How to Paint the Wall Behind a Toilet Tank

Stevie Donald

The bathroom is one of the smallest rooms in the house, yet presents challenges because there are so many nooks and crannies to paint. The wall behind the toilet tank is usually too close to the wall to paint easily with a regular brush and roller. Read on to find out how the pros do it.

  1. Purchase a "Slim Jim" paint roller. Also called "Johnny Rollers" or simply "Toilet Rollers," they are small, long-handled rollers that can easily fit behind most toilet tanks. They are available at any paint or home supply store.

  2. Remove the toilet tank lid. To see if the roller will indeed fit behind the tank, do a dry run first by rolling down the wall before loading it up with paint. Unless the tank is extremely close to the wall, it should fit fine.

  3. Paint the area behind the toilet tank first. The roller will leave a slightly different texture on the wall than the regular paint roller. By using it first, then rolling the rest of the wall, you minimize the appearance of different roller marks. Once that area is done, check for any drips or paint smudges on the tank and wipe them off before they dry.

  4. Decide if it absolutely must be painted if the tank is too close to the wall to get behind. Chances are, if the tank is that close to the wall, nobody will be able to see the unpainted area behind it. Take the toilet tank lid off and brush as far back behind the tank as possible around all edges before rolling the rest of the wall.

  5. Remove the tank completely to paint behind it if there is no other option. Turn the water supply off where it connects at the wall. Flush the toilet to empty the tank. You may need to sop up the water at the very bottom with a sponge to remove it all. Disconnect the water line from the wall with pliers or a wrench. The tank is attached to the bowl by two bolts underneath. You will probably need to lie down on the floor to get to them. Using a wrench, remove the nuts and washers. Lift the tank straight up off the bolts and set it on an old towel or piece of carpet, paint the wall and replace the tank.


Clean the roller and keep it handy for doing wall touch up anywhere in your house. Touch-ups will blend better if rolled rather than brushed.