Lard is basically a rendered pig fat, and it can come from various parts of the animal.
Artisinal lard is made from sustainably raised pigs when the fat is slowly heated until any bits of flesh, skin, and membrane can be skimmed off.
Lard oil is a clear, colorless oil that comes from pure lard after it has crystallized or grained.
The lard oil can be used as a lubricant, in cutting oils, and for making soap.
The solid residue left over from pressing the lard oil, called lard stearin, can be used in shortenings or as another source of saturated fatty acids.
In arts and painting, the brushes were traditionally not only stored in lard oil, but the oil is also used to extract and clean the paint out of the ferrals’ deepest areas, ensuring that the hairs stay free and clean.
Allowing a build-up of paint to form in the ferral of the paintbrush restricts the hairs’ mobility at their root.
As a result, the hairs of your sable brushes can bend more sharply and break off or shed faster.
But by using products like lard oil, you can give your expensive paint brushes that extra protection needed without breaking the bank.
Why Use Lard Oil for Paint Brushes?
You may be wondering why anyone would even consider using lard oil when there are so many other paint brush cleaning solvents (like paint thinner, mineral spirits, acetone, etc.) available on the market.
Well, the fact is that lard oil has been used for centuries to clean and protect paint brushes, and there’s a good reason why.
Lard oil is non-toxic and biodegradable, which means it’s gentle on both your brushes and the environment.
Lard oil is also very effective at removing fresh as well as dried paint from brushes, and it can even be used to clean dried paint from surfaces.
Plus, lard oil is very affordable, so you won’t have to spend a lot of money to keep your paintbrushes in good condition.
The only problem with lard oil is it’s not easy to find it these days at stores like Amazon, Walmart, or other hardware stores.
But if you already have it in your home and do not want to buy a new can of paint thinner for cleaning brushes, you will be better off using lard oil.
Just make sure the container is clearly labeled after cleaning brushes, so you don’t accidentally use it for cooking.
A word of caution – If you choose walnut, canola, safflower oil, or poppy oil to clean your expensive paintbrushes, make sure they don’t contain Tocopherols or Vitamin E.
These substances might extend the drying process.
How to Use Lard Oil to Clean Paint Brushes?
To use lard oil for cleaning paint brushes naturally, simply dip the bristles of the brush into the oil and then wipe them on a clean cloth.
If you are trying to clean the brush between different colors for your project, you do not need to thoroughly clean the brush.
But make sure that the traces of previous paint are removed, so you do not transfer it to the next color.
For best results, leave the brush in the oil for a few minutes before wiping it clean.
At the conclusion of each painting session, your paintbrush will require a thorough cleaning to remove any residues or traces of paint that may be trapped in the bristles.
This should be done by following the steps below.
- First, remove as much paint from the brush as possible by wiping it on a clean cloth or piece of paper towel.
- Next, dip the brush in lard oil and then wipe it on a clean cloth to remove any remaining paint.
- Finally, rinse the brush in warm water and then soap to remove any traces of oil. Allow the brush to air dry before storing.
Bear in mind that if you’re cleaning dried paint, stains, varnishes, or other finishes from brushes using lard oil, you may need to repeat the process a few times to remove all of the paint.
Once you’ve finished cleaning the brushes, wash them with soap and water to remove any residual lard oil.
You don’t have to wait for the brush to dry before putting it away in storage or a toolbox.
Consider wiping it dry with a clean, dry paper towel to remove the water instead of waiting. After that, lay the brushes out to air overnight.
If the bristles of your brush lose their shape during the cleaning process, be sure to reshape them before storing them away.
And that’s all there is to using refined lard oil for cleaning paint brushes!
What can You Use Lard oil for other than cleaning brushes?
Lard oil is so versatile that you never know what it can be used for around the house once you have some on hand.
So, here are just a few other ways you can use lard oil:
1- Cooking and Baking Oil
Being a rendered animal fat, lard oil is often used as a cooking and baking ingredient.
It can be used in frying, sautéing, or baking in place of other oils like vegetable oil or olive oil.
2- Rust Prevention
Lard oil is also an excellent choice for preventing rust on metal surfaces. Simply apply a thin layer of lard oil to the surface with a clean cloth and then wipe it off.
3- Wood Polish and Conditioner
Lard oil can also be used to polish and condition wood.
All you need is to apply a small amount of lard oil to a clean cloth and then rub it into the wood in the direction of the grain.
4- Leather Preservative
Lard oil can also be used to condition leather. Apply a small amount of lard oil to a clean, soft cloth and rub it into the leather in a circular motion.
Be sure to work the oil into all of the cracks and crevices. This will help to preserve the leather and keep it from drying out and cracking.
5- Soap Making
Lard oil has been used in the soap-making process for ages. It is a good idea to add lard oil to other oils, such as olive oil, when making soap.
This will add to the quality of the soap and make it more moisturizing.
6- Seasoning Cast Iron
Ever wondered how your grandmother got her cast iron pans so black and shiny? It was probably lard oil!
Seasoning cast iron with lard oil is a great way to protect the pan and make it non-stick.
To season a cast iron pan, simply rub a thin layer of lard oil all over the pan. Be sure to get into all of the crevices.
Then, place the pan in a 350-degree oven for about an hour. Allow the seasoned pan to cool completely before using it.
7- Homemade WD-40 Alternative
Can’t find your bottle of spray in the garage, no problem! Lard oil can be used as a WD-40 alternative.
Simply spray a small amount of lard oil onto whatever you need to lubricate, and it will do the trick!
8- Fire Starter for Camping and Partying
Lard oil is also a great fire starter for a campfire or BBQ. Simply soak some cotton balls in lard oil and store them in a small container.
When you’re ready to start your fire, simply place a cotton ball under your wood and light it. The lard oil will help to get the fire going quickly and easily.
9- Soothing Skin and Shiny Hairs
Believe me; it’s not like rubbing your hands in pig fat. But you can consider it more like a soothing organic lotion for your skin and hair.
Dry, chapped hands, dry cuticles, and cracked lips, along with rough heels and elbows, can all benefit from a little lard oil.
Just rub it in like you would any lotion and let it soak in. Your skin will feel better in no time.
Lard oil can also be used as a hair conditioner. Simply massage it into your scalp and let it sit for a few minutes before shampooing as usual.
So, can lard oil be used for cleaning paint brushes?
The answer is yes! Lard oil is a great preservative, cleaner, & conditioner that can help protect and prolong the life of lettering & striping natural hair paint brushes.
When using artist oil paints or even decorative house paints like chalk paints, it is critical to clean your brushes thoroughly.
The last remaining colors in the brush will not harden if it is dipped in lard oil. It’s simple to clean it out before painting again.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.
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