How To Apply Whitewash To Concrete

a whitewashed concrete wall
What You'll Need
Wire cleaning brush
Cleaning solution
Scrub brush
50 lbs of Hydrated Lime
10 lbs Table Salt
Large tub for mixing
Paint brushes

Whitewash is a lime-based chemical that will change the color of your concrete walls or flooring. You can apply whitewash to wood, brick, and other surfaces as well, and even add pigments to the mixture. The procedure of adding whitewash is not difficult but will take some time between each step.


Before you whitewash your entire concrete surface, experiment with different types of washes, pigments, and forms of applications. Keep in mind that the substance may turn colors when it dries, so allow at least 48 to 72 drying time to see the real results. You can easily apply the whitewash with a simple roller, sponges, or stiff or soft bristle brushes. Try different mixtures until you find your desired result. Make sure to keep a record of the different combinations so that you know how to recreate it.


Every successful project begins with preparation and whitewashing is no exception. Thoroughly clean the concrete surface to ensure an even finish. Set out a tarp around any landscaping or areas where you do not want to get the whitewash mixture. You might need to use more than one type of cleaner, like those for grease or caked-on dirt. Use a wire cleaning brush for the very tough areas, but take care not to chip away the concrete. Repair any chipping before you whitewash.

ladder against concrete wall with bucket on top

Mix it Up

There are several different recipes for mixing up your own whitewash, but one popular way is to use hydrated lime, salt, and water. Mix 50 pounds of lime, 10 lbs of salt, and enough water that it forms a paste. You can leave the mixture to sit overnight if you wish—just stir and replace any lost water when you are ready to use it again.

Apply Whitewash

Thoroughly apply whitewash with a paintbrush. You can also use a sponge mop or roller if they create the look you are going for. Regardless of what you use to apply it, the whitewash will adhere better to a moist surface, so wet the concrete first and allow it to dry partially before you start. You will find that you usually need more than one application. Apply thin even strokes until you achieve the result that you are looking for. By the time that you begin the third coat, the brush strokes should no longer be visible. Keep in mind that each coat must be completely dry before you start the next one.

Whitewashing your concrete is a great way to bring charm to your home. Lime is also alkaline, so whitewash solutions that contain lime will kill germs. Whitewashed concrete will last a long time without needing to be reapplied.