Can You Paint a Toilet? Make It Work in 6 Simple Steps

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What is the fastest way to give your bathroom a brand new look without spending a small fortune? The answer is “painting a toilet.”

Many homeowners would love to refresh their toilets, but they aren’t sure if that’s even doable. So can you paint a toilet? The answer is yes — you can paint your toilet. More importantly, it’s a simple project that doesn’t take more than a few hours. 

All you need to do is secure the perimeter, gather your tools, and follow our six-step toilet painting guide. Let’s check it out!

Choose Your Paint: Epoxy or Spray?

Before you start painting the toilet bowl, you need to choose the weapon of choice. It comes down to two options — epoxy or spray paint.

Epoxy Paint

Epoxy paint is a water-based, durable, and weather-resistant coating for multiple surfaces, including porcelain. It provides better adhesion and protection against corrosion while offering superior moisture barriers.

It’s a traditional toilet painting solution in three basic colors – white, grey, and black. Some people believe it’s not enough, but the truth is that the vast majority of toilets are white.

Epoxy paint gives your toilet a protective layer while making it shiny and bright.

Spray Paint

Spray paint is a type of aerosol paint that comes in an air-pressurized can. This type of painting gives you more control over colors and patterning.

It’s a modern, sleek solution that allows you to paint the inside of the toilet bowl as well as the outside —just ensure you choose a color that matches your existing bathroom decor.

That shouldn’t be a problem because your toilet is probably white, but spray paint comes in dozens of other colors. The downside of spray painting is that you still have to apply the extra layer of epoxy coating — it protects the paint from moisture.

Tools You’ll Need to Paint the Toilet

Now you understand the differences between epoxy and spray paints, so it’s time to breeze through the tools you’ll use to refresh your toilet. Here’s what you need:

  • Skin and eye protection gear (masks, goggles, gloves)
  • A pair of pliers
  • Cleaning tools (rags and cleaning products)
  • Fine sandpaper (180 grit)
  • Waterproof painters tape
  • Dry towels, sponges, and paper towels
  • Acrylic latex basecoat paint (primer)
  • Epoxy or spray paint
  • Epoxy coating (if you work with the spray)

6 Steps to Pain Your Toilet

Before you get into the painting itself, make sure to cover any exposed surfaces in your bathroom. Regardless of your paint of choice, remember to put on a protective mask before getting started. Then follow these six steps:

Step 1: Clean the Toilet Thoroughly

Painting a toilet demands perfectly clean porcelain, so grab your cleaning equipment and polish the toilet bowl. Use your favorite toilet cleaner and pour it over the bowl — use a piece of old cloth or rag to scrub the surface.

Our advice is to wear rubber gloves while working because it protects you from dirt and potentially dangerous chemicals. You can also put towels around the bowl to collect excess water while cleaning.

When you carefully polish every part of the toilet, you can rinse it and press the flush handle. It will remove rust or mineral deposits, allowing you to apply the paint with ease.

Besides that, you don’t want to deal with the toilet seat while painting, so take it off after cleaning everything. The seat has a couple of tiny bolts that you can easily unscrew with your fingers.

In case the bolts are old and stiff, use pliers to twist them counterclockwise. They will loosen instantly, so you can unscrew them and remove the toilet seat.

Step 2: Empty the Toilet

The second task is to remove water from the toilet. Now that the toilet is clean, you can stop the water flow using one of these two options:

Close the Shutoff Valve

The simple solution is to close the main water supply by twisting the shutoff valve. The shutoff valve lets the water flow to your toilet, so closing it stops the tank from filling with water.

It’s a small valve hanging on the wall behind the toilet — turn its knob clockwise until it can’t go any further. If the shutoff valve won’t shut off, use a penetrating oil like WD-40 to soften it. After that, grab the knob with pliers, and you’ll twist it easily.

Now you should flush the toilet to empty it. However, some water will still stay at the bottom of the toilet tank, so you have to remove the cover and clean it with paper towels or a sponge.

Lift the Toilet Tank Float

The second solution is to lift the tank float. It’s a ball-like element inside the toilet tank that automatically stops the water flow when it reaches a certain level. You can raise the float manually — a simple move that prevents the tank from filling.

Insert a screwdriver in the tank to keep the float up while painting. Another option is to put a bottle or even a brick inside the toilet, but be careful not to damage the plastic tank.

After that, the only thing left is to clean water from the toilet bowl. It’s easy to do it with a plastic cup, dry towels, and sponges.

