How to Paint Behind a Toilet

How to Paint Behind a Toilet

You wanted to renovate your bathroom and you’ve got all the tools, materials, and fixtures needed. Everything seems to be running smoothly until you realize one thing. It is very difficult to paint the wall behind your toilet! What more if you are planning to use wallpaper.

If you have arrived here looking for tips and tricks on how to paint behind a toilet, you are at the right place. We have in here everything that you need to know, outlined in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step process. Now, you can about this bathroom paint job with full confidence and without breaking a sweat!


How to Paint Behind a Toilet like a Pro

How to Paint Behind a Toilet like a Pro

Don’t be daunted by that very little space behind the toilet. It is indeed cramped and tight space, but you need to paint that area just the same. While it does seem impossible to paint that bathroom wall behind the toilet, the experts have already worked out a solution for this. In fact, we will show you at least seven ways on how to paint behind a toilet. 

However, before you start or do any of the methods below, be sure that you clean the entire toilet area first. You should also do some paint prep work. Realize that painting can be very messy, so be extra careful not to drip paint onto the floor. And oh, don’t forget to clean up again after you’re done with all the steps!

First thing’s first, cover the bathroom floor first with a plastic wrap. Make sure that all bathroom accessories and fixtures are covered as well. Put painter’s tape on the necessary places too. This will keep your lines straight and your interior paint right on track.

Don’t forget to ventilate the entire area as well. Some paint may emit odors that may cause suffocation and a ton of health issues. Open the doors and windows, if any, including the ones in the next room. Pull back the shower curtain or take it off entirely, if needed. After doing all these, you should be ready to paint behind a toilet!

The Paint Brush Method

Use small pain brush paint behind toilet

This is by far the most common way of painting the bathroom wall behind the toilet. So, it follows that you must try this method first. Rummage through your garage and look for the smallest paintbrush that you own, preferably those that are one inch thick or less.

Materials Needed

  • Small paint brush
  • Pole or stick


  • Tie the paintbrush to the end of the pole or stick.
  • Cover the toilet tank with a garbage bag so you won’t accidentally put some paint on it.
  • Make sure to seal all edges with tape.
  • Pry the brush into the space between the toilet and wall then start painting back and forth.
  • Don’t worry about the texture or how it looks as that won’t be seen by anyone walking into your bathroom anyway.
  • Just make sure that you are making it look perfect from the sides and you’re all set.

The Sponge Brush Method

The Sponge Brush Method paint behind toilet

This method would work if your toilet were at least two inches away from the wall. While this special type of brushes that are available from the store seem to be thin enough to fit into those tight spaces, you will need that much clearance to flawlessly paint the wall behind the toilet using this tool.

Materials Need

  • A few sponge brushes
  • Paint Tint
  • Paint Primer


  • Put some paint, the primer first, on one side of the sponge brush.
  • Using the brush, apply the paint evenly to the wall behind the toilet.
  • You may start painting from the middle and then toward the sides.
  • Repeat the process, this time with the gloss or matte paint tint that you want for your bathroom, until the wall is fully covered.

The Mini Roller Method

The Mini Roller Method paint behind toilet

If your toilet is only an inch away from the wall and a sponge brush can’t possibly fit, then a small roller probably could. Mini rollers are easily available from the store, and they come in different lengths too. Get the one that would work best with your bathroom and toilet setup.

Materials Needed

  • Mini or small roller
  • Paint pad or roller pad
  • Roller tray or paint tray
  • Drop cloth
  • Painters tape
  • Paint color of your choice
  • Paint primer


  • Cover the toilet, more particularly the water tank, with plastic or garbage bag to protect it from paint splatters.
  • Pour some paint onto the tray.
  • Dip the roller into the paint and roll it dry to prevent dripping.
  • Paint the wall behind the toilet.
  • Reach in as far as you can with the mini roller and start painting.
  • Cover the entire area and apply as many coating as needed.

Use Specialty Painting Products

Did you know that there are special tools that are designed to paint behind the toilet? If you have access to these products, you may give them a try. A good example is the Jimmy Sponge Stix. Note that if the stick can fit between the clearance, which is possibly less than an inch, then this method will work. Otherwise, you may skip to the next method as it may work better for you.

