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Can You Paint a Toilet?

If you want to refresh your bathroom and give it a bit of a refurbishment, you may be wondering if you can paint your toilet. It’s not quite like repainting the wall, is it? 

What kind of paint do you need to use when repainting a toilet, is there any prep work involved, and how long will it take? 

Let’s take a look at the steps to painting a toilet and how to choose the right type of paint. 

Can You Paint a Toilet?

Yes, you can paint a toilet. You will need an acrylic latex primer and either an epoxy paint, or spray paint and a clear epoxy top coat. 

You will need to drain, clean, sand and prime the toilet bowl, to ensure the paint sticks and lasts for at least a couple of years.

Painting a toilet isn’t too difficult a job, but it does require a fair amount of time, so make sure you don’t rush it. The paint will need to dry for a while, so make sure you have another toilet available and that you air the bathroom as well as you can, to get rid of the smell of paint. 

How to Paint a Toilet 

Painting a toilet is a straightforward task. You will need your choice of paint (more on that in a bit), some sandpaper, a brush, personal protection and something to cover the bathroom floor with. 

If you are using spray paint and painting your toilet indoors, make sure to wear a face mask to minimise the amount of fumes you inhale. Even if you are using epoxy paint, leave the door open, turn the bathroom fan on and open a window (if you have one). 

Here are the 7 steps for painting a toilet:

1 – Choose the Colour

You have two options when it comes to paint choice. You can either use an epoxy paint (which only comes in white, black and grey), or you can use spray paint and apply an epoxy top coat over it. 

Spray paint comes in every colour imaginable, so if you are looking for a vibrant hue, this will be your only choice. You can test the finish out first on a friendly wall, to make sure you get the desired finish. 

You will also need an acrylic latex primer, to ensure the paint job lasts as long as possible. 

2 – Clean the Toilet 

Before you even think about applying a drop of paint, you need to ensure the toilet is completely clean. If there is any dirt or limescale on it, the paint won’t stick. If you clean your toilet regularly, it will probably be a less time-consuming task. If not, get ready to do some scrubbing. 

Get rid of all the black streaks in the toilet and scrub below the rim. Make sure to remove all the limescale below the waterline that can get pretty stubborn, and easily ruin your paint job. 

Remove the toilet seat and scrub around the holes. A lot of gunk usually accumulates there, so give your cleaning agent some time to work. 

3 – Drain the Water

Depending on the state of your toilet, you may already have completed this step. If not, here is how you can drain all the water from the bowl:

First, turn the water supply off at the toilet tank valve. This will prevent it from refilling. Flush and make sure no water is filling the tank. Flush again if a lot of water is left in the tank. Remove any leftover water from the bowl with a towel. 

Leave the bowl to air dry for a while, before coming back in with a dry towel and wiping it again. 

4 – Sand the Toilet

Once the toilet is completely dry, you can start sanding it. 

This may seem like a weird step, but it’s actually the most important one. Since porcelain is slick and smooth, the paint won’t stick to it unless you sand it first. 

Wear a face mask while sanding the toilet, to prevent inhaling any of the tiny particles that will be flying around. Then just take the sandpaper and get to work. 

You don’t need to go overboard. A couple of strokes will be enough, but you need to make sure you’ve reached every nook, and that you’ve done a more or less even job. 

When you are done, you will be left with one very dusty toilet, so it’s time to repeat step 2: clean the toilet and make sure it is completely dry. You can vacuum away most of the dust, and use a wet cloth on the rest.

Don’t forget to let the toilet dry completely again!

5 – Apply Primer

Let me repeat that last statement: make sure the toilet is completely dry before you start priming. You can either use a hair dryer or turn the heating up if you want to speed the process up. 

Lay newspaper or plastic sheets around the toilet and tape it to the walls. Cover the bolts, handle and pipes with painter’s tape. 

Apply your coat of primer and let it dry. Make sure the bathroom is very well ventilated. Bring a fan in, open all the doors and windows. 

In theory, you can remove the toilet, paint it outside and bring it back in, but that is a much more complicated process than the one I’m suggesting, so only consider it if you know how to re-fit a toilet. 

