning your paint roller, it’s essential to dry it thoroughly to prevent mould and mildew growth. You can either use a roller spinner to remove excess water or stand the roller on its end to air dry. Ensure the roller is completely dry before storing it to ensure it’s ready for your next painting project.

Try not to clean everything at once

Once we start a project, we want to clean it immediately, but you don’t have to clean everything at once. And you can store your paint roller if this project breaks overnight or drags into the weekend. Take it out, wipe the handle and cover the roller with plastic. Additionally, you can use a kitchen wrap or a zip-top bag because they will seal the air away from the wet paint. 

To recap, knowing the colour you want and the type of paint is essential for painting. Proper tools and materials are equally important because you wouldn’t have anything to paint with without them. According to professional painters, you should not pass up the opportunity to buy quality paint brushes and tools. By knowing how to clean paint rollers, you will not only save time, but you will save money too, and without a lot of effort!

Indeed, cleaning paint rollers may not be the most enjoyable task, but it’s essential to maintain the quality of your painting tools and ensure a smooth, even finish on your projects. Furthermore, by following these steps, you can keep your paint rollers in top condition and ready for your next painting project.

Painter Painting With Roller

Don’t forget to visit our Pinterest page for all sorts of exterior painting and interior painting inspiration! 

More interesting blogs related to 

Are you considering doing exterior or interior painting and need a reliable, professional Toronto house painter? Our team of professional painters has over 36 years of experience behind them. Call 416.494.9095 or email for a FREE quote for your home painting needs.