Materials Needed

  • Jimmy Sponge Stix
  • Conventional paint roller
  • Paint tint and primer
  • Purchase the product online or from specialty stores like Home Depot.
  • Apply paint on the right side of the sponge using a regular paint roller.
  • Run the sponge stick between the wall and the toilet tank.
  • The sponge stick serves as the brush, and you may possibly move it sideways.
  • Repeat the process until you are satisfied with the paintwork.

The Stick and Rag Method

The Stick and Rag Method to paint behind toilet

In case the sponge brush or the mini roller from the store still fails to do the trick, here is a method that won’t require any special tools or purchases. You may easily find the materials you need for this clever method right inside the garage.

Materials Needed

  • Long stick
  • Piece of rag


  • Tie a small piece of rag around the tip of the long stick.
  • Make sure that the stick you are using can get between the water tank and the wall.
  • Cover the toilet tank with a garbage bag to protect it from excess paint that may possibly touch the sides.
  • Tape the sides of the bag so that it will stay in place as you paint.
  • Dip the end of the stick with the rag into the paint.
  • Gather just enough paint or the rag will drip and cause a lot of mess.
  • Insert the stick into the space between the toilet tank and the wall and slide it back and forth.
  • Repeat the process until the whole area is covered.

The Paint Swipe Method

The Paint Swipe Method paint behind toilet

Here is yet another creative way to get to that out-of-reach area and paint behind the toilet. A paint swipe is but a DIY painting tool made of cloth and cardboard. Below are the simple steps on how you easily can make one.

Materials Needed

  • Cloth
  • Cardboard
  • Tape
  • Wire Coat Hanger


  • Cut the cardboard into a 3-inch square.
  • Attach a piece of cloth to it, covering it fully.
  • Make sure that the cloth is fastened securely to the cardboard with tape. This will serve as the paint swipe.
  • Attach the paint swipe to the hook end of the hanger using the tape.
  • Dip the paint swipe into the paint.
  • Hold onto the two ends of the hanger and use the paint swipe to apply paint onto the wall behind the toilet.
  • Carefully drop the swipe to paint behind the tank.
  • Try to use it like you would a paint roller.
  • Do not soak it into the paint too much or it will drip.
  • Wrap the tank with a trash bag to avoid accidents while painting.
  • Apply several coats as needed.

Removing the Toilet Tank Method

If all else fails and you still find it difficult to paint behind the toilet, it would be best to remove the tank and make everything easier for you. But then again, use this method if and only if you find no other solution. Removing the toilet tank just so you can paint behind bathroom walls is not an easy feat. Here is how you do it.

Materials Needed

  • Wrench
  • Pliers
  • Paintbrush


  • Turn off the water source into the toilet or even to the entire bathroom, if possible.
  • Look for the shutoff valve that is attached to the wall near the foot of the toilet.
  • Flush the toilet several times to remove all water from the tank.
  • Once the tank is empty, unscrew the hose that connects to the water tank.
  • Lift the toilet tank lid.
  • Find the toilet bolts and nuts that connect the toilet tank to the bowl.
  • Unscrew the tank bolts.
  • Carefully lift the toilet tank and place it inside a trash bag to protect it.
  • Remove the toilet seat as well.
  • Now that the wall behind the toilet is clear of obstructions, you may now paint it as needed. You may a use traditional paintbrush or eve a spray paint, if you want. No walls gonna stop you now!
  • Start with the primer then let it dry.
  • Then paint the wall with the best paint for your toilet.
  • Start painting again for a second coating.
  • Once the paint is dry and the wall looks perfect, prepare to put back the toilet tank.
  • Attach the tank back to the toilet bowl by doing the first few steps above but this time, in reverse.


These are the most common methods of how to paint behind a toilet. Now that you know them you may do this paint job with full confidence. Just follow these steps methodically and even Susie Ries will be impressed with your handyman skills. You may even call yourself the best painter, at least for toilets, after completing this home improvement project.

But if none of these seems to be easy way for you, then it will be best to call either a painter or a plumber to help you out. A trusted handyman could really help you out, as he will likely have both the interior painting and plumbing skills necessary to pull off this job. But then again, don’t call them without even giving it a try! Painting walls behind toilets is not too hard.

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