Whitewashing, sometimes called pickling or liming, can be applied quickly and easily to give wood furnishings a distinctive appearance. It creates a wax-like coating that protects wood and brings out the luster of wood grain. Tints and dyes can be added during the whitewashing process to achieve a frosted or "French Cottage" look - info: http://www.ehow.com/how_172593_whitewash-furniture.html?ref=fuel&utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=ssp&utm_campaign=yssp_art
Read 'Tom Sawyer', follow advice listed there...Washing pillows
A good way to white washing old furniture would be to place a newspaper or old cloth below the furniture. Then, remove the exterior dirt using a dry cloth or napkin.
Next start drywashing and finally leave it to dry in the sun! :D
You might wanna have a look at some whitewashing videos if you're new to it.What does "white trash" mean?