White Wash: Applications and Removal Techniques You Need to Know

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 19, 2022
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Whitewash, or calcimine, kalsomine, calsomine, or lime paint is a low-cost type of paint made from slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) and chalk (whiting). Various other additives are also used.

What is white wash? It’s a type of paint that uses a mixture of water and chalk to cover surfaces. Let’s look at what it is and how it’s used.

What is white wash

Whitewash: The Alternative Type of Paint You Need to Know About

Whitewash is a type of paint (here’s how to use it) that has been around for centuries. It is made from slaked lime or chalk calcium carbonate, sometimes known as “whiting,” and various other additives are sometimes used. Whitewashing predates modern paint and remains popular today as an alternative type of paint.

What are the Ingredients of Whitewash?

The main ingredients of whitewash are slaked lime or chalk calcium carbonate, water, and sometimes salt. Other additives such as glue, flour, and pigment can also be used to enhance its properties.

How to Edit Whitewash?

Whitewash can be easily edited by adding more water to dilute it or by adding more pigment to change its color. It can also be removed by washing it off with water or by using a scraper or sandpaper.

Painting with White Wash: A Unique and Traditional Alternative

White wash is a widely used paint-like material that creates a unique finish on wood, stone, and other materials. The main ingredients for a basic white wash mixture are slaked lime and water, but chalk, boiled linseed oil, and other materials can be added to improve the mixture’s ability to stick to surfaces and prevent cracking. To create the mixture, follow these steps:

  • Mix two parts slaked lime with one part water in a large container.
  • Add chalk or other materials to achieve the desired consistency and colour.
  • Stir the mixture thoroughly until it forms a smooth and creamy texture.

Applying White Wash to Wood

White wash is commonly used to finish wood, giving it a vintage and natural feel. To apply white wash to wood, follow these steps:

  • Sand the wood piece to create a smooth surface.
  • Stir the white wash mixture thoroughly before applying it to the wood.
  • Apply the mixture to the wood using a brush, working with the grain.
  • Allow the mixture to dry completely before adding another layer.
  • Note that the number of layers needed depends on the type of wood and the desired finish.

The Differences in Color and Tone

White wash can create a range of colors and tones depending on the materials added to the mixture. Adding chalk or other materials can create lighter tones, while adding boiled linseed oil can create heavier tones. It’s important to test the mixture on a small area before applying it to a larger area to ensure the desired color and tone are achieved.

The Potential Safety Concerns

White wash is a pretty easy material to work with, but it requires some safety precautions. When mixing the ingredients, wear gloves and eye protection to prevent any irritation. Also, note that the mixture can be mildly acidic, so avoid contact with skin and eyes. Finally, when storing the mixture, make sure to keep it in a cool and dry place.

The Unique Finish and Usage

White wash creates a unique finish that is unlike any other paint-like material. It creates a tension between the wood grain and the mixture, allowing the natural beauty of the wood to shine through. White wash is commonly used as an alternative to traditional paint, especially for those who want to achieve a vintage and natural feel. It’s also an affordable and easy way to improve the look of any piece of furniture or area in your home.

Whitewash: More Than Just a Paint

Whitewash has been used for centuries as a building material, and it still has many applications today. Here are some ways whitewash can be used in building and construction:

  • Protecting wood: Whitewash can be used to protect wood from water damage, mold, and rot. It creates a uniform finish that allows the wood to dry out properly, preventing damage to the body of the wood.
  • Sanitizing surfaces: Whitewash contains lime, which has natural antibacterial properties. It can be used to clean and sanitize surfaces in areas like farms and stables.
  • Improving the appearance of stone: Whitewash can be used to improve the appearance of stone by creating a slightly lighter, more uniform colour. It can also be used to remove scale and other stains from stone surfaces.
  • Internal walls: Whitewash can be used on internal walls to improve the appearance of the area. It can also be used to test the thickness of the walls.

Preparing and Applying Whitewash

Whitewash is easy to produce and apply. Here’s a recipe for making whitewash:

  • Mix hydrated lime or lime putty with water to create a paste.
  • Add water to the paste until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Allow the mixture to sit for a day to improve the quality of the whitewash.

Here are some tips for applying whitewash:

  • Remember to wear protective clothing and goggles when working with whitewash.
  • Grab a paintbrush or roller to apply the whitewash.
  • Apply the whitewash in a fast and uniform manner.
  • Consider the property you are working on when deciding on the thickness of the whitewash.
  • Allow the whitewash to dry completely before applying a second coat.

Benefits of Using Whitewash

Whitewash has many benefits that make it an excellent choice for building and construction projects. Here are some of the benefits of using whitewash:

  • It is an inexpensive coating that can be used to protect and improve the appearance of a wide range of materials.
  • It creates a uniform finish that improves the appearance of the area.
  • It contains lime, which has natural antibacterial properties that can help sanitize surfaces.
  • It can be used to test the thickness of walls and other surfaces.
  • It has a long history of use and is still used today in many local communities.

Wiping Away the White: Removing Whitewash

  • Always wear protective gear, such as gloves and goggles, when removing whitewash.
  • Test the removal method on a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure it doesn’t damage the surface underneath.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes or dust.
  • Take breaks often to avoid fatigue or injury.
  • Consider hiring a professional if the whitewash is difficult to remove or if you’re unsure about the best removal method.

Removing whitewash may take some effort, but it can be a rewarding process that restores the beauty of your surfaces. With these tips and methods, you can wipe away the white and start fresh.


So there you have it,  whitewash isn’t just a paint but a type of paint with a long history. It’s made with slaked lime, chalk, and water, and it’s great for giving a vintage look to wood and stone. You can use it on interior walls and exterior walls, and it’s a great way to clean and sanitize surfaces. So go ahead and give it a try!

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.