The last product I was asked to review was an in-floor Kryptonite locking system for motorcycles for Motorcyclist mag. I injured my knee tripping on that #*$% lock in the dark. Let’s see if I have more luck with the EZ Clean paint brush that Jeannie from Houseblogs.net asked me to check out.
My project was painting my kitchen extension, which still had seven year-old primer on the walls. It’s one of those Deferred Completion Syndrome items I was happy to check off the list for this product test.
I didn’t have a clue what I would be testing other than it would be a “new painting tool”. When UPS delivered the box and I saw what it was I have to admit I was a little disappointed. I guess I was expecting something dramatic like a high tech masking tape product or an ultrasonic paint stirrer. Those are jobs I hate doing. Cleaning paint brushes doesn’t really bother me. In fact, I find it strangely cathartic.
I also have to say that I was skeptical when I saw the name. I’ve got a dusty box full of useless Magic Planes, EZ-Sharps and Miracle Klamps I’ve bought at tool shows during moments of low brain/wallet coordination. Such product names conjure up images of imminent suckerhood all by themselves now.
After a day of plastering to fix damage from an old leak in the extension’s roof, I dove in with another coat of Kilz primer. I had my doubts that the EZ Clean would be as comfortable or useful as my trusty Purdy wooden handled chisel tip brush. For one thing, the EZ Clean brush I got has fairly short bristles (Note: the brush is available with bristles up to four inches long) so I wasn’t confident it would hold much paint.
I did the usual latex prep of soaking the brush in cold water for a couple of minutes then shaking out the excess. This helps to keep paint from collecting and gumming up under the ferrule, which is especially problematic with sticky primers. Then I got to work.
I was surprised. The brush did a very good job with cut-ins. I was correct that it didn’t hold as much paint as my Purdy, but the shorter bristles gave me greater control. With less paint on the brush there were also fewer drips. I’ll gladly trade not having to stop to clean up paint drool for a few more trips back to the paint can. The ribbed ABS handle also has better traction than a wood handled brush. Two points for EZ Clean.
But EZ Clean’s primary claim is clean up and here’s where I was a bit put off. This isn’t the fault of the idea or the brush but an assumption by its manufacturer that we all have garden hoses and places outside where we can let the paint fly. My back yard is covered with brick pavers. I could have cleaned the brush in one of the five-gallon buckets I have here but that’s no more convenient than cleaning it in the sink.
Which is what I did. There’s no attachment for a sink faucet, or at least not for my cheapo Delta, so I tried holding the handle tightly against the faucet, sealing it as best I could with my hands. That was a mistake. Milky white water squirted all over me and the cabinets.
What should be included with this tool is a generic, slip-over faucet attachment like those you get with large humidifiers and portable dishwashers. Even if I had a convenient spot outdoors to clean the paint brush, I don’t live in sunny Los Angeles. What do us northern folks do in January when it’s 20 degrees outside and the garden faucet and hose have been shut down and drained for the season? What do apartment dwellers do?
I couldn’t give the brush a fair test of its ez-cleaning because of this. But I saw enough of it through the geyser shooting in my face to postulate that it probably works pretty well, so long as you have a tight seal at the coupling. I can say that it doesn’t give up any quality as a paint brush for this cleaning feature. But I found my trusty Purdeys more my style.
As I said, I don’t mind cleaning latex paint brushes so I doubt I would pay a premium price for this over a conventional paint brush. And, of course, the brush’s main feature only works with latex paints, not oil.