How to Paint Behind a Toilet

Toilet with the tank covered

When it’s time to redecorate your bathroom, you will need to know how to paint behind the toilet. You will quickly learn that this is the hardest spot in the bathroom to paint. There’s very little room to work back there, it’s dusty, and there are pipes to paint around. But with a little preparation and some extra care, you can get the job done.

We consulted with our friends at Five Star Painting, and they shared with us the best tools and methods for painting behind toilets. Keep reading to learn our best tips for how to paint behind a toilet:

5 Steps to Prepare to Paint Behind a Toilet

No matter which method mentioned below you end up using to paint behind your toilet, the steps you take to prep the area are the same and will ensure that your paint job looks great and stays mold-free for many years to come.

Here are five important steps that will get you ready to paint your bathroom, including behind the toilet:

  1. Remove all towels, floor mats, personal items, artwork, and shower curtains from the bathroom.
  2. Remove the toilet tank lid and cover the toilet with a large trash bag. Use masking tape to secure the bag around the base of the toilet. This will prevent paint from splashing on the toilet and save you extra clean-up steps later. Use clamps or duct tape to keep the bag pulled away from the wall. Protect the sink and counter with a drop cloth.
  3. Clean all the walls and floors with warm, soapy water. Bathrooms tend to be in dirty environments. Cleaning up all this clingy debris before you paint will prevent that fuzz from getting stuck in your wet paint. Let the walls dry completely before applying the primer.
  4. Make sure the room is adequately ventilated. If your bathroom has a window, open it. Turn on the exhaust fan. Set up another fan to make sure fresh air keeps circulating into the bathroom.
  5. Apply a coat of primer to all the walls you are painting. Primer helps the paint adhere to the surface and promotes a more consistent and longer-lasting color, so it’s worth taking the time for this extra step.

How to Paint Behind a Toilet: 4 Options

The next thing you need to do is decide the best way to paint the wall behind the toilet. Measure the space between the toilet tank and the wall to determine which of the four methods below will work best for painting behind your toilet.

Option 1: Sponge Brushes (for two-inch clearance or more)

If your toilet tank is at least a couple of inches away from the wall, you may be able to paint the wall behind the toilet with paint sponge brushes. Apply paint to only one side of the sponge, and carefully apply even layers of paint behind the toilet. Start at the middle of the tank and work your way out to the sides.

Option 2: Wooster Brush Miniroller (for one inch of clearance)

If you have only about an inch of clearance between your toilet tank and the wall, the Wooster Brush Miniroller with a 3/8-inch roller nap should do the trick. It works just like any other paint roller – it’s just much smaller. You can buy a Wooster Brush Miniroller online for less than $8.

Option 3: Jimmy Sponge Stix (for one inch of clearance)

Another good option for 1-inch-close-to-the-wall paint jobs is Jimmy Sponge Stix, which looks like a long paint stir stick with a strip of sponge running along one side. All you have to do is use a regular paint roller to apply paint to the sponge side and then carefully run the stick between the toilet tank and the wall. Jimmy Sponge Stix is ¾-inches thick, so if you don’t have at least this much clearance behind the toilet tank, this tool probably won’t work. You can get one Jimmy Sponge Stix online for about $13.

Option 4: Remove the Toilet, Then Paint

Some toilets are installed so close to the wall that there’s just no painting behind them. In this case, you will have to uninstall the toilet to paint the wall behind it, and then put the toilet back.

Mr. Rooter Can Help You Paint Behind a Toilet

When it comes to removing a toilet, it’s always a good idea to enlist the help of a professional plumber like Mr. Rooter® Plumbing.

This is a great opportunity to have your throne checked over to make sure everything is in good working order. If Mr. Rooter sees that something needs maintenance, we can quickly replace the failing part and reinstall the toilet when you’re done painting. Or you can elevate your bathroom remodel by upgrading to a new, high-efficiency toilet that we can install for you.

Whatever you decide, we will provide you with upfront, flat rate pricing and friendly, reliable service.

Want to schedule a time to paint behind a toilet with Mr. Rooter’s help? Request an estimate today.

If you’re thinking about painting your bathroom, consider splashing some new colors on the rest of your walls. We recommend Five Star Painting for interior and exterior painting services. Five Star Painting is part of Neighbourly’s community of home services providers.