Brushes and sponges -- two of the most important tools when it comes to face painting. Take good care of these tools and they'll take good care of you!

It doesn't matter if you're performing at a small birthday party or a large festival, your tools need to be clean. Whether at home or on the job, you need to clean your brushes and sponges properly -- in fact, it may even be required by law in some places. But when you think about how many germs we all carry around with us, why not take the steps to help stop spreading them further?

How To Clean Brushes & Sponges On The Job

Think about the last time you performed at a party or a large gathering. People are always watching you, whether you are painting or just gathering your thoughts and getting ready for the next piece of art. They're taking a look at your kits and your tools and watching to see how you present yourself.

When you go out to eat, no one is complaining about the dishes being washed -- so when you stop to clean your tools before moving on to the next face, no one is going to be upset! Parents want the best for their children and festival-goers want to enjoy their time without getting sick. Don't worry about taking a few moments to clean up and sanitize your workspace.

Cleaning Brushes on the Job

Everyone has a different setup but when it comes to tidiness you should have at least 3 containers for your brushes: one for clean water, one for alcohol, and one for dirty water. 

When you're ready to clean off your brushes, here's what to do:

  1. Take the brush and swish it around in your first container with a little bit of brush bath or a drop of soap. If necessary, add a silicone brush cleaner in the bottom of the water -- this will help with bristle cleaning.
  2. Move the brush to your second container of clean water with an added surgical scrub brush at the bottom.
  3. Remove the brush and wipe it dry on a clean towel to remove water.
  4. Use 70% Isopropyl Alcohol next to saturate the brush (once dry, no residue will be left behind).
  5. Shape your bristles and place your brushes out to dry. This should take around 5 to 15 minutes pending the temperature and humidity. If it's sunny outside, place your brushes in the sunlight for a quicker drying process.

It's important to remember not to leave your brushes soaking in the water while you are working. This can cause the bristles to bend and shorten the lifetime of your brushes.

Meticulously cleaning your station between every person is not necessary but cleaning your brushes is a must. Be sure to have enough brushes on hand to have some drying while you are working on the next painting. This will ensure little downtime while you work.

Cleaning Sponges on the Job

Once you get set up, place a large bag on the back of the client's chair. Use a new sponge for each person you work on. When you're finished painting with that sponge, toss it into a bucket of water to start soaking. This will keep the sponges wet making them easy to clean. If you're not able to keep them wet -- no worries, dry sponges can also be cleaned but it will take a little longer.

A good rule of thumb is to know how many sponges you'll need beforehand. At your next gig, make note of how many you go through during a painting. Usually, it will take 20-30 sponges per hour of work. Make sure you bring enough sponges with you!

How To Clean Sponges At Home

Take a large bucket of hot water and add some soap to it. Dawn is a good choice as it's good at removing dirt and grime.

Use rubber gloves to protect your hands and work the soap through the sponges. Make sure the water is very hot when you start and let the sponges sit in the water until it is lukewarm. Once they're done soaking, wash all the sponges individually and let them dry out overnight.

Here are some extra tips to keep your sponges clean:

  • If you have some with stubborn paint, let the sponges soak overnight and then wash then individually in the morning.
  • Check your washing machine for a sanitize cycle and toss them in!
  • Need the sponges to dry quickly? Toss them in a dryer bag in your dryer on the high heat setting.
  • Purchase black sponges or dye them black so they don't look stained.
  • Ensure that your sponges are completely dry before placing them in your kit.

How To Clean Brushes At Home

This process should be a breeze if you're continually cleaning your brushes while at a gig. The important thing to do is to get into the habit of cleaning your whole kit while at home. Clean it up and organize it after every gig.

Give your brushes a good clean rub in the sink and inspect them to make sure they're in tip-top shape. Check for any leftover paint as well as any loose ends. You don't want anything to fall out on your next gig!

Regardless of the gigs you perform and the sizes of your brushes, keeping a clean kit and tools will not only make a good impression on your clients but you will also be helping to stop the spread of germs. When you take good care of your tools, you're extending the life of your brushes and saving money in the process. It doesn't matter if you're painting Spidermen or fairy faces, if you keep your tools in good condition, you'll be in good shape!

In the Santa Monica area and need a professional face painting artist for your next event? Check out this page and receive a free instant quote.