Mold on Brushes

Q. I work with acrylics, using synthetic brushes and a few hog-bristle brushes. My style is to work quickly and thus I’m quite hard on my brushes. Recently, I accidentally left a bunch of them in a bucket of water for a few days, and when I returned they smelled moldy. I washed them thoroughly, but I’m not sure whether I should use them. Could they cause deterioration down the road in any paintings I use them for?

A. As long as you clean them with special attention and care, the brushes should be fine and won’t harm future paintings. Try this: After washing the brushes in warm, soapy water, rinse them in denatured alcohol to kill off any remaining mold spores. Rinse the brushes again in water, and they should be perfectly safe for use.

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