PRO TIP: When you remove water from the toilet, let it dry until there is not a single droplet left in it. Ensure proper ventilation in the bathroom by opening the door and windows. You can also turn on the exhaust fan to fend off moisture. Another solution is to use a hairdryer to prevent dampness and dry the toilet. If you do that, the toilet bowl will be ready for painting in minutes. Of course, you can choose to let the toilet dry overnight instead. 

Step 3: Scrub the Toilet With Sand Paper

Now that you have your toilet all neat and clean, it’s time to make some mess with sandpaper. Put on your face mask, goggles, and rubber gloves because you’ll have to scrub the toilet with sandpaper.

You can keep the bathroom door and windows open to ventilate the place — sandpaper will form dust on the bowl’s surface, so you don’t want to breathe it in. 

This step is simple because you only need to scrub the porcelain until it becomes rough and rugged. It doesn’t require too much work as you’ll probably do it in five or ten minutes.

When you finally form a dusty surface, clean it with the rag. That way, the porcelain surface will be rough enough for painting, but the dust won’t interfere with your work.

Step 4: Start With the Primer

Congratulations, the real painting job begins! Now your goal is to apply the acrylic latex primer to the bowl surface.

Primer paint serves the purpose of providing a layer that will act as an adhesive to hold other paints on top of it. Priming also helps prevent surface deterioration like flaking, peeling, and rusting. 

Remember to protect the floor with old newspapers or carton boxes. Then, begin applying the acrylic latex primer — it won’t take you more than a few minutes to cover the entire toilet.

Step 5: Paint Your Toilet

The primer’s protective coating needs to dry before you begin painting the toilet. At the same time, you should again clean it thoroughly to remove even the slightest signs of debris, hair, or stains.

Then it’s time to apply the paint. Using a spray bottle is easy, so you only need to avoid breathing in the gas or spraying your eyes. We encourage you to wear protective gear for as long as you work in the bathroom.

Once you spray the entire bowl, remember to add the extra layer of epoxy topcoat. It is a crucial move because epoxy coating makes the toilet luminous and glittering.

For epoxy paint, use a coarse toilet brush to cover the toilet with gentle strokes. If you want your toilet shining like new again, make sure you seal the bowl with at least two layers of painting varnish.

It will take around ten minutes for the first coat to dry. After that, repeat the process and add a new layer of epoxy paint.

Step 6: Clean the Mess and Enjoy Your Toilet

After you finish painting, the only thing left is to clean the entire bathroom. Remove dirty pieces of cloth, wet towels, tools, sprays, brushes, and epoxy cans. Use your bathroom detergent to clean the floor and all other items.

After that, you can reinstall the toilet seat. It’s a simple process — screw the bolts clockwise until they fit tightly into the threaded hole. Finally, you can activate the water supply again.

If you have closed the shutoff valve, twist it counterclockwise to open the supply line. If you raised the tank float, put it back in its original position — you’ll see the water filling the toilet tank immediately.

Can You Paint a Toilet Covered With Stains? Yes!

Another thing you might be considering is to paint a toilet with lots of stains. Although it seems counterintuitive, the painting process is almost the same with a stained toilet bowl.

The only difference is that you should clean the bowl more carefully to remove hard stains from the porcelain. After that, paint a toilet using the same six steps:

  • Clean the toilet: Polish the toilet while focusing on dark stains in particular
  • Empty the toilet: Empty the tank and flush the toilet until it’s dry
  • Use sandpaper: Scrub the bowl with sandpaper to make the surface ragged
  • Apply the primer: Use the primer to apply the first coating to the porcelain
  • Paint a toilet: Apply your favorite color to the dry porcelain surface
  • Clean the toilet: Get rid of the mess and enjoy the view

The Bottom Line

So can you paint a toilet? The answer is positive, as you can paint a toilet using epoxy appliance paint or regular spray paint.

The process is straightforward, so the only concern is choosing the right color. Besides that, remember to cover the floor and wear protective gear while you work. Everything else is a matter of following the six steps we explained above.

Have fun while painting your toilet — it’s a cool DIY bathroom project!


What kind of paint can I use on a porcelain toilet?

Two types of paint are for toilets — epoxy and spray paints. Appliance epoxy paint only comes in three colors (white, black, and grey). On the other side, spray paint comes in all colors but requires an extra epoxy coating layer. 

Can I paint a toilet seat?

Yes, you can paint a toilet seat. You need to choose the right appliance epoxy spray paint, but that shouldn’t be hard since most plastic seats are white — just like the porcelain bowl. After painting, it will look like a new toilet seat.

Can I repaint the inside of a toilet bowl?

Yes, you can repaint the inside of your toilet bowl. However, be careful when choosing the color and remember to empty the toilet before doing anything.

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