Whitewash vs. White Paint – Is Whitewash White Paint?

Are you planning to update the look of your furniture and are wondering if you would either whitewash or paint it? Painting and whitewashing are a good way to add a rustic charm into your furniture. They are affordable options that will transform furniture, walls, and other surfaces in our home. However, a lot of people are wondering if there is a difference between whitewash and white paint or if they are the same. We will discuss the answer in this article.

Whitewash vs. white paint, is whitewash white paint? Whitewash is not the same as white paint. White paint is basically a paint that is color white and includes resin or binders in its composition. It forms a solid coat on the painted surface. However, whitewash is made from dissolved chalk and lime. It whitens the surface of wood when applied but does not leave a solid surface coating. White paint is used to whitewash a surface. This is done by watering-down white paint.

What is the purpose of whitewash? How long will whitewash last? What is the difference between whitewash and paint? Is whitewashing more expensive than painting? These are some of the questions that we will discuss. Read the rest of the article below for more tips and information.

Whitewash vs. white paint, is whitewash white paint
Image by tookapic from Pixabay

What is Whitewash?

Whitewash is made by mixing water-based paint with water. It is applied on the surface of wood and other materials in thin layers with the use of a soft paint brush. What it does is to soften the natural colors of wood, bricks, and other surfaces to create a weathered look. A technique that is usually used when whitewashing wood or brick is to use a wet rag when wiping the areas of the paint away.

What is the Purpose of Whitewash?

Whitewash has antimicrobial properties that offer sanitary and hygienic benefits.  It is usually applied to wood and brick surfaces. When applied regularly, it build-up layers of scale that easily peels off to remove debris on the surface. Nowadays, whitewashing is done to provide a weathered and vintage look into wood or any other surfaces.

Difference between Paint and Whitewash

The main difference between the two is that whitewash is a mixture that is made using masonry lime and water while paint is made from different chemicals and products. Whitewash is used for bricks, walls, and other surfaces for sanitary purposes and also to achieve a vintage look. On the other hand, paint is a substance that can either be applied as a paste or liquid. Paint produces a solid coating when it dries.

Whitewash VS. Paint

Whitewash is different from paint in its composition and purpose. For instance, whitewash is made using few ingredients and you can even make your own whitewash at home by mixing masonry lime, table salt, and warm water. It is usually white in color but some people use dyes to add color to the whitewash. Paint, on the other hand, is made from pigment, resin, solvent and other materials. It is thick and creamy in appearance and comes with a wide array of colors to choose from.

How Long Will Whitewash Last?

Whitewash can last for about twenty years or more and it needs little maintenance. It lasts five to six times as compared to paint because it does not have a thick film. Take note that even the most expensive and high-quality paint will eventually peel, chip, and fade over time and it also needs regular maintenance to preserve its look. The good thing about whitewash is that it can last for decades with only little maintenance. We have also shared this article titled, does whitewash wash off? Check out the article for an in-depth discussion about the topic.

What are the Benefits of Whitewashing?

Whitewash is easy to do, affordable, environment friendly, and also has antibacterial properties. It is your best choice if you want to have a long lasting result without doing a lot of maintenance. Let us learn more about the benefits of using whitewash below.

Easy to Do

One benefit that you can get from whitewashing is that it is very simple to do. You do not need to have special skills or knowledge to do this task. All that you have to do is to make sure that you use the right type of lime for the solution. This lime is the one that is used for masonry. Mix lime with water and apply it on the surface just like you do when painting.


Another benefit that you can get from using whitewash is that it is affordable. The more space that you need to paint, the more expensive the cost will be. If you want to paint your barn or your outdoor furniture but would like to have a low-cost option, you can choose to use whitewash. If you do not want to have a plain white surface, you can also use dyes to add color to the whitewash mixture.


Whitewash is also an eco-friendly option that you can choose from. It contains no harmful substances that can affect the environment. You can use it both indoor and outdoor for a weathered and cozy look. It will also look great on your fences and patio walls. We have also written this article that talk about the purpose of whitewash. You can check out the article for more information about the advantages and benefits that you can get from using whitewash.


Another great benefit of whitewash is that it has antibacterial properties. Whitewash protects the surface for mold and mildew. Mold is a common household issue which can cause allergies and other health issues. To avoid this, you can use whitewash on your walls, ceilings, and floors.

✅ Video – How to Make Natural Lime Whitewash

Sikana English shared the video below on YouTube. It discusses how to make natural lime whitewash. This DIY project is easy to do and is a good alternative to paint. Watch the video for the step-by-step demonstration.

How to Whitewash Wood Using White Paint

There are a few steps that you need to consider when whitewashing wood using white paint which includes preparing the paint, pre-staining the wood, preparing the tools, and whitewashing the wood. There are different whitewashing techniques that you can do. Below are some of the steps that you can follow on how to whitewash wood using white paint.

Step 1 – Prepare the Paint

The first step that you need to do is to prepare the paint. To do this, mix latex paint with water. If you want a lighter paint finish, add more water into the mixture. Most would prefer to use a 50-50 solution. Start by adding a small amount of water into the latex and test the mixture on the wood. Continue adding water until you achieve the finish that you want.

Step 2 – Pre-stain the Wood

The next step that you need to do is to pre-stain the wood. You need to do this especially if you have woods like oak and. These are light woods that can be hard to paint. To make sure that the whitewash is noticeable on the wood, you first need to pre-stain it using natural wood color that is darker as compared to the original wood. Read and follow the direction on the wood grain when pre-staining the wood. Choose a stain with a sealant to prevent it from becoming wet again when you start to apply the whitewash.

Step 3 – Prepare the Tools

Next, prepare all of the tools that you need to whitewash the wood. It is ideal that you use a paintbrush instead of a roller. You will also need a bucket for the whitewash. Take note that it can be difficult to use paint trays because whitewash is thinner as compared to the regular paint. When you use a paint tray, the whitewash can easily spill.

Step 4 – Apply Whitewash

Before applying whitewash, you first need to lightly sand the wood so that the paint can easily stick into the surface. Make sure to Wipe and clean the surface to get rid of any dust and debris. Start applying the whitewash in the direction of the wood grain. Apply as many coat as you want. Let it dry thoroughly and use a sealant for an added protection.

Is Whitewash Toxic?

Whitewash is not toxic so you do not have to concern yourself about any toxic chemicals. Moreover, whitewash does not have a strong smell as compared to paint. It is eco-friendly and has antibacterial properties. You can use whitewash for both indoors and outdoors.

What Type of Paint Do You Use for Whitewash?

You can use a latex paint to create a whitewash. Create the mixture by mixing water and latex paint. Most people would use a 50-50 measurement but you can add as much or as little amount of water as you like depending on the finish that you want to achieve.  

How Do You Whitewash Paint?

You can create a whitewash solution by using ordinary white paint. It is affordable and you will only need water to dilute the solution. For a thicker coating that can be sanded to create a weathered and vintage look, mix paint and water in half and half ratio. On the other hand, you can mix one part paint to three parts water to achieve a thinner coating. You can also check out this article that discusses how to fix whitewash mistakes. We have shared the common mistakes done when whitewashing and how to fix them.


In this article, we have discussed if the difference between whitewash and white paint and if whitewash is the same as white paint. We have found out that whitewash is different from white paint. Moreover, we have learned that whitewash can be made by mixing white paint and water. We hope that this article has helped you learn more about the difference between whitewash and white paint. Thank you for reading!

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