How to Paint Behind a Toilet: A Step-by-Step Guide for a Perfect Finish

Bob Thomas


Painting a bathroom can be a challenging task, especially when it comes to tight spaces like behind a toilet.

As a qualified painter and decorator, I know that reaching those tricky areas can make all the difference in achieving a polished, professional look.

In this guide, I'll share my expertise and personal experiences to help you paint behind a toilet without the need to remove it.

Quick Summary

In this article, you'll find a step-by-step guide on how to paint behind a toilet. We will cover essential tools and materials, preparation, painting techniques, and cleanup. With these tips, you'll achieve a professional-looking finish without the hassle of removing the toilet.

Tools and Materials

To get started, you'll need the following tools and materials:




Mini roller

Painter's tape

Paint tray

Drop cloth


Cleaning cloth

Extension pole


Before you begin, prepare the area to ensure a clean and efficient painting process.

  1. Clean the area: Wipe down the wall behind the toilet with a cleaning cloth to remove dust, dirt, and grime.
  2. Protect the toilet: Cover the toilet with a drop cloth to prevent paint splatters.
  3. Tape off the edges: Apply painter's tape around the toilet and any other fixtures or areas you don't want to be painted.

Choose the Right Paintbrush and Roller

Selecting the right tools for the job is crucial for achieving a smooth finish.

Use a high-quality, angled paintbrush for precise application in tight spaces.

A mini roller with an extension pole can also be helpful for reaching further behind the toilet without straining.

Apply the Paint

Now that your tools and workspace are ready, it's time to start painting.

  1. Dip the paintbrush in the paint, wiping off any excess on the paint tray.
  2. Begin by painting the edges and corners behind the toilet, using the angled paintbrush for precision.
  3. Once the edges are covered, switch to the mini roller for the larger surface area. Attach the extension pole, if necessary, to reach further behind the toilet.
  4. Apply the paint in a "W" or "M" pattern for even coverage, filling in the gaps as you go.
  5. Allow the paint to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions. If needed, apply a second coat for full coverage.

Cleanup and Finishing Touches

After the paint is dry, it's time to clean up and admire your work.

  1. Carefully remove the painter's tape and drop cloth, making sure not to touch any wet paint.
  2. Clean your brushes and rollers with soap and water, then store them for future use.
  3. Check for any missed spots or uneven areas and touch up with the paintbrush, if necessary.

Personal Experience

Recently, when I painted my bathroom, I found that using an angled paintbrush and mini roller with an extension pole made painting behind the toilet a breeze. 

Frequently Asked Questions Section (FAQs)

Q. Can I remove the toilet tank to make painting behind it easier?

  A: Yes, you can remove the toilet tank to create more space for painting.

However, this process can be time-consuming and requires some plumbing knowledge.

Make sure to turn off the water supply and flush the toilet to drain the water before attempting to remove the tank.

Q. Can I use a paintbrush or roller to paint behind the toilet?

  A: Both paintbrushes and rollers can be used to paint behind a toilet, but a smaller brush or mini roller may provide better control and precision in tight spaces.

A paint edging tool or sponge paintbrush can also be helpful for reaching difficult areas.

Q. How do I protect the toilet and floor while painting?

  A: Cover the toilet with a plastic sheet or drop cloth to prevent paint splatters.

Use painter's tape to secure the edges and cover any areas you don't want to paint.

Place a drop cloth or plastic sheet on the floor to catch any paint drips.

Q. How long should I wait for the paint to dry before reassembling the toilet or using it?

  A: The drying time depends on the type of paint you're using and the humidity in the bathroom.

Generally, it's best to wait at least 24 hours for the paint to dry before reassembling the toilet or using it.

Check the paint manufacturer's instructions for specific drying times.

Q. Can I use a paint sprayer to paint behind the toilet?

  A: Although a paint sprayer can provide a smooth and even finish, it may not be the best option for painting behind a toilet due to the limited space and potential for overspray.

Stick to smaller tools like paintbrushes or mini rollers for more control in this area.


Painting behind a toilet can be a challenging task, but with the right tools, techniques, and a bit of patience, you can achieve a perfect finish.

By following this step-by-step guide, you'll not only save time and effort but also create a polished, professional-looking bathroom.

Suggested Products:

  1. Angled paintbrush: A quality angled paintbrush, like the Purdy XL Glide, can help you reach tight spaces behind the toilet. Its angled bristles make it easier to apply paint evenly without accidentally touching the toilet or the wall.
  2. Mini paint roller: A mini paint roller, such as the Wooster Pro Mini Roller, allows you to apply paint in narrow spaces quickly and efficiently. Its compact size makes it perfect for painting behind the toilet without causing a mess.
  3. Paint edging tool: The Shur-Line Paint Edger is a handy tool for achieving clean, sharp edges when painting behind a toilet. Its unique design helps keep paint off unwanted surfaces and ensures a professional-looking finish.
  4. Painter's tape: ScotchBlue Painter's Tape is a reliable choice for protecting surfaces while painting behind a toilet. Its strong adhesive keeps it in place, and it can be easily removed without leaving residue or damaging the surface.
  5. Drop cloth: The Trimaco SuperTuff Canvas Drop Cloth provides excellent protection for your floors and toilet while painting. Its durable material prevents paint from seeping through, and it's reusable for multiple painting projects.
  6. Quality bathroom paint: A durable bathroom paint like Benjamin Moore Aura Bath & Spa resists moisture, mildew, and stains, ensuring a long-lasting, professional finish when painting behind a toilet. Its low-odor formula makes it suitable for use in confined spaces.

About the author 

Bob Thomas

A fully certified interior decorator and house painter , Bob Thomas brings immense expertise and knowledge amassed from many years of hands-on experience with residential, commercial and specialty painting and decorating projects of all sizes and scopes.

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