A few years ago, I reviewed The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver. It’s a good brush cleaner, but it is slightly abrasive (so I’m reluctant to use it on watercolour brushes with natural hair). Also, I found that if I had to use it more than once within the space of a day or so (which I did sometimes), it dried and irritated the skin on my hands, so I’ve been keeping an eye out for a gentler alternative. A little while ago I was looking for a new paint palette or something on one of the online websites and stumbled across Escoda Artist Brush and Hand Soap.
It was about $10, but I’ve paid that much for fancy scented shower soaps in the past as a self-indulgent treat, so I thought I might as well try it.
Last weekend, I attended a watercolour workshop by Alvaro Castagnet (I’m hoping to post about it soon). In the interests of trying to reduce the size and weight of the gear I was lugging to and from the workshop all weekend, I took a small empty tea jar for use as a water container, instead of the big Vegemite Jar I usually use at home. Unfortunately this meant that I didn’t really have enough room to wash my big brushes properly, as I couldn’t swish them around. I’m also lazy, so the dirty brushes continued to sit in my brush case until today.
The Escoda Artist Brush and Hand Soap works much the same as other brush soaps and cleaners, as you’d expect. Wet the brush, swish it on the soap, lather it in your hand. Rinse and repeat. Unlike the Masters Brush Cleaner (which has a mild but still noticeable citrus smell), this soap has almost no odour. It also doesn’t have any abrasives in it, so it’s much gentler on the brush, and on your hands. I’ve spent the last two days (on and off) washing some of my brushes, and so far I’ve suffered no skin irritation. It also seems to be just as effective at cleaning the brushes as the Masters Brush Cleaner was; before using the soap, I rinsed the brushes out with plain water, squeezing and rinsing until the water ran clear, but then when I used the soap, I got even more colour out of them.
If you’re looking for a brush cleaner or artist soap that will be gentle on brushes and won’t irritate your skin, Escoda Artist Brush and Hand Soap is worth checking out.