Curd soap: cheap and healthy alternative to harming solvents for cleaning brushes

Curd soap from the local supermarket. Perfect for cleaning brushes!
Curd soap from the local supermarket. Perfect for cleaning brushes!

I rarely use turps or other solvents since they smell disgusting and they really are a risk of health. For painting I just use it occasionally for staining my canvas. So my can of rectified turpentine leads an orphaned life.

A lot of oilpainters use these aggressive solvents to clean their brushes with – and it’s easy to clean brushes with solvents – that’s for sure! But the downsides of the smell, the health risk and also the price let’s me make use of a very good replacement:

Curd Soap – a fatty soap which is capable of brush cleaning and brush care very well! Since it is so fat it dillutes your oilpaint really well and it can be rinsed off with tab water.

And this is how you do it:

after your painting session, wipe your brushes clean by holding toilet paper between thumb and index finger. Between this drag your brush through the toilet paper. Then open the faucet, moisten the curd soap with water and then rub your brush a few times over it in a circular motion. Put the soap aside and rub the brush on the inside of your hand. Rinse your brush. Do this a second time but before finally rinsing it take the brush hair between thumb and index finger and move the hair left to right, right to left, up and down, down and up so that the soap is able to go deep into the brush hair – but be careful not to overdo this! Then rinse it a final time. Wip the brush a few times to get rid of the excess water, then shape the brush hair.

This procedure should be enough to clean your brushes perfectly. If necessary do it a third time.

There is no need to buy special brush soap – it is nothing else than curd soap. You can find a lot of different brands of brush soap for a lot of money. I’ve bought this 250g (8.8 oz) curd soap for 0.45€ (0.60$) in my local supermarket.

This procedure can also be seen in this video:

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