To avoid solvents while cleaning, use Walnut Oil in place of turpentine or odorless mineral spirit. Walnut Oil removes color from the brush or tools as effectively as solvent. Walnut Oil is a natural vegetable oil that does not evaporate or remove essential oils.
To clean brushes while painting, keep two jars (one “dirty” and one “clean”) filled with Walnut Oil – a small piece of screening can be kept in the jar bottom to facilitate removal of color from the brush. As it becomes necessary to clean, dip your brush into the first jar of oil rubbing to dislodge any color and wipe the oil from the brush on the inside lip of the jar. Repeat a few times then dip the brush into the second jar to remove any remaining color. A final wipe on the inside jar lip to remove any leftover oil completes the process.
Since Walnut Oil is slow drying, the same method can be used at the end of the day. If the brushes are to be put aside for several days, a final washing in mild soap and water is recommended.
Reminder: Immediately after use, dispose of contaminated waste in a sealed, water filled metal container. If improperly discarded rags, steel wool or other waste may spontaneously combust when combined with vegetable drying oils and artists’ products made with them.