Spring Clean Your Watercolour Palette

So you have a palette that’s seen better days. It used to be sparkling white, but now there are stubborn paint stains that just won’t budge. The colours in your pans are a mess, and there may even be a bit of mould sneaking in. It’s time for a spring clean! Whether you’re working with a plastic, enamel or ceramic palette, there are several ways to clean your watercolour palette back on track and looking its best.

What I’ll be Mentioning

  • Water
  • Soap (Dish Soap works, but I also recommend The Master’s Brush Cleaner)
  • Diluted Vinegar or toothpaste for especially stubborn paint stains
  • Denatured alcohol wipes
  • Cream Household Cleaner – I’ve used the same cleaner I use to clean my stovetop and it’s worked wonders on stubborn stains.
  • Baking soda with lemon
  • Scrubby Brush & Hot Water
  • Palette Knife: useful to scrape out old paint

Cleaning Your Palette

Remove Excess Paint

Use a paper towel or cloth to wipe off any excess wet paint from the wells or mixing areas of your palette. Palette knives are useful for scraping out any old paint in corners. Dispose of the excess paint in a proper container.

Rinse with Water

Hold your palette under running water or use a container filled with water to rinse off the remaining paint. Swirl the palette around in the water to dislodge any paint residue.

Scrub the Palette

For stubborn or dried-on paint, use a gentle scrubbing brush or a soft toothbrush to scrub the surface of the palette. You can also add a small amount of mild soap or dish detergent to the brush for more effective cleaning. Scrub gently to avoid damaging the palette.

Rinse Thoroughly

Rinse the palette again under running water or in a container of clean water to remove any soap or detergent residue. Ensure that all paint and cleaning agents are thoroughly rinsed off.

Dry the Palette

After rinsing, pat the palette dry with a clean towel or paper towel. You can also leave it to air dry in a well-ventilated area. Make sure it is completely dry before using it for your next painting session to prevent dilution or contamination of your paints.

Cleaning Your Paints

It’s important to clean your watercolour palette regularly to prevent colours from mixing or becoming muddy. Clean your palette after each painting session or when you notice a buildup of dried paint. Proper cleaning and maintenance of your palette will help ensure accurate colour mixing and extend the lifespan of your paints.

Removing Hair & Dust

I use a wet cotton pad to wipe off any dust or paint. You will need to change your pad between different colours, as otherwise you’ll cross-contaminate them.

Removing Mould From Paint

If you’ve noticed mould growing on your paint, try using a denatured rubbing alcohol swab to kill off the growth. Clove oil is also good at stopping mould in its tracks.

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