Clean Sweep

22. Oops strategy
Should you accidentally drip water-based paint on your carpet, do not try to scrub it—the fastest way to embed the color in the fibers of the carpet. Instead, "keep the area wet, and blot it up," says Tracey Kidd, of Kidd Painting in Mesa, Arizona. "If you spill a lot, blot up as much as you can, dampen the area, and call a carpet-cleaning company." If you keep the spot wet, a professional carpet cleaner should be able to get the whole spill up.

23. In praise of the comb-over
A thoroughly cleaned brush will see you through more renovations than even the strongest marriage might endure. Thoroughly wash your brush, immediately after painting, with mild soap and warm water. Then, under the running faucet, draw a metal brush comb through the bristles to pull paint from the core and away from the metal ferrule. Got some stubborn paint on the outside of the brush? Skip wire brushes, which can damage delicate bristles, and grab a nylon scrubbing pad from the kitchen sink to loosen it.

24. Keeping your grip
The pros call a worn-out brush a "club," which is about as precise as it sounds. "If your brush is worn-out, or flared, it isn't any good," says Patrick Dallaire of August West and Company in Portland, Oregon. When pros clean their brushes, they pat them dry, spin out excess moisture by rubbing the handle between their palms, then put them back in their original packaging to maintain their shape. Says Dallaire:?"If you're maintaining your grip—what we call a painter's toolbox—you're ahead of the game."

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