Hair and bristle brushes must be kept clean and soft; this can be done by care and faithfulness. They should not be allowed to become dry with paint or varnish in them. To prevent this, wash them out in oil or turpentine as soon as you are through using them; or they may be left in the paint or varnish for a few days. They may be kept over night by wrapping them very closely in paper if they have been used in a slow-drying material; in this way they may be carried from one place to another. Brushes should not be left to dry with even clean oil or turpentine in them; if they are to be put away, they should be well washed first with soap and water, then with clean water, then hung up until thoroughly dry.

In use, brushes are best kept in what is called a brush safe. A deep wooden pail, with nails driven in its sides at different distances from the bottom, and with a close cover, makes a good receptacle for brushes. The brushes have holes in their handles, or loops of cord tied to them, and are hung on these nails; their bristles dip into some turpentine or oil in the bottom of the pail; they are so hung that they do not dip into the liquid above where the bristles project from the binding. If brushes are left standing on the bristles on the bottom of a vessel, they soon become one-sided and distorted in shape. Tin brush-safes may be bought of any large dealer in brushes.

A brush which has dried with paint or varnish in it, may be recovered by soaking it in a non-alkaline varnish-remover. This will in time soften it so that it may be used again, but it is not improved by such treatment. Brushes used in shellac should be washed out with alcohol instead of turpentine or benzine. No brush is good unless it is clean.