Paint rollers are a convenient, easy way to paint for most do-it-yourself homeowners, but the roller covers can be messy to clean. However, you can easily and inexpensively make an effective, low-mess residential interior painting roller cover cleaner using a few PVC fittings and pipe. Below is what you will need, as well as a step-by-step guide to making and using your cleaner:
Make a paint roller cover cleaner – what you will need
PVC garden hose swivel adapter – this adapter includes a 3/4-inch female garden hose fitting at one end with a 1/2-inch male threaded nipple at the other end.
3-inch diameter PVC Schedule 40 pipe
PVC cement – any kind of PVC cement is acceptable, including both quick-drying and slow-drying.
3-inch PVC end caps (2 each) – purchase rounded end caps that slip over the end of the pipe.
½-inch wooden dowel rod
Electric drill with ½-inch drill bit and ¼-inch drill bit
Fine-tip black marker
Plumbers thread tape
Make a paint roller cover cleaner – putting it all together
1. Prepare the roller cover cleaner barrel – paint roller covers come in various lengths, but a 14-inch long section should handle all-but-the-longest roller covers. Use a hacksaw to cut the pipe to size, and lightly sand the ends to remove burs or sharp edges. Next, use the 1/4 inch bit to drill 4 holes around the perimeter of the barrel; space the holes equidistant from each other, and drill them about one-third of the way down the barrel from one end.
2. Prepare the end caps – locate the center of the outside of both end caps, and mark the centers with a black marker. Next, drill a hole through the center of the marks with a 1/2-inch drill bit.
3. Insert the swivel adapter – wrap the male threaded nipple end of the garden hose swivel adapter with 3 turns of plumbers thread tape. Following that, screw the nipple into the outside of one of the end caps you prepared in step 2 until it is hand-tight. Use a pair of adjustable pliers to tighten the nipple until it won't easily turn, but be sure not to use too much force, or you may crack the end cap.
4. Prepare the removable end cap – cut the wooden dowel rod into a 12-inch length with a hacksaw. Afterward, insert the dowel rod into the inside of the end cap, and push it so it protrudes one inch through the outside of the cap. Next, mix a small quantity of the epoxy by following the manufacturer's directions. Apply a generous amount of epoxy around the inside of the end cap so it surrounds the wooden dowel rod. Set the end cap aside, but keep the dowel rod centered until the epoxy sets.
5. Cement the water inlet end cap into place – farthest from the 4 holes you drilled into the barrel in step 1, apply a thin layer of PVC cement around the outside edge of the end of the barrel. Slip the end cap containing the female hose adapter onto the pipe, and twist it about 90 degrees while pushing it downward.
6. Allow everything to dry overnight before using the cleaner – you have finished the component assembly phase of the cleaner, but the PVC cement and epoxy need to cure overnight before attempting to use it.
Make a paint roller cover cleaner – how to use it
1. Hook-up the hose – screw the male fitting of a garden hose into the swivel adapter until it is hand-tight. Connect the other end of the hose to a spigot.
2. Insert the roller cover into the barrel – holding the end cap with the attached wooden dowel rod in one hand, slide the roller cover over the cleaning post. Next, slide the roller cover into the pipe, and push the end cap on to the pipe as far as you can by hand. You should now have a complete cleaner ready for use.
3. Clean the roller cover – to use the cleaner, simply turn on the water hose and allow the water to flush the roller cover. Water will exit the cleaner through the 4 drain holes where you can monitor it for cleanliness. After a few minutes, the water should run clear, and you can turn off the water at that point. Remove the end cap containing the cleaning post, and allow the roller cover to air dry in a vertical position.