Brushes and rollers and cleaning, oh my!

In today's age of protecting the planet, it's vital that you're cleaning your paint equipment in an environmentally sustainable manner. Think this sounds hard? Take a look at this expert advice that will help you save water and products when it comes time to finish a project.

Waterbased paints

When dealing with waterbased paints, squeeze the excess product onto an old rag or cardboard box at the end of a job. Once this absorbent material has dried, dispose of it with the household waste. Get a large container, around 20L in size, and fill with water in preparation for washing brushes, rollers and other equipment. A roller spinner can come in handy here, as it quickly and effectively cleans these tools.

Soak brushes and rollers in the water bucket and use your fingers to remove as much product as possible. Once you've removed as much paint as you can, transfer the tools to a second container filled with clean water. This process will act as the final rinse cycle. Cover this bucket and leave it to stand overnight, removing any last trace of paint from the brushes.

The next morning, the paint solids from the first bucket of water should have settled to the bottom, allowing the clear water to be poured into the garden or grassed area. It's important to keep this liquid away from streams, rivers and lakes – this includes steering clear of storm and wastewater drains.

Dispose of the paint solids by scraping them off the container bottom onto an absorbent material like a rag. Once dry, place in a plastic bag and dispose of this. 

Solventborne paints

Solventborne paints require a little extra attention to clean off brushes and rollers. While a similar procedure to the above can be followed, you should use solvents to wash equipment and allow the first container to stand for 24 hours or more, as solventborne paint will take longer to settle to the bottom.

Clear solvent should not be poured onto the ground. Instead, it can be used to top up the second container or decanted to use in the future. Label this clearly and keep it in a safe place, and you should be able to use it time and time again. Don't shake the container, however, as this will disturb the paint solids.

Resene WashWise

While the two container cleaning system is both effective and eco-friendly, some painters may prefer to use a wash unit. For these tradespeople, Resene has worked with RA Industries of Australia and have introduced the Reclaimer system to New Zealand

The Resene WashWise Reclaimer quickly separates water from paint, and is both portable and easy to use. It uses a low level of treatment chemicals, being kinder to the planet while still performing the basic duty of cleaning tools. The water can be recycled from the primary wash process and returned to the unit, which minimises the amount of waste during cleaning. 

Micron filters of different sizes are used to process water at different stages of the settlement process. All that is needed for ongoing use is Resene WashWise Reclaimate. Because the effluent produced by the system is of such high quality, it can be reused to save large volumes of water. As much as 95 per cent of the original water can be saved from each treatment and reused, which is great news for the environment.

No matter which method you choose to clean your paint and rollers, make sure it's as kind to the planet as it is effective.

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