Can You Put Paint Rollers In The Washing Machine?

While you can technically wash paint rollers in your washing machine, doing so comes with certain challenges and concerns. 

Before using the washing machine for your paint rollers, you have to remove any excess paint under the tap until the water is clear. Since this takes up most of the effort, the washing machine doesn’t really save you time.

But what are these potential risks, and when might this approach be practical? Read on to learn when to opt for machine washing and when to avoid it, ensuring the longevity of both your rollers and your machine.

Is It Safe To Wash Paint Rollers In The Washing Machine?

open washing machine door

Using a washing machine to clean paint rollers isn’t completely risk-free. There are a few potential dangers to be aware of:

It Can Wear Down Your Paint Rollers

The spinning action and heat of a washing machine can cause the fibres in rollers to wear out faster. To avoid this, you should use a cold, gentle cycle, which is basically like washing them by hand anyway.

Paint Rollers Could Damage The Washer

Paint thinners can damage the washing machine’s plastic components, and there might be leftover paint in the machine. Later, this paint might come off during a clothes wash, causing stains and ruining your clothes.

Washing just a few rollers could also harm the drum when it spins, particularly if you’re only cleaning one or two.

When Is It Okay To Clean Paint Rollers In The Washer?

two people holding paint rollers

If you only have a roller or two to clean, hand washing is going to be easier, faster, and safer than using the washing machine. 

However, machine washing can be more convenient for batches of rollers used with water-based paints once you’ve completed all your painting tasks.

Just be sure to slide the roller cover from the handle because you shouldn’t put them in the washing machine. Rinse off as much excess paint as possible first, use cold water and a delicate cycle, and avoid the machine if you’ve used oil-based paints and solvents.

Note: Cleaning paint rollers in the washing machine might not be as effective if the paint is already drying. It’s generally better to clean paint rollers by hand, either in the sink or with a hose.

What’s The Best Way To Clean Paint Rollers?

For the best results and to avoid potential damage, it’s recommended to clean paint rollers by hand washing:

For Water-Based Paints

  1. Rinse the roller under cold running water until the water runs clear.
  2. Apply washing up liquid and work into a lather to remove any remaining paint.
  3. Rinse thoroughly one last time.
  4. Stand the roller upright to air dry and preserve the fibre nap.

For Oil-Based Paints

  1. Rinse the roller in a solvent like white spirit to remove as much paint as possible.
  2. Wash the roller in warm, soapy water to remove any remaining thinner.
  3. Take outside and spin/flick the roller to remove excess water.
  4. Allow to fully air dry, or dry on a radiator if needed.

Pro tip: A putty knife can be handy to scrape the wet paint from the fabric back into the paint can. Or, you might prefer to use your hand to work the fabric as you press the roller, holding it above the can. Make sure to wear rubber gloves to keep your skin safe.

It’s worth noting that if you plan to use the roller covers again soon, you don’t need to wash them straight away. Simply keep the roller from drying out by wrapping it tightly in plastic and placing it somewhere cool until you’ve finished all your painting tasks.

SEE ALSO: Can You Put Makeup Brushes In The Washing Machine?

Frequently Asked Questions

Are paint rollers washable?

Yes, paint rollers are washable. They can be cleaned quite effectively by hand, using methods appropriate to the type of paint used—water for water-based paints and solvents for oil-based paints.

Can I put paint rollers in the washing machine?

You can put paint rollers in the washing machine, but it’s not recommended due to potential risks like damaging the rollers or the machine itself. It’s usually more effective and safer to wash them by hand.

How can you clean paint rollers?

You can clean paint rollers by rinsing them under cold running water for water-based paints or using a solvent like white spirit for oil-based paints. After initial cleaning, applying dish soap and working into a lather helps remove any remaining paint, followed by a thorough rinse and air drying.

Is it OK to wash and reuse paint rollers?

Yes, it is OK to wash and reuse paint rollers. Proper cleaning and drying extend their usability. For short-term storage between uses, wrapping the roller tightly in plastic can prevent the paint from drying out, allowing the roller to be reused without immediate washing.

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