Would you like to see how your old rollers can still be as valuable as before?

Painting can be quite expensive; thus, it’s understandable if you decide to reuse your paint rollers. Because nobody would want to spend all their life savings on purchasing painting materials.

Of course, you can reuse paint rollers. I will give a thorough explanation of how you can do that.

At the end of this article, I’m sure you’d be equipped with sufficient knowledge on how to reuse your paint rollers. This way, you can save more money.

can you reuse paint rollers

Can You Use The Same Paint Roller More Than Once?

I’m sure there must have been an occasion where you had to ask yourself this exact question. Probably you never did, but now you are? Whichever category you fall into doesn’t matter, as I will explain all you need to know about reusing paint rollers regardless of that.

It would be disappointing and a waste if you couldn’t reuse your paint roller. It would warrant you buying another and probably throwing the former away. This means you would be throwing away your hard-earned money, which isn’t pleasant.

Assuming you had to paint some sections in your house. The following day, you had other areas to paint. Would you abandon the paint roller you used previously and purchase another?

You would most likely, not want to do that. Thankfully, it’s possible to reuse paint rollers, so why wouldn’t you reuse yours?

However, it would help if you did certain things to ensure the part is reusable. What are these things? Let’s explore!

Washing & Storing of a Paint Roller for Reuse Later

The steps below explain how you can wash and store a paint roller to reuse later.

Step 1: Remove Excess Paint for Easier Cleaning

Once you are done painting, you need to remove excess paint on your roller by obtaining a suitable surface and running the roller up and down or side to side. When you remove the leftover paint on your roller, it will make its cleaning easier.

Step 2: Clean the Paint off the Roller

The second step if you want to find out can you reuse paint rollers is to clean them. The paint type determines the cleaning method to adopt. If it’s latex paint, you will need soapy water to clean it; however, if it’s oil-based paint, you will need a paint thinner to remove the paint from the roller. If you are curious about the differences between these two paint types, the table below says it all.

  • Latex paint

The steps below explain how you can clean latex paint off your paint roller

  • Get a bucket of soapy water and soak the roller in it for a few minutes
  • Afterward, pick up the roller with one hand while squeezing with the other hand to remove excess paint
  • After a while, discard the water and refill it with another fresh soapy water.
  • Repeat the process until you have clear or almost clear water.
  • Oil-Based Paint

You will also need a bucket of water to remove oil-based paint. It’s not for latex alone. However, the first important thing is getting a paint tray with paint thinner. This is because you will need a paint tray and thinner for the first few steps.

It is necessary to wear gloves and safety goggles to protect yourself when using paint thinner. Wearing this safety equipment will help prevent the chemical from getting on your hands and burning your skin. The safety goggles/glasses will also protect the eyes from splashes that could occur to avoid vision problems.

Did you consider using a mask too? If you never did, it would be best to consider using it.

A mask is another safety equipment you need to use as paint thinner fumes tend to be quite strong, making you feel nauseous or sick. Therefore, it would help if you could get one and use it during the process. Once you have done all these, you can follow the steps below to remove the oil-based paint from your roller.

  • Get a paint rolling tray and pour some paint thinner into it
  • Roll the roller around in the paint thinner about two to three times. You can also do more
  • Once you notice the removal of a considerable amount of the oil-based paint, you can submerge it inside a bucket of warm soapy water
  • Afterward, take the roller out and ring it out with your glove-covered hand. Repeat the process until you have no paint left on the rolling sleeve

You can learn the differences between latex and oil-based paint by studying the table below.

Thinner and easier to useThicker and more complex to use
It does not require primingRequires priming
It gets easily stained and doesn’t crack or peel with timeNot easily stained; however, it may turn yellow and crack with time
Has light odorHas strong odor
Highly versatileLess versatile

Step 3: Dry the Paint Roller’s Rolling Sleeve

Allow the roller’s sleeve to dry before storing it. It doesn’t matter if you are in haste. This step is as important as other steps, if you of course want to reuse paint rollers. Drying the roller’s sleeve will help the nap or exterior remain fluffy and intact.

If drying the roller’s sleeve, do so in the recommended and not the old way. Doing it the old way, such as setting it on a rack, shelf, or counter, will only make one side of the roller flatten, creating uneven paint the next time you use it. So what’s the recommended way? Kindly check the next paragraph.

The right way to dry your roller’s sleeve is to stand the roller on its end to allow it dry. However, be careful and always be alert so that it won’t fall over and give you the above problem.

Another way by which you can dry your roller’s sleeve is by using a clothes hanger and snipping off one end. Afterward, slide the sleeve over the end and hang it to dry. Ensure to put both hanger and roller in a safe place to dry.

