Trim: Dairy Compartment, Primer: Vegetable Drawer

I know everyone is dying for a painting tip, right? I see. Ah well, I’ll share it anyhow…


If you’re painting with latex paints, and the job is going to take more than a day (or you just need a longish break), putting used brushes and rollers in the refrigerator prevents them from drying out — and more importantly, prevents you from having to clean the brushes until you’re done with the job for good.

I hate cleaning brushes, so this tip is a life saver. Just put the brushes in a plastic bag (I prefer the recyclable grocery bag variety) and pop it in the veggie drawer… or wherever. I find allotting certain sections of the refrigerator for different paint types helpful. And you may as well.

When you need them again, they’ll be ready to go. Who would’ve thought you’d get such great home improvement advice here? The again, maybe you haven’t.


  1. Actually, that’s a very good tip. I’d hate to know what Health Canada would say, though …
    Speaking of which, are there any good CSS-based cooking or home inprovment sites out there (like You Grow Girl for gardening)?

  2. Jesse Wilson says:

    Indeed, an extremely useful tip for those of who have other passions than just web/graphic design.
    Too bad; however, that I rarely paint with those of the latex variety.

  3. Brian says:

    Aluminum foil is also a good way to wrap rollers and put in the refrigerator for use later.

  4. Lynn P. says:

    That actually helps a lot because after you wash out a brush it takes too long to dry. Using it the next day affects the paint in a sucky way.

  5. Ryan Brill says:

    I’ve never tried the refrigerator trick, but have wrapped brushes in plastic bags to keep the air off them for short amounts of time (say, lunch, etc.). How long does the ‘fridge keep them pliable and usable?

  6. Ryan – I believe indefinitely. I’ve been using various brushes off and on for the past week and they keep just fine. Fantastic if you’re going back and forth from trim, primer and wall paints.

  7. That was really good timing, truthfully. I’m getting ready to paint my bedroom tomorrow, and this will certainly come in handy.

  8. Hmmm… does this tip work even for frost-free refrigerators, that suck all life (or at least water) from anything you put there?

  9. Gambit says:

    Rad tip,
    W “Mmm honey what that yumee synthetic smell coming from the fridge”,
    M “O its just my paint brush”
    W “I’ve heard pf those, they go really well with honey and yogurt”

  10. Ryan Brill says:

    Wow, that’s excellent. Makes me want to go paint something – or wait, no, I guess it doesn’t… ;)

  11. web says:

    I also hear that a carrot makes a great paint stirrer in a pinch.
    Never would have thought of putting the paintbrush in the fridge. Learn something new every day at this site I tell you.

  12. If you are going to be painting, you need one of these: A Paint Brush Spinner. They are great for trying brushes and rollers and make the washing process a whole lot more fun! Just on hint on using them: Use them only in a deep sink, tub or outside. They can make a ROYAL mess!

  13. Sorry, that last link didn’t work for some reason :( . Here is another one. Paint brush Spinner. You should be able to find them at a local paint store or one of the mega home improvement stores that got so much of my money this summer!

  14. Heather says:

    I wish I stopped by here yesterday…..
    Last night I painted my dining room with Red Alert. Not a great color to try and get out of the roller.
    That’s okay – I have about 3 more coats to go.

  15. Tore says:

    Dang, I wish you’ve written that one week earlier. I’ve just finished painting my new house… and I’ve been bitching to everybody who wanted to listen (not to mention af few who didn’t) about how cleaning the brushes every night wasn’t the most annoying part of the job. (Well that, and painting 136 square meters of ceiling with milky-thin lye).

  16. Tom says:

    (innocent husband) “Mmmm…honey give me a popsicle..”
    (wicked wife) “Here you are honey..”
    (innocent husband) “ this vanilla? It tastes different…”
    (wicked wife) “uhh..yeah that’s it..vanilla!”

  17. Interesting. I too am surprised that the refrigerator does not suck the moisture out of the paint. I always wrap my latex brushes/rollers in plastic wrap during a job and clean them with soap and water after the job is done. If I had a terraium, I might put them in it overnight to keep them moist. :-)
    For oil, simply fill a jar/can whatever with linseed oil — not too much — just enough to cover the suspended brush birstles in the jar or can. Suspend the brushes with a bit of coat wire and a strategically located hole in the handle (you will likely need to drill your own). Brushes can be stored like this indefinitely. The oil will need to be changed at some point during your life, depending on how much painting you do.
    Work the oil out before each use — this will happen naturally over the course of the work but you can also work the brush across the surface of some newspaper or, even better (especially if it’s wood), the surface you are painting.
    Linseed oil impregnated in a rag or paper will spontaneously combust! Leave the article flat to dry thoroughly before putting it in a waste can. Be patient! I’ve also known others to place their imregnated rags in water — the items won’t mix of course but no oxegyn is available for combustion. If the rag needs to go into the water immediately, apparently wetting the rag and sealing it in a plastic bag also prevents combustion but I have never been bold enough to try this.
    Never leave a oil impregnated rag in a heep — even a small one for a short period of time — always lay it out flat.

  18. rebecca says:

    You can also *freeze* the paint brushes & rollers (when you’re using acrylic paint)… just let them thaw for a little while before you use them again. You can keep them this way for months and they don’t smell up your fridge (butter, eggs, and other food absorbs fridge smells).

  19. Lucian says:

    Won’t the whole fridge smell like paint?

  20. Arthur says:

    I just moved into a new apartment and my landlord did this and my whole fridge (and the food) smells like paint. Suggestions?

  21. jens says:

    Please help!!!
    I’m in the exact same position. We just moved in and the guy who was refinishing hte floors put his brush covered in polyurethane in the fridge. Everythign now has this awful smell of paint/nasty cancer causing chemical. I had to throw out half my lunch today because of it. Yuck!. We’ve put baking soda in the fridge (spread out on cookie sheets to maximize surface area) and it’s helped some but not enough. Any good idea’s?