How to Repair Paint Peeling From Bathroom Walls

Updated June 26, 2017

The paint in certain areas of your home is more prone to blistering and peeling. Bathrooms commonly experience high levels of heat and humidity, increasing the risk of paint problems. Proper preparation plays a major role in a successful paint job, especially in warm, damp areas such as your bathroom.

Remove the peeling, damaged paint from your bathroom walls with a paint scraper. Break the bubbles and lift the edges of cracks and chips. Hold the handle of your scraper close to the wall to avoid gouging or scratching the surface beneath the paint.

Buff the edges of your scraped sections with fine-grit sandpaper. Using a circular motion, gently smooth down the rough perimeters until you can't feel a discernible difference between the surface of the painted portions and the scraped areas.

Mix trisodium phosphate, also called TSP, with warm water according to label instructions. Apply this solution to your walls with a soft, cellulose sponge. Scrub gently around doorjambs, light switches and other areas prone to fingerprints and stains. Rinse the TSP off your walls with clean water. Allow your bathroom walls to dry for at least 24 hours.

Brush on a stain-killing primer coat. This important product helps protect your bathroom walls from mould and mildew damage, a common cause of peeling paint in areas with high levels of humidity. Let the primer coat dry completely before painting your bathroom walls. Avoid showering or bathing in your bathroom until your primer coat cures.

Tape off any areas not intended for painting, such as door jambs, medicine cabinets, mirrors, countertops and cabinets. Using a latex paint labelled for use in kitchens and bathrooms, apply a 3- to 6-inch border of paint around taped areas. Roll larger areas of walls with a medium-nap paint roller, overlapping your painted borders by 2 to 3 inches. After your first coat dries, follow with a second coat of paint. Depending on your paint, you may need to wait a day or two before showering or creating steam in your bathroom.


Install a ceiling fan if you don't have adequate ventilation in your bathroom. Excess heat and steam can cause even the best paints to peel over time. Turn on your ceiling fan every time you bathe, allowing it to run until no moisture remains on mirrors or walls.


Use caution when painting in small, enclosed areas such as bathrooms. Avoid a build-up of paint fumes by opening windows and setting up fans when applying TSP, primer and paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint scraper
  • Sandpaper
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Water
  • Cellulose sponge
  • Stain-killing primer
  • Painter's tape
  • Brush
  • Roller
  • Paint
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About the Author

Piper Li, a professional freelance writer, began writing in 1989. Her articles appear online at Biz Mojo, Walden University and various other websites. She is the co-editor for "Kansas Women: Focus on Health." With a bachelor's degree in journalism from Mesa State, Li enjoys writing about health, horticulture and business management.