If you are drying your roller’s sleeve, it’s best to do so outside, but what about if it’s raining or looks like it will rain? I have a solution for you. If it’s raining or looks like it might rain soon, you can hang your roller’s sleeve and hanger on a shower curtain rod. You could also use a bathroom towel rack if you have one.

If it’s not raining or looks like it will, it would help if you hung your device outside. It could be on your clothesline or a balcony. However, if you have other places outside you could hang the device which will be suitable and safe, you can also choose those options. Finally, ensure that the roller gets an ample amount of time to dry.

To learn more on how to dry your roller’s sleeve, kindly watch the video below

Step 4: Store the Paint Roller

Once you notice that the rolling sleeve is dry and there is no moisture on it or in the nap, you can go ahead to store the roller. You can use a resealable plastic bag, but it should be big enough to accommodate the roller perfectly well. After placing the roller inside, push out the air, and zip it. The roller is safe there, and the nap won’t get dirty since it’s in a bag.

A resealable bag is an option but not the only option available. If you do not have a resealable bag, or perhaps, you have one, but it’s not big enough to contain the paint roller, you can put the rolling sleeve inside a plastic grocery bag and tie the end. Ensure to put the bag in a safe place and note where you put it for easy access next time.

How Can I Make My Old Paint Rollers Reusable?

How Can I Make My Old Paint Rollers Reusable

I understand that feeling of not wanting to throw out your stuff, especially when it can still be reusable. It also applies to paint rollers.

I have a paint roller, which I have been using for quite some time now, and I plan on using it soon. It’s pretty old, but I have been reusing it repeatedly. I’m sure you are curious about how I’ve managed to do so. In this section, I will be sharing some tips on how you can make your old paint rollers reusable.

Three methods by which you can reuse paint rollers again:

  • Use of white vinegar
  • Use of a putty knife
  • Use of washing machine

1) Use of White Vinegar

This method works well with paint rollers and brushes.

  • Pour a considerable amount of white vinegar into the bottom of a saucepan. This is for the roller’s nap to soak. If it is a paintbrush, it is for the brush’s bristles to soak.
  • Leave for about an hour.
  • Afterward, place the pan on a stove or any other appliance for cooking and turn on the heat.
  • Once the roller has simmered for a bit, the nap should be back to its original condition
  • Rinse with water and leave it to dry.

Follow these steps above, and you will get that roller’s look you desire.

2) Use of Putty Knife

If you have some bits of paint on your roller, you can remove them by using a putty knife.The putty knife will help scrape away dried debris and paint on your roller. After you are done scraping,

  • Soak the sleeve in water or paint thinner, depending on whether you used it with latex or oil-based paint.
  • Allow the sleeve to soak for thirty minutes to an hour
  • Rinse the sleeve and squeeze the nap with your hand. Squeezing the nap will help to ring it out and eliminate excess paint.
  • Rinse thoroughly and repeatedly squeeze until you have clear water with no traces of paint in the water.
  • Slide the roller on a dowel and leave it to dry. You can also use a hanger, as explained earlier. The important thing is to hang it in a safe and clean place and put it where it can dry
  • Once it gets dry, put the roller inside a resealable plastic bag/plastic grocery bag and close the zipper. It would help if you placed the bag in a safe and easily accessible location for your subsequent projects.

3) Use of Washing Machine

This method is not as excellent as the above two methods. This is because it can create a mess in your washing machine; however, if you are interested in this method, I will explain it in this section.

You don’t have to use elbow grease to remove stubborn paint from your rolling sleeve. The washing machine is efficient for this. However, it would help if you soaked the rolling sleeve beforehand in hot soapy water or paint thinner. That way, the debris loosens or gets removed. You can soak it for thirty minutes to an hour. Once you do that, kindly follow the steps below.

  • Remove the rolling sleeve from the soapy water and place it inside your washing machine with a few towels or old rags. These towels/rags will help prevent the rolling sleeve from getting stuck somewhere it shouldn’t
  • Put the washing machine on a cycle for about five minutes or thereabouts.
  • Once the cycle has finished, remove the rolling sleeve and squeeze repeatedly
  • Allow the roller dry by cutting the end off a clothes hanger and sliding the roller on while hanging it in a safe place to dry. It’s not advisable to use the dryer, so never use it
  • You can put the rags and towels in the dryer, or you can squeeze and hang them somewhere to dry too
  • Once the sleeve is dry, please place it in a resealable plastic/plastic grocery bag and keep the bag in a safe and easily accessible location until your next painting project

How to Reuse a Paint Roller the Next Day

How to Reuse a Paint Roller the Next Day

There are occasions whereby you paint all day but cannot finish the painting project that very day, and you decide to continue the following day. In such situations, is it necessary to clean the roller since it will get dirty again?

