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The Care & Feeding of Your Natural Bristle Brush used for Decorative Finishes

A natural bristle brush includes badger, hog or china bristle, sable, squirrel, goat, ox hair and others.

Many large natural bristle brushes are hand-set and since they are sheared from live animals, some of the hairs will be of different lengths.. This is why many of the hairs are not properly affixed to the ferrule of the brush so the brush will shed a lot the first few times you will use it. To minimize this, you should:

  1. Wash the brush with a mild dish soap in warm water and comb and/or brush out the extra bristles with a hair brush. Let dry and do it again. A hog bristle brush will have an aroma reminiscent of Eau de Damp dog. This will go away after a few washings
  2. While the brush is still wet, rub about a tablespoon of 'leave-in' hair conditioner into the brush with your fingers. Do this every day at the final clean up.
  3. Fluff out the brush and either hang or lay flat to dry.

Most of the new acrylic glazes contain ammonia which attacks the structure of each bristle and will eventually make it brittle. The leave-in conditioner contains emulsified paraffin wax which coats each bristle and isolates it from the ammonia.
Such a miniscule amount of wax will not affect the finish that is being brushed and will protect your brush for years of use.

Dried paint:

If some acrylic glaze becomes hardened on the brush, just coat the bristles with Murphy's Oil Soap and leave for several hours or overnight. The paint should then brush out easily and leave your brush as good as new. Another good product for this is "Simple Green"

If there is dried latex on the brush, you can try the soap cure but you should have never used a natural bristle brush with any kind of latex.

3", 4" and 6" natural badger blender brush available at :The Faux Shop

March, 1999

Good Luck and please write with any questions/comments.

— Dean Sickler

Pingo Ergo Sum

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