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Fabulous Whitewash – DIY Basics

Submitted by on Monday, 22 February 20104 Comments

White ChurchIf you see sparkling white buildings on a Greek island, they have most likely been “painted” with whitewash. It has been used throughout the world, indoors and out, on plaster, concrete, masonry, and stone.

Whitewash is made of mason’s hydrated lime and water. It is sometimes called limewash.

The fabulous part of whitewash? It is a natural antiseptic and deters insects. It is also fire resistant, a zero-voc (volatile organic compound), and a zero-synthethic biocide paint.

1 gallon of whitewash covers:
* 225 square feet of wood
* 180 square feet of brick
* 270 square feet of plaster
* 250 square feet of concrete (and other masonry materials)

Simple Outdoor Whitewash Formula
The salt adds antiseptic qualities to this whitewash.

Ingredients
7 1/2 pounds salt dissolved in 2 1/2 gallons hot distilled water
25 pounds mason’s hydrated lime mixed with 3 gallons distilled water
Natural earth pigment (optional).

Dampen the surface with water before applying the whitewash. Dampen before every new coat.

In separate tubs, prepare the salt and lime mixtures. Combine, stirring to reove all lups; add more distilled water if the paint is too thick. Add pigment if desired.

Makes 6 gallons

Shelf Life: A few days

If you want a cooler white, add 1 teaspoon laundry bluing per gallon.

Alternatives: A simpler version involves simply dissolving 25 pounds mason’s hydrated lime in 3 gallons of distilled water. A more complex version, used on lighthouses, includes lime, water, salt, rice flour, titanium dioxide, and white glue. (Let me know if you are interested in the Lighthouse Whitewash and I will publish that.)

By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).

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4 Comments »

  • Mamassecret says:

    how long does it last.  I remember they used to whitewash the trunks of the fruit trees in the orchards but it had to be done every year

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  • Susan Linnell says:

    would like the recipe for the Lighthouse formula  

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  • dmicetic says:

    I whitewashed my block home over 5 years ago and it’s still as bright as when I first put it on. Ideally, you want to whitewash a clean, unpainted, porous surface. Whitewashing wood is not recommended, as the lime in whitewash will dry the wood out.

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  • dmicetic says:

    I would like the Lighthouse formola also.

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