How to Remove Whitewash From Wood

Tina Amo

Whitewashing is an inexpensive method of giving wood items a new look. However, there may come a time when the owner wishes to remove the whitewash and return the wood surface to its natural appearance. Whitewash can be removed with the same type of supplies used for stripping paint.

Strip whitewashed wood surfaces carefully.

The homeowner must complete the process carefully to avoid damaging the wood.

  1. Take safety precautions before the work begins. For instance, open the windows to ventilate the room or work outside if possible. Place the furniture at a comfortable height, place newspapers around your work area to catch any spills and protect yourself with goggles and gloves.

  2. Apply a paint stripper to the wood surface. Paint strippers are available in liquid, paste or gel form, and each requires a different application method. For instance, liquid paint strippers can be brushed or sprayed onto the surface while paste and gel strippers can be rubbed on. A paint stripper in paste or gel form is best for vertical wood surfaces. Follow the manufacturer's directions for best results.

  3. Test the surface at the manufacturer’s suggested removal time. Use the edge of a scraper to scrape a small area of the wood. The wood should be visible if the paint stripper has loosened the paint. If not, wait about 10 minutes.

  4. Follow the manufacturer’s directions to remove the paint stripper. You may be directed to wipe the substance off with a cotton cloth, scrape it off with a wood scraper or wash it off. If you prefer the wash-off method, complete the process quickly and carefully to avoid damaging the wood.

  5. Examine the wood surface to ensure there are no specks of the white paint left. If there are any, use a scouring pad, steel wool or sandpaper to remove them. Repeat the process from Step 1 if there are spots that are difficult to remove.