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How to Clean a Paint Roller: the Quick & Easy {Kinda Messy} Way

It’s a scientifically proven fact that the absolute WORST part of painting a room is the clean-up, especially cleaning up the paint roller.

Well, I’m sharing a brilliant new discovery today! It’s pretty much right on par with fire, the wheel, dark chocolate and pinterest.

Okay maybe not dark chocolate.

Andy figured out this new way to clean a paint roller so it’s paint-free and dry within about a minute, ready to be used again. Before, we’d hold a paint roller under a running faucet for like TEN YEARS, rubbing the paint out with our hands until the water runs clear, and always ALWAYS missing some paint.

Enough talking! Here’s my handsome Other Half in his paint-iest clothes. I take no blame for the subpar cinematography. Or the painty clothes.

If you can’t watch the video because you’re at work or reading this blog from a 1976 typewriter device of some kind, here’s the rundown:
1. Without removing the paint roller from the… uh… paint roller tool thing (also called a paint roller?), soak it with a water hose.
2. Now use the water hose to get the paint roller spinning until the water and paint start flying off the roller like friggin MAGIC.
3. Continue until all the paint is gone. It’s seriously miraculous, guys.
4. The end.

Nice, eh? Yep, you might get kinda messy, so you probably shouldn’t wear your finest garments for this job. Just stick to shorts and you should be set.

Oh yeah — one more thing.

Click here to see what Andy’s talking about.
Easy, free trick to clean paint rollers SUPER fast!

Do you have any great tricks for clean-up after painting? Do you hate cleaning paint rollers as much as I do?

Let's connect


  1. Genius! The paint roller problem is so vexing that a while back I tried different trick–just buying new ones. But that always felt super lame, and not nearly as fun as this trick looks. Thanks for the hot tip!

  2. It is magic! lol I usually throw them away instead of trying to clean, thanks for the tip!

  3. That’s how D does it too! He’s changed my life in more than one way, that’s for sure. 😉

    • Wow! I’m super impressed. Getting ready to paint our home we bought months ago. Very excited to get paint on the walls. Now I’m not dreading the worst part of painting – cleaning those rollers. Oh for sure I hate that task. Now that I have this BRILLIANT tip from you, I’m not dreading a thing.

  4. Brilliant! The only problem is that this is hard to do when it’s snowing outside. Does Andy have any ideas on that conundrum? Aside from having a perma frozen paint roller…..
    I usually just toss them, but it gets expensive after a while.

  5. Seriously this might be life changing. how many hours of wasted time have I spent cleaning paint rollers??? Amazing!

  6. I just have got to get my husband on board with this. I love that he likes to repurpose things with paint and stain, but I am so sick of finding rock-hard paintbrushes and rollers that he “forgets” to wash out! It’s kind of an expensive habit! 🙂

  7. I’ve totally used this for my method for years especially when I painted for College Pro Painters…Pretty sure there was one house where they didn’t own an outdoor hose and it sucked because we had to slowly clean our equipment by hand for that project! But I was taught well…back when my parents were building/finishing their house, they’d take all the brushes and rollers to the local DIY car wash and just super-duper-high-power-sprayed the paint out of everything — it really is the best method if you’re doing a lot of painting 🙂

  8. Pinned it! I love how Andy just turned the hose on himself at the end!

  9. I remember that method from my bad old days as a housepainter! (Not that housepainting is bad. Just that it was not-so-good for me.) Only problem is that I don’t have room to do this outside (there’s a line from an Alexandre Dumas novel, about how if the yard were any smaller, you’d call it a bouquet — that’s about right for my yard). But! I found a way to do this in my sink: put the roller inside an aluminum piece of dryer vent or even an old cardboard oatmeal canister with the bottom knocked out, before spraying it with the sink hose.

    Also, I strongly suggest that the last step be taking the roller off the handle and washing out the inside of the roller and the “cage” part of the handle. It’s no fun at all when the roller glues itself to the handle with dried paint, or when the handle part rusts and your lovely paint starts turning brown from the rust soaking through.

  10. This is genius!

  11. What a great idea. I’ll have to try this when ever we decide to paint a room. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been reading your blog posts and you are so funny and clever.

  12. I totally had to switch over form my circa 1994 word processor to see the video but absolutely love the tip!! Pinning!

  13. Great idea! It would only work for about 5 months of the year here though!! I usually just throw them away…but I’ll definitely store this in the back of my mind!

  14. Can’t wait to try this. I have a roller with paint on it that has been sitting in my refrigerator, wrapped in a plastic grocery bag, for probably a month. Or more. I wonder how its doing…

  15. Okay, I’ll try it next time I paint. I usually just buy disposable ones but I always hated the thought of putting them in a landfill! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Great tip! Does the paint not do anything to the grass though?

