How to White Wash Wooden Furniture

Updated November 21, 2016

White washing is a paint technique which adds a bright white tint to wood furniture while still allowing some of the natural wood grain to show through. This finish is simple to achieve, even for novice painters, and mistakes can easily be corrected. White wash can brighten up your dingy looking wooden furniture and make it look crisp and clean while giving any room an antique or country feel.

Clean the wooden furniture with white vinegar diluted in an equal amount of water. Remove all dirt or greasy spots from the furniture.

Sand the piece of furniture with 200-grit sandpaper to remove any existing clear coat and help the paint adhere to the wood. Wipe away dust with a clean rag after sanding.

Mix three parts white latex paint with one part water. Stir the mixture with a paint stirring stick until it is well blended.

Brush the thinned latex paint onto the wooden furniture with a four-inch chip brush or a six-inch stain brush. Choose the brush that fits best in your hand and is easy to use.

Wipe the wet painted surface of the furniture with a dry rag to remove brush strokes. You may need to switch to a new rag when the first one becomes covered with white wash. Allow the paint to dry completely before you continue.

Seal the white washed furniture with a water-based polyurethane clear coat. Oil-based clear coats may yellow over time, so they are not recommended for white wash furniture.


You can paint additional coats of white wash before you apply the clear coat if you would like to cover more of the wood grain. Just allow each coat of paint to dry completely before you apply the next coat.

Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Sandpaper
  • Rags
  • Latex paint
  • Paint stirring stick
  • Paint brush
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About the Author

Kittie McCoy has been a freelance writer since 2008. She is also a part-time personal trainer and licensed entertainer in Las Vegas. She enjoys sharing her love of physical fitness and experience in the entertainment industry via her writing.