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Whitewash Recipe

Whitewash Recipe TIPS

Numerous Whitewash Recipes

I scoured the Internet and some historic building handbooks I own to get as many whitewash recipes as I could find.

It didn't take long to realize most of them are very similar. My secret recipe that I used on a very successful project where I had to match 70-year-old weathered whitewash is just below.

Here's just one part of the project I did. I wish I had taken a wider-angled shot so you could see the original house. Trust me, the whitewash on it looks identical to this addition I built - or vice versa!

The reason some bricks are exposed is that's the look on the existing home. The house resembles a weathered English country home.

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local painters who can apply whitewash for you.

I took this photo over twenty years AFTER I put on the whitewash. It looks identical to when I applied it. You'd NEVER get paint to last that long. © 2017 Tim Carter


Links to purchase all of the ingredients you need are below the recipes. I've selected only the top-quality products so you don't have a failure.

All can be shipped to your doorstep.


Historic Whitewash Recipe

  • Alum - Common Potash Aluminum
  • Table Salt
  • Molasses - Un-sulfured, light brown/clear
  • Water
  • Hydrated Lime
  • Optional: Portland Cement Type I or Type II -preferably white cement

Mixing Instructions:

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.

Optional Step: 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.


Tim Carter's Secret Whitewash Recipe

  • 50 pounds of hydrated mason's lime
  • 10 pounds of table salt
  • Water
  • Optional: Dried color pigments used in brick mortar and white Portland cement for extra durability.
  • Mixing Instructions:

Blend lime and salt together dry. If using pigment and cement, blend them at this time until the entire mixture is homogeneous.

Add water slowly until mixture resembles pancake batter or a creamy latex paint. Do NOT STOP stirring until all of the lime is dissolved into the water!

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local painters who can apply whitewash for you.

Mixing Whitewash Video

Watch this pretty good video about how to mix whitewash. This is how I did it. He talks about using silica sand, but that just adds grit to the finish.

IMPORTANT TIP: Do not add the quartz sand if you want a smooth finish!

Gil Gandenberger's The Ohio Valley Farmer Recipe

Gil, who lived in Cincinnati, OH, emailed me an ancient recipe he discovered in an old copy of The Ohio Valley Farmer dated June, 1860!

WHITEWASH, as used on the President's house, in Washington DC, is made as follows:

  • Slake half a bushel of unslaked lime with boiling water; cover it during the process
  • Strain it, and add a peck of salt dissolved in warm water
  • Add three pounds ground rice, boiled to a thin paste, put in boiling hot to other ingredients
  • Add 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.

What is Slaking?

Slaking is the process of adding water to hydrated lime. The lime is chemically unstable in the bag and when mixed with water it begins an exothermic chemical reaction giving off heat.

It's possible for steam to rise from the mix. It's VERY IMPORTANT to stir the mix constantly so all the lime gets mixed with water.

If unslaked lime ends up in the final work, it can pop, pit or disintegrate at a later date. This is more likely to happen when lime is used as the bonding agent in brick mortar rather than whitewash.

The bottom line is STIR WELL.

High-Quality Whitewash Materials

This is excellent hydrated lime. It's a fine white powder and it's going to look great on your home. CLICK THE IMAGE TO ORDER SOME RIGHT NOW.


Here's a giant bag of salt. You may need two or three depending on how much whitewash you mix up. CLICK THE BAG OF SALT NOW TO ORDER IT.


Here are just a few of the many many pigments available. You can blend different pigments to get different shades that you don't see here! CLICK THE IMAGE TO BUY ANY WHITEWASH PIGMENT YOU WANT.


To purchase white Portland cement, just do a search on any search engine. You'll find it. At the time I revised this column, it was not for sale on Amazon.com.

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local painters who can apply whitewash for you.

Column B366


12 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. 🙂

    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!

  4. Hello, i have one recipe for traditional english house painting. Except lime and water they add some salt or sugar and vegetable oil. I think it was 5 kg lime, 5 l water 0,5 kg salt and 2 dcl oil.

  5. Hi Tim,
    I want to do my brick house in whitewash. How much surface area does the 50 lb bag of lime and 10 lb bag of salt cover?

  6. Hey there, i have a question.. ive got to whitewash a pasturefence, not to make it look good but to make it last... so what do you guys think is the best recipe ?

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