Is Chalk Paint Washable

Chalk paint has quickly become a go-to paint choice for DIY enthusiasts. And for good reason too- it’s incredibly easy to use and it creates a lovely matte finish that people love. 

Another selling point of chalk paint is it’s easy to clean up. After a paint job, you can easily clean your brushes with just soap and water. With other paints like oil paint, you often need to soak brushes in mineral spirits to remove paint from the brushes. 

However, it begs the question of whether chalk paint can be easily washed off your furniture. Cleaning your chalk-painted furniture without accidentally removing or ruining your chalk-painted furniture is key. 

In this post, we’ll cover the key tips for washing and protecting your chalk-painted furniture. 


Since chalk paint on its own lacks the durability of other paints, it can be washed off a surface with soap and water. That’s why it’s important to protect chalk-painted surfaces with a top coat. A Wax, polyurethane or polycrylic top coat can prevent chalk paint from easily being washed off.

Is chalk paint washable?

Chalk paint is a water-based paint, meaning you can easily wash it off any surface with soap, water, and a bit of elbow grease. This makes it easy to remove chalk paint from the clothing, carpet, or any other surfaces that you accidentally applied chalk paint to. 

However, since chalk paint can be easily cleaned off (and even rubbed off), finished chalk paint projects are vulnerable to the regular wear and tear that life throws at them. For example, accidentally spilling a drink on chalk-painted furniture can easily ruin a chalk-painted finish. Simply brushing past a chalk-painted dresser a few times can be enough to rub off a layer of chalk paint. 

That’s why it’s important to protect your chalk paint finish with a top coat of wax, polyurethane, varnish or polycrylic. A top coat essentially acts as a barrier that shields your paint finish from moisture, scuffing, and other damage. 

Related: How to Make Calcium Carbonate Chalk Paint

How to protect chalk paint furniture

To protect chalk paint furniture, top it off with a coat of wax, polyurethane, polycrylic, or varnish. A top coat will protect your paint from the elements, wear and tear, and natural distressing.

Wax is without a doubt the most popular way to protect chalk-painted furniture. After all, wax is a flat finish that compliments the lovely matte sheen of chalk paint. To preserve chalk paint’s matte finish, people often avoid satin or glossy finishes. 

To apply wax to chalk paint, use a rag or round bristle brush. Dab the brush in the wax and gently wipe the wax onto the furniture’s surface. Make sure that every bit of paintwork is waxed.

Typically, those who use chalk paint on furniture prefer the matte look of the chalk paint. However, to achieve a glossy chalk paint finish, you can buff the wax. To do so, wait a day after applying the wax, you may buff it with a rag or polishing cloth to give it a glossy sheen.

However, wax certainly has its drawbacks. Although it looks great, it can be laborious to apply and time-consuming to maintain. It’s also not the most durable finish. Fortunately, the other finishes mentioned are much more resilient. 

Polyurethane, for instance, is a great alternative. Polyurethane is a clear liquid water-based or oil-based finish that protects chalk paint by sealing it. It’s much more durable than paint wax, which makes better suited for furniture in high-traffic areas of your house. 

This finish can come in can or spray form. Spraying your polyurethane can be more efficient, but it’s certainly messier. Applying liquid polyurethane by brush is more laborious but it’s typically a more thorough way to apply the substance. Polycrylic, which is similar to polyurethane in many ways, is another great way to protect chalk-painted furniture. 

You can also apply varnish to chalk paint. Varnish is made from resin, oil, and solvents. It’s less prone to UV light damage compared to other finishes, making it a great finish to use on outdoor furniture. 

How to wash chalk paint furniture 

If there is only a minor stain on your chalk paint surface, you may be able to wipe it off with a dry microfiber cloth. If the chalk-painted surface is protected with a layer of wax it’s important to avoid using soap and water if possible. Soap and water can wipe away the wax finish and potentially dissolve the chalk paint finish underneath to some degree.

However, some stains are severe enough that a microfiber cloth won’t cut it. Soap, water, and a bit of elbow grease are needed in some cases. 

Fill a small pale with lukewarm water and mix in a dash of dish soap. Avoid using soap that has a degreasing agent in it. 

Wet your cloth in your solution of dish soap and warm water. Wring out your cloth a bit so that it’s not sopping wet, but damp. Gently wipe down the affected area to remove the stain.

Once you have sufficiently removed the stain, use a cloth to dry this area of your furniture.

If you’ve waxed your chalk paint furniture, you may need to touch up the formerly stained area with a fresh layer of wax. 

When you may need to reapply chalk paint 

If the stain or blemish on your furniture is too widespread and sunk in too deep, just cleaning might not be enough. In such a case, you may need to sand it off and reapply chalk paint.

Sand down the area where the stain is located. Only sand enough to remove the contaminated area of chalk paint. Wipe off any excess paint dust and then paint over the area with chalk paint, ideally the same one that you used on the furniture before.

Additionally, apply the same top coat on the newly applied paint that you used on the rest of the furniture. When done well, there should be minimal difference between the recently touched-up area and the rest of the furniture. 

Consider using washable paints 

While chalk paint is easy to apply, it requires additional effort if you want to make it easy to wash if wax has been applied. Consider using another type of furniture paint. Regular latex paint is certainly more water-resistant. Other furniture paints tend to be much more durable, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally washing them off, unlike with unprotected chalk paint.

However, if you are dead set on using chalk paint, consider avoiding wax as the top coat. Defer to more durable options such as polyacrylic or polyurethane. Chalk-painted furniture is much easier to clean when it has been treated with either of these finishes. 



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