How to Lime Wash a Chair

Two Parts:Preparing the chairLime washing the chair

If you find a lovely old chair or two in the local thrift store and you're wondering how to improve it, chair liming may be just the solution you're after. After adding a lime wash, a chair will look chic rather than drab and with a change of cover, you'll have a brand new chair ready to fit in with your home's d├ęcor. It's a great project for those who love flea market chic.

Part 1
Preparing the chair

  1. Image titled Lime Wash a Chair Step 1
    Remove the seat portion of the chair.
  2. Image titled Lime Wash a Chair Step 2
    Strip the chair. You can do this yourself but it's a lot easier and faster to take it along to a professional furniture restorer who can dip it into the paint-stripping tank. If you do it yourself, follow the instructions of the stripping packaging and allow to dry out completely before moving to the next steps.
  3. Image titled Lime Wash a Chair Step 3
    Use a wire brush on the chair. Push this brush along the surface of the chair, following the direction of the grain. This method is known as "raking out" and is done to remove loose soft wood. It will also drag up any dust trapped inside the grooves of the wood.
    • Try to use a good quality brush for this, to avoid leaving deep cuts in the wood.
  4. Image titled Lime Wash a Chair Step 4
    Run sandpaper of a 220-grit over the brushed wood. This will smooth it out nicely.
  5. Image titled Lime Wash a Chair Step 5
    Clean the chair of dust from the sanding. Either use a brush attachment on the end of a vacuum cleaner or use a damp cloth and run it over the chair. Ensure that the chair is dry before you start lime washing.

Part 2
Lime washing the chair

  1. Image titled Lime Wash a Chair Step 6
    Don a pair of gloves, if you haven't done so already. This will protect your skin.
  2. Image titled Lime Wash a Chair Step 7
    Dip the wire wool into the liming wax. Rub the wax into the wood. This time you can rub both with and against the grain of the wood.
  3. Image titled Lime Wash a Chair Step 8
    Allow to sit on the wood to dry. This should take about half an hour, although it's a good idea to read the instructions accompanying the liming wax too.
  4. Image titled Lime Wash a Chair Step 9
    Dip a fresh piece of wire wool into the furniture polish. Rub over the chair where you've added the liming wax. This will lift off all surface liming wax. What will be left behind will be the liming wax stuck in all the grooves of the wood, showing up the grain of the wood. It's a really lovely effect, so enjoy your efforts!
  5. Image titled Lime Wash a Chair Step 10
    Buff with a soft cloth to bring up a shine. You can even add some protective oil as a final layer, but that's optional.
  6. Image titled Lime Wash a Chair Step 11
    Restore the chair seat. If you need to recover it, do so before replacing.


  • If you see a hazy result on the chair, use mineral spirits applied to a clean cloth. Rub on to clean the chair.
  • This method also applies to other wooden furniture, such as tables, dressers, sideboards, cabinets, chests of drawers, etc.

Things You'll Need

  • Old chair in need of TLC
  • Disposable gloves
  • Wire brush
  • Liming wax (from a hardware store, restoration specialist or antique/restoration furniture store)
  • Furniture wax
  • Wire wool, fine
  • Polishing cloth, soft texture, clean (cheesecloth is a good choice)
  • Protective oil (optional)
  • Items to restore the seat cover, such as fabric, staple gun or tacks, filler, etc.
  • Scissors

Article Info

Categories: Furniture and Cabinets