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How To Paint Behind A Toilet (The Fastest and Easiest Methods)

You’ve bought your paint, drop cloths are in place, roller and brush are ready to go, but you’ve got one big problem…How Do You Paint Behind The Toilet?

No matter how you look at it, you can’t figure out a good way to get in behind your big smelly toilet. You’re not going to remove the toilet, that’s out of the question. So how can you easily and effectively get the wall painted behind your toilet? Well, it’s easy and I’m going to tell you how!

Bathroom with walls painted behind toilet

How To Paint Behind A Toilet

Painting behind your toilet requires only a few basic tools, a little bit of prep, and just a few minutes of work. I’m going to show you how a little bit of prep, a brush, and mini roller will get the wall behind your toilet painted perfectly without missing any wall space or getting paint all over your toilet.

Tools Needed For Painting Behind A Toilet

For The Mini Roller Method

  1. Mini Roller Frame
  2. Mini Roller Pad
  3. Mini Roller Tray
  4. Small Drop Cloth
  5. Tape

For The Stick and Rag Method

  1. A paint stir stick
  2. A t-shirt rag
  3. Small Drop Cloth
  4. Tape

For Removing Your Water Tank

  1. Wrench

Method #1: The Mini Roller Method

  • Clean Around the Toilet: Wipe down the toilet and surrounding area. A clean surface ensures better paint adhesion
  • Prep Off the Toilet & Trim: Remove the water tank lid and cover the tank with a drop cloth. Use painter’s tape to protect the tank and trim.
  • Brush Around the Water Inlet Pipe: Use a 2″ cutting brush to paint around the water inlet pipe and along the trim, ensuring a clean edge.
  • Use Your Mini Roller Behind the Toilet: A 16″ mini roller frame with a 4″ roller pad makes painting behind the toilet easy and mess-free.
  • De-Prep and Cleanup: Remove the tape carefully and check for any paint on the toilet. Wipe off any spills immediately.

Method # 2: Plastic Bag Method

  • If the long mini roller method doesn’t work due to minimal clearance between the water tank and the wall, use a plastic bag.
  • Place a plastic bag between the water tank and the wall, ensuring it’s snug.
  • Secure the bag with tape to prevent movement during painting.
  • While this method may not provide a perfect texture, it’s effective for tight spaces.

Method # 3: Paint with a Rag and Stick

  • For areas too tight for a roller, wrap a rag around a thin stick and secure it with tape.
  • Dip the rag-covered stick in paint and slide it between the tank and wall to paint the area.
  • This method is slow but effective for tight spaces, although it may not leave a perfect texture.

Additional Tips

  • Ensure the last coat is completely dry to prevent rubbing off.
  • A third coat may be necessary due to the thin application of paint.
Paint Behind Toilet

Removing The Water Tank To Paint Behind A Toilet

Sometimes no matter what you do, you just can’t get the paint in behind the toilet as you’d like. 

Honestly, if there isn’t enough room to fit a mini roller or flat stir stick in between your toilet and wall, I would personally not bother painting the bathroom wall behind the toilet. In that tight of an area, no one will ever see that you didn’t paint it!

Can You Remove The Water Tank From Your Bathroom Toilet?

In these situations, the last resort is removing the water tank so that you have complete access to the wall. 

Notice, I am only suggesting that you remove the water tank. Personally, I never remove an entire toilet. I don’t want to put in a new wax ring or mess with any of that stuff. So if the water tank doesn’t separate from the bowl, this is not an option for you. 

  • Turn Off The Water: First, to remove the water tank, start by turning off the water going into the tank. There should be a valve coming out of the wall right behind the toilet. Then flush the toilet to empty the water tank. Finally, unscrew the water hose from the bottom of the water tank on the back of the toilet, this can be found typically on the left bottom side of the water tank. 
  • Detach The Tank: Next, most water tanks are attached to the bowl using two plastic blots and plastic nuts. reach directly under the two sides of the water tank and you should feel a plastic bolt and nut on either side of the tank. This is all that is holding the tank on. Unscrew both of the nuts from the bolts. Now the tank should be able to be lifted gently off of the bowl. I like to set it carefully into the bathtub in case it decides to drip some water while I am working. 
  • Paint Your Bathroom Wall Behind The Toilet: You can now go ahead and paint the wall behind the toilet. This should be very simple and the toilet bowl that is still sitting there should have plenty of clearance from the wall to not interfere with your painting. 
  • Replace and Reattach The Water Tank: Once you have completed the painting and it has had time to dry, simply place the water tank back onto the bowl making sure that each plastic bolt goes through the correct holes in the bowl. Screw the nuts back onto the bolts to tighten the tank to the bowl and re-attach the water line to the left bottom side of the tank. The last step is to turn the water back on and give the toilet a test flush to make sure everything works as it should. 

Good Luck Painting Behind Your Toilet!

As you can see, getting paint in behind your toilet is rather easy. There is no more excuses for funny looking unpainted wall spots behind the toilet in your bathroom!

When you’re done, make sure to clean your brushes properly and if you plan on painting the trim in your bathroom, check out my DIY on trim painting!

Purdy 14A770014 Jumbo Mini Roller Frame, 12 inch x 3/4 inch

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as of May 31, 2024 2:24 am


  • Paint, Equipment and Supplies
  • Manufacturer: Purdy
  • Country of manufacture: China