I deliberately asked that question above because I know it’s likely you might be asking yourself that same question. Every question has an answer, and the answer to this is “No.” It’s not necessary to clean your rollers if you are reusing them the next day. How can you reuse it that way? Let’s find out!

You can reuse your painting roller the following day without having to clean it or happening to have cleaned it the previous day. You only need to ensure that the paint on it doesn’t harden, and how do you do that? Simple! After painting, cover the roller in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator overnight.

However, when storing it in the refrigerator, be cautious and ensure that you place it somewhere out of the way and in a section where it won’t contaminate your food. Once you do that, there is no need to clean it, and you can use it like that the following day.

However, you won’t be able to use it immediately after you bring it out of the refrigerator as you have to first go through a process, which is about making the roller warm before use. How do you do that? Kindly check the next paragraph.

The roller must get warm to room temperature before use. Therefore, before you are ready to paint, get the plastic wrap out of the refrigerator, and remove the sleeve. Afterward, set it in a paint roller pan and let it thaw. Once it gets thawed, it’s ready for use, and then you can continue with your project.

How to Make Clean, Unusable Paint Rollers Usable

If you have a clean paint roller, which is unusable, and probably it’s too hard and challenging to use with paint, there are solutions to that issue, and three solutions to this issue are:

  • Lotion application
  • Vinegar application
  • Use of scraper and fabric softener

1) Lotion Application

Materials needed: Lotion and a paper towel.

Note: If you want your paint roller to be softer, you will also need water and a bucket.

  • Take the roller and squirt enough lotion on it to cover your roller evenly.
  • Afterward, knead the lotion into the roller to make the entire roller smoother
  • Using a paper towel, wipe as much of the lotion as possible
  • Submerge it into a bucket full of water until it’s clean
  • Please leave it to dry

2) Vinegar Application

Materials needed: White vinegar, a large pot, a bowl/glass jar, lotion, a comb, hair conditioner, a small bowl, and a thin grocery bag.

  • Boil vinegar, which should be enough to soak the entire paint rolling sleeve. You can make it four to eight cups
  • Place the rolling sleeve in a bucket, and pour the vinegar on it. Allow it to sit for ten to fifteen minutes
  • Remove the sleeve from the bucket, and comb through it using the comb. This is to get excess paint out of the sleeve if there is any left on it
  • Rinse the sleeve, and apply enough lotion to cover it entirely. Ensure to massage the lotion so that it gets in all the fabric
  • Rinse again, and afterward, apply a thin layer of hair conditioner over the entire sleeve
  • Place the sleeve in a light grocery bag and cover it tightly without smearing the lotion
  • Place the grocery bag in a bucket and fill it with hot water
  • Allow the grocery bag to soak in hot water for thirty minutes
  • Replace the water with another; each time it gets cold

3) Use of Scraper & Fabric Softener

Materials needed: Scraper, fabric softener, a bucket, and water

  • Using a scraper, scrape off as much of the paint as possible. Ensure not to make any cuts or slices in the sleeve
  • Mix one cup of fabric softener with two gallons of water into a bucket, and stir the liquid until it is mixed fully
  • Place the rolling sleeve in the bucket and let it sit in it
  • Move the rolling sleeve around for twenty seconds. Do so for more seconds if the sleeve isn’t soft by then
  • Once the sleeve gets soft, rinse it and leave it to dry


You can reuse paint rollers without affecting the paint application’s quality. I have explained methods on how you can reuse your paint rollers. You can choose whichever way you prefer and find it convenient. Good luck with your next project!


Can I leave paint rollers in the water overnight?

Yes, you can. Submerging your paint rollers in water overnight will help prevent the paint from drying and sticking to the nap. However, if you are painting the following day, you must have an extra rolling sleeve. This is because the rollers need to be dry before using them to apply paint

Can I clean my rollers immediately after use?

Trust me; this is the best thing to do. This is because the paint is fresh and wet; thus, most effortless to remove from the nap. However, if you feel like cleaning your rollers later, that’s also possible. You only need to ensure that the paint doesn’t harden. Whichever method you choose should work well for you and your rollers as long as you do it correctly

How much paint should I put on my roller?

When using your roller, ensure not to overfill it. To avoid overfilling, dip your roller lightly into the paint. Ensure that the paint covers less than half of the roller. Afterward, roll it backward and forwards on the tray’s ramp to evenly distribute the paint on the roller cover.