Simple Solutions

How to Clean a Paint Roller the Easy Way

By: Joe Truini
Cleaning a paint roller using a garbage can and garden hose

Using a spray nozzle on a hose to clean a paint roller.

Trying to remove latex paint from a paint roller can be very time consuming and messy. Here’s a simple way to clean a paint roller in minutes without making a big mess.

  1. Place the crook of the paint roller frame over the rim of a large garbage can with the roller hanging down inside the can.
  2. Train water from a garden hose spray nozzle set to a tight pattern on the edge of the paint roller so it spins the roller at high speed.
  3. Move the stream of water up and down along the paint roller for a minute or two until the water coming out of the roller is clear.
  4. Take the roller off the frame and stand it on end to dry.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Video Transcript

At the end of every painting job, I used to take of the roller sleeve and toss it away, because I figured there was no way to properly clean it. That was pretty wasteful, and I started to thinking, there’s got to be a way to clean it. And then I came up with this idea, and it works really well.

I use a garden hose to simply rinse out the sleeve. But the trick is to use a trash can to contain the overspray, and then spray it, so the water hits the very edge of the roller. What you’ll see will happen is that the roller will start spinning at high speed, and it just throws the paint right off.

OK, so you’re going to get a nice stream of water, and aim it right at the sleeve. Look at that. You go up and down the entire sleeve. Now, you’re going to need to do that for about 60 seconds or so. But I’ll show you this, now look at that, that’s after what about 10 or 15 seconds, and most of the paint’s gone. If I keep doing that, this will be completely clean.

Then the other trick is, once you’re done, pop it off the frame, and then stand the sleeve up, and let it dry like that. Because if you lay it flat, you’ll compress the fibers of the mat, and then you’ll never be able to use it again. But if you stand it up, and let it dry like that, then store it away. Then it’ll be ready next time you have a room to paint.


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4 Comments on “How to Clean a Paint Roller the Easy Way”

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  • Teri Says:
    April 2nd, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Nice idea. However for water conservation and the fact we have to pay for all the water used in cleaning paint brushes and rollers ; just throw the roller out and use a new one.

  • Dora Says:
    November 2nd, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Hi – just found you (first time visitor). Great site so far. That certainly seems like a great way to clean a roller and I suppose you’d just make due w/ a bucket or whatever if an extra empty garbage can wasn’t available. But then where would you empty the paint/water? That’s really the answer I was searching for. Can it be poured in the yard? Drain? Follow this stuff through – it would be helpful. Thanks!

  • Official Comment:

    joe t. Says:
    October 31st, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Hey John, I know what you mean. The roller sleeves don’t get 100% clean, but I find they’re usually clean enough to reuse, even with a different color paint. With that said, I love your idea! Soaking the sleeves overnight would certainly help remove the remaining paint. Thanks for the tip, and keep watching. We’ve got a lot more painting Simple Solutions to come. Take care, Joe T.

  • John Flanagan Says:
    October 31st, 2010 at 9:14 am

    I always appreciate seeing what Joe’s latest tip is.
    I too have use the running water technique to clean a roller of latex paint. I do find it is difficult to get ALL of the paint out. Once the majority of the paint is out, I put the roller in a 5 gal bucket of water and let it sit there overnight. The roller core is impervious to the water and remains intact, the roller floats to the top of the water but the remaining paint will precipitate out of the roller and to the bottom of the bucket. This finishes the job of completely cleaning the roller of paint.
    Thanks for all you share with us.

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How to Clean a Paint Roller the Easy Way