  17. Haha this is such a great idea and definitely looks way more fun than trying to wash it in the sink! 😉

  18. You have just changed my life. Again.
    “safety first” hahahaha

  19. this sounds a little complicated BUT you can use the paint tray as a guard when you do this. just hunker down, brace the roller on the other side of the paint tray with the same hand, and let ‘er rip with the other hand (holding the hose). it’s cleaner and it works. 😉

    • Oh now THAT is smart. It also rinses off the paint tray at the same time. Brilliant! I’m going to hand the whole blog over to you now. Can’t wait to read what you post! haha 🙂

  20. Why didn’t you tell me this two weeks ago? You are officially fired as my psychic.

  21. Smart idea! Typically, my quick and easy way to clean a roller is to throw it away. Not very cost effective though. I’ll have to use this tip from now on.

  22. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you so much for this! Now at least the garden hose will get put to more use (the sprinkler system takes care of the regular watering).

  23. I HATE cleaning paint-rollers! I will definitely try this trick!

  24. Um…this is pretty much why we never paint. We usually just throw the rollers out! I know…such a waste, but we are really that lazy.

  25. I’m going to admit that I tried to clean paint off a roller once and got so fed up that I just threw it away… and that’s what I do every time I paint with a roller (don’t judge)! I guess I have no excuse now!

  26. Brilliant idea, and great fun after you’ve been gruling away painting all day too.

    Something else to add to make it even quicker, I always scrape down the sides of the roller before washing it out as it’s amazing how much those pesky rollers hold – you also get enough paint off that way to finish painting around your skirting too 🙂

  27. this is a brilliant idea! I always struggle with cleaning paint rollers and usually end up giving up and throwing them away. I’m definitely going to have to keep this in mind for next time I paint!

  28. Okay so usually i just throw the paint rollers away. Now I must try this technique! Thanks

  29. And to think I’ve wasted hours at the sink washing out all my paint rollers. Well no more thanks to you guys!

  30. We have been using this method for years and, yes, it is messy but works great. But we did have a neighbor yell at us for putting paint in the ground water. Do you think this is an issue?

    • I’m not familiar with laws in all states, but in California it is not legal to wash paint outside . i would check locally before doing this

  31. I love this tip! My tip was going to be just throw it away …



  32. this is the only way we’ve ever cleaned ours, except we have a nozzle on our hose that we can set for a strong stream instead of holding your thumb over it. I thought that’s how everyone did it. So how do most people clean them?

  33. Ok, I have used this trick for some time. Though if you use the 5 in 1 painter’s tool to get a majority of the paint out of the roller and back into the can, it makes it less time either outside or the sink!

  34. Hello….brilliant!!! You just saved me a gazillion years of cleaning paint rollers. I usually have to let them soak overnight and then it still takes me ten minutes of rinsing them.

  35. Janet Birkey says:

    One is the paint roller, the other is called a roller cover.

  36. I buy the cheapest rollers I can find. In between coats, I keep it wrapped up in a plastic grocery bag so it doesn’t dry out, then when I am done , I toss it.

  37. I do the same thing in the warm weather, but I hold it in a 5 gallon bucket to help preventing everything ( and myself) from getting sprayed!!

  38. Wouldnt this kill your grass?

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  41. I have done this for years. I ususlly put it on the long pole. The one you would use for ceilings. I have a stool and I sit down, stretch the roller as far out as the pole will stretch, prop it up on the bent edge and then spray. It keeps the mess off of me. Just be careful it does not spray anything important close by.

    • i worked in a wallpaper factory back in ’89-’90. this is precisely how we cleaned the rollers every day. we applied paint/plastic/sand to wallpaper to get different textures/designs.

  42. I would have used a 5 way first then use the water hose. I got two apartment complexes and that is how we do it

  43. Pouring all that water and toxic contaminants over soil and grass? Honestly, this is the most eco UNfriendly method EVER!!!

  44. ok, this is a great tip, … now where’s the great tip for cleaning brushes?? (i’d rather clean the bathroom after the septic tank backs up than paint brushes!!!)

  45. After painting, I clean my roller/brush as above, then put them in the washer and spin them out. I wash them a couple times then spin them out. Be sure the washer spins the right direction to pull the paint/water out of the brush. Be sure and wash an empty load immediately after doing this to get the paint out of the washer.

  46. You can also use a paint stirrer stick to scrape down the sides of the roller to remove excess paint so that will help it not take so long to rinse.

  47. I did this to clean our roller last time we painted and had fun. But I got in trouble because I didn’t do it in the middle of the lawn and some concrete may have gotten splattered in the process. Oops!


  1. […] for “Tips for the DIYer” where I save great ideas like this. You can also check out our trick for cleaning paint rollers and my favorite trick for recycling paint trays (Hint: use a grocery bag! Total […]

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