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Whitewash Recipe

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Whitewash Recipes

Here are several whitewash recipes I have come across. The common thread in all of them is that they are very basic with respect to the ingredients. The one I used was indeed the easiest.

The recipe the architect provided to me was: 50 lbs of Ivory Hydrated Lime and 10 lbs. of Morten's table salt. Mix with clean water to a paste consistency. Apply with a stiff brush. Wet the masonry first. After partial drying rinse some off to achieve blotchy appearance.

Here is a recipe that I found on the Internet for Historic Whitewash Formula.

  1. Salt
  2. Alum - Common Potash Aluminum
  3. Molasses - Unsulfured, light brown/clear
  4. Water
  5. Hydrated Lime
  6. Optional: Portland Cement Type I or Type II

Part A: Mix 12 pounds salt, 6 ounces of alum and 1 quart molasses dissolved in 1.5 gallons of water.

Part B: Mix 50 pounds of the hydrated lime with 5 gallons of hot water. Let this stand for 12 hours. After 12 hours mix Parts A and B together to a brushable consistency.

You can add white Portland cement for more durability. But substitute only up to 10 percent of the lime you use. In this recipe you would use 5 pounds of white cement and 45 pounds of lime.

Here is a recipe that was emailed to me from a reader in Cincinnati, Ohio. His unedited note is as follows:

Dear Tim,

I enjoyed your column on "Whitewash Protects Brick" and thought you might be interested in the following paragraph copied from "The Ohio Valley Farmer" publication, dated June, 1860.

"WHITEWASH, as used on the President's house, in Washington, is made as follows: Slack half a bushel of unslacked lime with boiling water; cover it during the process. Strain it, and add a peck of salt dissolved in warm water, three pounds ground rice, boiled to a thin paste, put in boiling hot, half a pound Spanish white, and one pound clear glue, dissolved in warm water. Mix and let the whole stand a few days. Keep in a kettle, and put on hot with a brush."

Interesting isn't it? This was in an article titled "USEFUL AND DOMESTIC RECIPES."


Gil Gandenberger
Cincinnati, OH

Column B366


5 Responses to Whitewash Recipe

  1. Hi, I read your column on whitewash about 8 years ago, saved it but lost it apparently when we switched computers later.

    I recall the lime described as "builders lime" and that the temperature had to be 70 degrees or less for 12 hours for it to set up right.

    The whitewash paint has been great for us. The finish is brilliant white in our Augusta, Ga., sun and the overhang on our ranch-style house has protected it very well. We/I did not want the old brick look because our brick is princess style (1 1/2 normal brick length) and has a deep rough finish -- I've heard it liked to hackberry bark. It is the ugliest thing you ever saw. It was the color of Rustoleum metal primer. But the whitewash redeemed it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you for the earlier post, and this more recent one.


    Virginia Norton

  2. I have posted a thread before but never had a reply, or can't find the reply.
    I want to whitewash my zinc plated roof.
    Is this a good idea, if not why not. I was going to use a tank spreader with a profile roller.
    Where do I find your reply. Can you email me.

  3. Could you please confirm the limewash steps for application? From what I've read you simply brush it on and later remove portions if desired. I am wondering if this is a one coat process and if there is another step involved to seal/protect? I read in another thread of yours that a reader noticed much of the effect washed off after a hard rain. Was this because the house was rained on shortly after the application? Thank so much!

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