A tack cloth is a rock-bottom cheap item that helps you clean the surface prior to painting or staining, for flawless results. A beeswax-impregnated cheesecloth, tack cloth lightly pulls off sawdust, wood shavings, and all manner of debris from your surface.
By using a tack cloth, you avoid applying a wet cloth to the surface. If you do not have a tack cloth, you may use a damp cloth, but make sure to squeeze it out thoroughly beforehand.
Slosh Your Paint Brush
Before painting, slosh your brush in whatever solvent you will be using at the end of the day to clean the brush (i.e., water for latex, mineral spirits for oil, etc.) It'll be easier to clean when you're done.
Wrap Brush or Roller To Avoid Cleaning
Cleaning paintbrushes is hard work. And it's impossible to clean paint rollers. Some people wash them out, but I find this to be so frustrating and messy, that I just through them out.
If you know you'll be returning to your work before long--a few hours or up to a couple of days--you can either do either of two things:
- Freezer Method: Wrap the brush or roller in a plastic bag and put in the freezer. This should preserve the brush or roller indefinitely.
- Wrap-Only Method: If you don't the idea of putting brushes in a food zone, you can still wrap them in plastic and keep outside at room temperature. Just make sure the plastic is airtight. This should preserve the brush or roller for the rest of the day. You might even be able to push it to the following day if the wrap is very tight.
Using Latex Gloves or Lotion
Latex gloves are great for keeping your hands clean (especially if you're using oil-based paint!). If you can't stand latex gloves or are allergic, a thick application of hand lotion before painting will make cleaning a lot easier later on.
Maintain a Wet Edge To Avoid Overlap Marks
Always keep a wet edge as you paint, and work away from that wet edge.
If you paint over a dry edge, you will get overlap marks.
Avoid Cheap Roller Covers and Brushes
Cheap roller covers leave fuzz on the wall. Cheap brushes leave streaky brush marks. Avoid those multi-packs of rollers, ten for a dollar. Pay the extra few cents and get better tools. In the end, your will have a better finished surface.
Test For Loose Paint With the Duct Tape Test
Will the existing painted surface take new paint? And hold it for years to come? Test this out by adhering a strip of duct tape to the existing painted surface and...ripping it away. If flakes of paint more than microscopic size come off, you may need to scrape and sand.
Low-Stick Masking Tape Is a Miracle Product
Also known as "blue tape," this tape comes off easier and doesn't peel off primer or existing paint. Blue tape, by itself, will save you at least an hour of frustration over the old-style beige masking tape.
Rein in Your Paint Can Opener By Putting a Leash on It
Paint can openers, those little metal keys, are notorious for getting lost in the shuffle. Chain it to a small chunk of wood just like a public bathroom key. Whatever you do, just don't lose it!
Follow Painting Process To Make Job Cleaner.
And remember to always paint from the top down!