How to paint around a toilet

Have you ever painted a bathroom?

Painting around the toilet is a serious pain in the you-know-what!

Here’s an easy quick tip that saves loads of time and your sanity.

Remove the toilet lid, take a kitchen garbage bag and put it over the entire tank, then tape it in place.


Now when you cut in around the toilet you don’t have to worry about getting paint all over the tank. When you are done, let the paint dry completely, then rip the bag off and throw it away.


Don’t you wish all annoying stuff could have such an easy solution?


And for your pinning pleasure, here’s a pin-worthy image I created just for you! 🙂


Edited to add: the paint color is Route 66 by Dutch Boy.

Edited to add: I don’t paint behind the toilet. I paint around the toilet as far back as the brush will reach. No one can see back there anyway, so does it really need to be painted?

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  1. ok seriously this is the smartest thing ever, and it seems so simple. I could have used this before, but I will so do it next time.

  2. Let’s talk about A. How cool this tip is, your a genius!
    B. How awesome you are for creating a sweet pin ready to go on pinterest!? Love it, and pinned!

  3. Timely! We will be painting our bathroom in the next few weeks once we have drywall installed (we’re in the middle of a major reno right now!!).

  4. This is so simple and so brilliant. And way easier than painting and then scraping off the paint on the toilet with a straight edge. 🙂

  5. OK… this tip could very well be the best tip I have come across. Lots of good tips out there, but I actually DO paint behind toilets so I really COULD use this one.


  6. Great idea! I wish hubs had done this a couple of days ago when he painted the bathroom! I have to go scape paint now…

  7. This is BRILLIANT!!!!!!! I have so many paint colors on the back of my toilet. So doing this next time. Thank you!

  8. Allison! Had to tell ya I hired a friend to paint some rooms for me (yeah, I’m lazy like that, but she was very reasonable!) and she did the kids’ rooms – did a perfect job. Even my perfectionist hubby who takes hours and hours and hours and hours to paint was impressed. So. I hired her to paint 2 bathrooms. We used a tan color and a green color. And she didn’t know this trick, apparently. What a mess behind the tank!!! And. I spent hours scraping these tiny, tiny spatter dots off the entire toilet. Made my toilets look *ahem* dirty :p

  9. We’re finishing up our total bathroom remodel. I love your bag trick – but I’ve got one better for you! We just tiled up behind the toilet so I never have to paint it at all! Not too big of a deal since we were already tiling the entire shower and floor, and it will be BEAUTIFUL for the future!

  10. I’ll be doing some bathroom painting soon so thanks for the tip!

  11. I can’t believe all the times I have painted in the bathroom and I have never thought of this– thanks!!! I always cover the toilet with newspaper but your idea is so much better. Thanks for sharing.

  12. What is that nice wall color?

  13. That is an awesome idea! Thanks for the tip!

  14. Pshhh! I needed this tip a few weeks ago when I re-painted all three bathrooms…’s brilliant!

  15. Now, how do I actually paint behind the toilet?

  16. I love the “pinnable ” pic, hahaha!! what a great idea!!

    love K

  17. … this is exactly how I do it too!! Love genius minds!! (Ever flushed the toilet with it on … sucks the bag in … kind of funny! Only did it once … oops!) Thanks for sharing such a simple piece of advice!! 🙂 Christy

  18. Ummmm…..I’m officially dubbing you a sheer freaking genius!!!! This will be sooooooo handy when I get to work on our bathroom when I get home from Blissdom! Holla! xoxo

  19. okay, so you’re a genius. I never thought of that…so that makes you smart and clever. Well done.

  20. Even though this is an very clever idea why not just take the tank off? Its pretty simple. Shut the water off, soak up the excess and un-do the screws at the base of the tank. Tada!

  21. Guess I’m a perfectionist. 🙂 I lift the toilet. It’s a good chance to change out the wax ring, too!

    • My wife came up with an even better way. Use a swiffer pad with duct tape on each end for a handle, then dip it in paint and swipe it behind the toilet (with the bag on the toilet). Worked great, we had about 1/4 inch clearance. We needed to paint behind it because the previous owner didn’t paint that section and the wall got water in it and there was mold. The new wall area had no paint on it at all. We had forgotten to do his BEFORE installing the toilet.

  22. one lady I read about used the trash bag trick as well,
    But instead of taping it down, she painted on the bag area that was face up on the lid and then
    Turned the bag towards the wall behind the tank and used her hands inside the bag
    To press that painted area onto the wall behind the toilet!

  23. Wow! Thank you for this tip!

    I am using this for a small wall hung cabinet, hanging on my living room wall, a little bigger than the toilet tank. It is a locked oak and glass cablinet with meaningful Hummels that were given to me. I have put off painting the living room because the cabinet lock is jammed shut and won’t unlock for anything. I’ve been afraid to take down the cabinet from the wall because I don’t want the Hummels to break. I could break the glass to get in but don’t want to do that yet. This tip will help me get those walls painted finally. Thank you


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