How Do You Fix Whitewash Mistakes?

While whitewashing your furniture or walls, it is inevitable to make mistakes, which makes you wonder how to fix them. Whitewashing is easy and provides a shabby chic look into the furniture. It looks great on wood but can also be done in other materials like bricks. A lot of people are hesitant to whitewash their furniture because they do not know how to fix accidental mistakes. To help you get started, we have shared tips and ideas below on how to fix whitewash mistakes.

How do you fix whitewash mistakes? There are different methods to fix whitewash mistakes depending on the kind of mistake that you made. One method that you can use is to dilute white vinegar with water using a 1:1 ratio to create a solution. Use a rag or sponge to wipe the surface of the material where you would like to remove the whitewash. If the whitewash is made from diluted paint, you can use a paint stripper to remove paint runs.

Whitewash is affordable and is also easy to do. You can whitewash furniture or walls even if you do not have much painting experience. On the other hand, while whitewash is a simple task, it is still inevitable to make mistakes. Mistakes done when whitewashing wood and other materials will affect its appearance and how long the whitewash can last. Read the rest of the article below to learn more about the common mistakes done when whitewashing and the necessary steps to fix them.

Common Mistakes When Whitewashing

Some of the common mistakes done when whitewashing includes not removing the existing finish on the material, whitewashing without cleaning the surface of the material, not sanding the wood, whitewash runs, and missed spots. These mistakes will affect how the whitewashed wood or walls appear. The good thing is that these mistakes can be easily fixed. Let us learn more about how to deal with these whitewash mistakes below.

Whitewashing without Removing the Existing Finish

One of the common mistakes done when whitewashing is leaving the existing finish on the surface of the material. Take note that any kind of finish should be removed. Otherwise, the whitewash will easily peel off from the material because it cannot adhere perfectly.

How to Fix It:

Use a sandpaper to remove the finish from the surface of the material. Exposing the surface of the material will make the whitewash stick into it. See to it that the surface is smooth. Start by using the lowest grit of sandpaper and continue with the higher grit to thoroughly remove the existing finish.

Whitewashing on a Dirty Surface

Another common mistake done is whitewashing without cleaning the surface of the material first. Regardless of whether the furniture is new or not, it needs to be cleaned before you start applying the whitewash. Bear in mind that wood accumulates oil which can make the whitewash peel off. Aside from that, dust and debris on the surface can mix with the whitewash making the color appear dirty.

How to Fix It:

Take some time to clean the surface of the material before you start whitewashing. Use water and soap solution. You can also use cleaning chemicals according to the surface that you will clean. However, be careful when using cleaning chemicals and make sure to follow the instructions on how to apply them. White vinegar and warm water solution can also be used to clean wood.

Missed to Whitewash Some Spots

When whitewashing, it is unavoidable that you will miss some spots especially if you are painting a wide surface. This can also happen due to poor lighting and spreading the whitewash unevenly into the material. Fret not because this can be easily remedied.

How to Fix It:

To fix this mistake, you first need to wait until the whitewash has dried so you can see the spots that you have missed. When painting a dark wood or surfaces like bricks, you can easily determine which areas you have missed. Simply apply whitewash into these areas.

Not Sanding the Wood before Whitewashing

Another common mistake done when whitewashing is not sanding the material. Sanding the material is very important especially if you are working with rough woods and walls with uneven surfaces. Unless you want to have a natural look and would like to paint the surface as it is, you first need to remove imperfections by sanding. Moreover, skipping the sanding process will have an impact on the surface of the wood and other materials as well.

How to Fix It:

To fix this problem, use sandpaper and begin sanding the surface until you have made sure that it is smooth and even. Sanding also helps remove stains, dirt, and debris that got stuck on the surface of the material. Once you are done sanding, use a damp cloth to clean the material. For more information the importance of sanding before whitewashing, you can check out this article that we have written titled, do you need to sand before whitewashing

Whitewash Runs

This can happen if you use a brush or roller that is larger than the surface of the material that you are painting. Another reason is that you are applying too much whitewash on the brush that it spills on the edges. Whitewash runs can be an issue if you are whitewashing inside a border and the whitewash spills on the edges.

