Old Wives’ Tale, or Brilliant Hack: Why Are People Painting Their Porch Ceilings Blue?

Have you ever noticed the ceiling of some porches painted a pale blue color? This old southern tradition has gone mainstream, and the popularity of blue porch ceilings is on the rise. If you need help warding off evil spirits, mosquitoes, wasps, nighttime, or other pests… read on.


Evil Spirits, Be Gone!

Yes, a sky blue ceiling may look nice… but it may also be practical! While it’s rooted in a superstitious southern tradition, “haint blue” painted ceilings are said to ward off spirits, or haints, that are said to be unable to cross bodies of water. Better to be safe than sorry, right?



Mosquitoes, Wasps and Bees, OH MY!

Most think simply painting their porch ceiling blue will trick pests into thinking it’s the sky – and that that alone will prevent them from building nests… but there might actually be some science behind why certain paint deters insects. Back in the day, milk paints with lye mixed in were used on houses. Lye is known to repel insects, and with regular maintenance, a new coat of paint with fresh lye every few years was enough to renew the pest control contract. This practice has even been extended to outdoor trim and shutters to prevent nesting elsewhere on the home.



Into the Night

Victorian style houses are typically multi-colored, adding to their charm. Oftentimes blue is used on the ceiling of wrap around porches to resemble the sky. This gives a beautiful effect at dusk as the sun goes down – extending the blue sky just a little while longer – it’s said to keep darkness, and nighttime, at bay.

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6 thoughts on “Old Wives’ Tale, or Brilliant Hack: Why Are People Painting Their Porch Ceilings Blue?”

  1. Next time my porch gets painted I’m going to paint the ceiling sky blue and see if the wasps stay away

    1. Thanks for reading, Sharon – let us know how that goes! We’re curious to hear more testimonials to determine if this is fact or fun fiction. Either way, it’ll look fantastic 🙂

    2. Sharon:
      The lye was in the old milk paint.
      I don’t think current day latex paint has lye in it.
      Hope this helps

  2. Very interesting read Dan/Window Genie. Thanks for the lesson! We couldn’t agree more about Five Star Painting – they do a great job as does Window Genie.

  3. They are painted blue to represent the clear blue skies. You can step outside at any time of day no matter what the weather and see blue sky

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