How to paint brass bathroom fixtures

Updated February 21, 2017

If you would like to paint brass bathroom fixtures, there are two things you will need to consider before you get started. First, because brass is a slick, nonporous surface, it is not suitable for paint adhesion. You will need to etch the surface to promote adhesion before any paint will stick. In addition, there are a few preparation steps you need to take that can help to prevent messy and potentially dangerous outcomes.

Protect the countertops and the sink reservoir by coating them with masking paper. Tape down the edges of the masking paper with painter's tape. Cover the mirror behind the sink with masking paper.

Wipe down the plumbing fixtures with a rag dampened with white spirit. Allow 15 minutes for the spirits to evaporate.

Apply a light coat of PCB etch to the plumbing fixtures. Follow the application instructions that came with your can of PCB etch.

Apply a light coat of oil-based spray primer. Apply in an intermittent mist. Do not overapply by spraying in a constant fog as this may lead to runs.

Allow the primer to dry for two hours. Turn the faucet handles every 30 minutes to prevent sticking.

Apply oil-based spray paint to the faucet fixtures in the same manner as you did the primer.


You should paint brass bathroom lighting fixtures the same way you did the plumbing fixtures. However, you must turn off the power at the circuit breaker first and allow the lighting fixtures to cool, or you may risk starting a fire. PCB etch is available at paint and home-improvement stores.


Paint will not stick to brass unless it has been abraded with PCB etch first. Nitric or muriatic acid is often used to etch certain types of metal. Do not use these acids on brass as this will generate toxic fumes.

Things You'll Need

  • Blue painter's tape
  • Masking paper
  • Rags
  • Gloves
  • White spirit
  • PCB etch
  • Oil-based spray primer
  • Oil-based spray paint
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About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.