6 – Paint 

Make sure the toilet is dry before you go in with the paint. If you are using an epoxy paint, follow the directions on the packaging and use a paint brush to apply. 

If you are using spray paint, use even strokes and make sure you’ve covered a wider area with plastic wrap or toilet paper, as a lot of it will end up around the toilet. 

You may need to apply two coats of paint. If that is the case, leave the first coat to completely dry before going in with the second one. The same applies for the top coat: let the paint dry completely before you apply it. Remember you only need a top coat if you’ve used spray paint. 

7 – Refill With Water and Clean

Before you refill your toilet, make sure the paint (and top coat) are completely dry. Ideally, leave it at least overnight, but you may want to give it even longer, if at all possible. 

Once you are sure the toilet is dry, clean up any mess you may have made and turn the water supply back on. Refill your tank, flush the toilet and marvel at your handiwork. 

How to Paint a Stained Toilet Bowl

If your toilet bowl is stained, you want to do your best to get rid of as much of the stain as possible before painting. However, since there are some stains you simply won’t be able to remove, do the following when painting your toilet. The steps are practically the same as when painting a stain-free toilet, but with a twist:

  • Clean your toilet, paying special attention to under the rim and the streaks that are formed when you flush. 
  • Drain the bowl, shut off the water supply to the tank and dry the toilet completely. 
  • Sand the toilet and clean up all the dust. 
  • Apply an acrylic latex primer. 
  • Paint the toilet: you will have to use an epoxy paint over the stain, so you’ll only have the choice of white as a colour. You don’t need a top coat.
  • Let it dry and refill your toilet tank, then flush. 

While you won’t be able to paint your stained toilet a bright orange for example, you can still give it a new lease on life and make it look more attractive with an epoxy paint. 

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On a Toilet?

You can use either an epoxy paint or spray paint on a toilet. You will also need an acrylic latex primer, and an epoxy top coat if you are using spray paint. 

Epoxy paint is water-based and durable, and will give your toilet a great protective coat. However, it only comes in white, grey and black, so if you want to paint your toilet any different colour, you will need to use spray paint. 

If you are using spray paint, you need to apply a layer of epoxy coating over it to protect it from moisture. This will mean more work and prolonged drying times, but it’s a small price to pay for a custom toilet. 

Can You Paint a Stained Toilet Bowl?

Yes, you can paint a stained toilet bowl, but only with an epoxy paint. You shouldn’t use spray paint on it, as it won’t apply evenly and you won’t be happy with the result.

The epoxy paint will partly cover the stain and give your toilet some shine and brightness. 

Can You Paint a Toilet Seat?

Yes, you can paint a toilet seat. If it’s made of porcelain, you will need to clean, sand, prime and paint it just like you would a porcelain toilet. If it’s plastic, you can paint over it and add an epoxy top coat. 

If you are into DIY projects and want to paint your toilet seat in an unusual colour or pattern, by all means, do it. However, you may find that there is a toilet seat available on the market that matches your vision. 

If you are buying a new one, remember that toilet seats are not universal, so double-check that it fits. 

Can You Repaint the Inside Of a Toilet Bowl?

Yes, you can repaint the inside of a toilet bowl. Drain it, clean it, sand it and apply a primer. If you are using spray paint, you will also need an epoxy top coat. 

If you are just painting the inside of your probably white toilet bowl, use an epoxy paint, as it’s more durable. You won’t need a top coat, but you will need a coat of primer. 

Can You Paint a Ceramic Toilet Bowl?

You can paint a ceramic toilet bowl at home, by using either epoxy paint or spray paint. You will also need an acrylic latex primer, and an epoxy top coat if you are using spray paint. 

In order for the paint to adhere to the ceramic, you will need to sand it first, otherwise the paint will have nothing to stick to. 

Wrapping It Up 

You can easily paint your toilet bowl yourself. If you just want to freshen it up, a coat of white epoxy paint will do the trick. If you want to make it colourful, you can use spray paint and cover it with an epoxy top coat. 


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