Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I’m painting my living room and kitchen/dining area this week. Painting always reminds me of that scene in Tom Sawyer where Tom is whitewashing the fence. His Aunt Polly assigned him the chore as a punishment, but Tom manipulated the other kids into doing the job for him.

Whitewashing was used in the mid 19th century to spiff up barns, houses, and other outbuildings, as well as fences. The technique was inexpensive. Whitewash consisted of a mixture of lime, water and salt, as well as color additives such as chalk, molasses, blood, egg white and milk. Whitewash was also mildly antibacterial.

Whitewash is still used today. Here’s a recipe I found:

12 c. Hydrated Lime
1 lb. of Table Salt (un-iodized)
1 or 2 Gallons of Warm Water (not exact--just mix until it forms a thick paint-like consistency)

Mix in a bucket (use a mask and gloves because hydrated lime in powder form is caustic). With a brush, apply a thick coat to the wood you're painting. At first it appears grey, but after it hardens for two to three days, it turns white.

Have any of our readers used whitewash? I’d love to hear about it.

1 comment :

  1. I've encountered the term "whitewash" in many books I've read. I've always wondered exactly what it was. Thanks for the info!


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