How to Fix It:

Wait for the whitewash to dry and use sandpaper to remove the run. If you are using a paint-based whitewash, you can bad thinner on a rag and use it to wipe off the runs

Using Oil-Based Paint for Whitewashing

Using oil-based paint for whitewashing is not ideal because oil does not mix with water. Take note that whitewash can be achieved by diluting paint with water. When you use oil-based paint, the paint will separate and will create an unpleasant look into the material. It will also easily peel off and get flaky.

How to Fix It:

When using paint for whitewashing, choose those that are water-based or latex. They will create the ideal stain effect to achieve a weathered and vintage look. You can choose any shade that you want as long as you choose water-based paint.

✅ Video – 5 DIY White Wash Finishes for Wood

HomeMadeModern shared the video below on YouTube. It shows 5 DIY whitewash finishes for wood. In the video, the step by step process on how to whitewash wood is discussed. Watch the video for the visual demonstration.

Can You Remove Whitewash?

Whitewash can be removed. To remove whitewash, use the same type of supplies that you usually use to remove paint. Make sure that you are extra careful when removing whitewash so that you will not damage the wood. We have also shared this article that discusses the purpose of whitewash. You can check out the article for more information about the topic.

How Do You Remove Whitewash?

There are a few steps that you need to do to remove whitewash which includes preparing the room, applying the paint stripper, removing the whitewash, and checking the surface for some damages. Let us learn more about these steps below.

Step 1 – Set-Up the Room

Before you start removing whitewash, make sure to prepare the room especially if you will be working indoors. The last thing that you want to happen is to mess the floors. Use rags or newspaper to cover the floor and also make sure that the room is properly ventilated. Open the windows and turn on the exhaust fan.

Step 2 – Use Paint Stripper

Once you have prepared the room, the next step is to apply paint stripper to the surface of the material. You can choose from a wide array of paint strippers that are available on the market. Take note that each form of pant stripper needs a different application method. Paint strippers that are in paste or gel forms can be rubbed into the surface while those that are in liquid form should be applied with the use of a brush.

Step 3 – Remove the Whitewash

Make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s directions when removing whitewash from the walls. Some need to be wiped off while others need to be scraped with a wood scraper. You can choose the wash-off method if you want a quick and easy process.

Step 4 – Inspect the Surface

The last step is to inspect the surface to make sure that there is no whitewash left. In case some small specks are found, you can use steel wool or sandpaper to remove them. We have also shared this article titled, does whitewash wash off? Check out the article for an in-depth discussion about the topic.

Can You Whitewash with any Color?

You can whitewash with any color that you prefer. The traditional color of whitewash is white, but you can choose a brighter color to make the furniture or the walls more interesting. If you are using a traditional whitewash that is made from lime and water, add powdered color pigments of your choice. On the other hand, you can also dilute a colored paint with water. For more information about this topic, you can check out this article that discusses if you can whitewash with any color.

What Can You Use to Seal Whitewash?

There are many sealers that you can use to seal whitewash. One option that you can have is clear polyurethane sealer. Using a brush, evenly apply the sealer into the surface of the material. Sealing your whitewashed furniture will maintain its look and make it last for many years.

Do You Have to Seal Whitewashed Wood?

Sealing whitewashed wood is ideal to make it more durable and long lasting. The sealer will protect the surface and will also seal the paint preventing it from peeling easily. There is a wide array of sealers available on the market. Choose the one that is suitable for the kind of material that you will whitewash. You can also check out this article titled, do you need to seal whitewash? We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.


You have reached the end of this article that talks about how to fix whitewash mistakes. We have shared the common mistakes done when whitewashing and how to properly fix them. Moreover, we have shared tips on how to remove whitewash. Whitewash mistakes are inevitable, but the good thing is that they can be easily fixed. Thank you for reading!

Recent Posts