How To Remove a Toilet

Demolished bathroom
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  • 01 of 07


    Bathroom interior with claw foot bathtub
    Marlene Ford/Getty Images

    If an old toilet is giving you frequent trouble, replacing it may be the best option. A new toilet can solve many problems and should provide years of trouble-free service. It's also a good opportunity to install a model that saves water. Removing the old toilet is the first step in replacing it with a new one. Both processes are moderately easy projects to do on your own.

    Supplies Needed:

    • Rubber gloves
    • Sponge
    • Bucket
    • Tongue-and-groove pliers
    • Flathead screwdriver
    • Utility knife
    • Putty knife
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  • 02 of 07

    Removing a Toilet: Step 1

    Turn off toilet water supply valve
    Aaron Stickley

    Shut off the water supply to the toilet by turning off the shut-off valve located on the supply pipe below the toilet tank. The valve may also be mounted on the wall behind the toilet.

    Tip: If your valve is as old as your toilet, it might be a good idea to replace it as well. Replacing the valve is easy to do while removing the toilet. If you plan to change the valve, you will have to shut off the water to the entire house.

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  • 03 of 07

    Removing a Toilet: Step 2

    Drain the toilet water with a sponge
    Aaron Stickley

    Remove all of the water from the toilet bowl and tank. Start by flushing the toilet to get the water out of the tank. Hold down the handle until the water stops draining. Remove any remaining water out of the tank and bowl, using a large sponge and bucket. Put on rubber gloves and use the sponge to soak up the water, then wring it out in the bucket. 

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  • 04 of 07

    Removing a Toilet: Step 3

    Remove toilet water supply and unscrew bolt nuts
    Aaron Stickley

    Disconnect the water supply tube from the toilet tank, using tongue-and-groove pliers to unscrew the tube's mounting nut from the tailpiece on the water inlet valve, located on the bottom left side of the tank. Remove the plastic bolt covers at the base of the toilet bowl, prying them up with a flathead screwdriver. Use pliers to remove the nuts and washers from the toilet floor bolts (called flange bolts). 

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  • 05 of 07

    Removing a Toilet: Step 4

    Cut away toilet caulking
    Aaron Stickley

    Disconnect the tank from the bowl by removing the nuts under the tank that fasten the tank to the bowl. You may need to use a screwdriver to hold the slotted heads of the bolts inside the tank in order to turn the nuts. Pull the tank up and off of the bowl to remove it.

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  • 06 of 07

    Removing a Toilet: Step 5

    Removing toilet in two pieces
    Aaron Stickley

    Cut through the layer or caulk around the base of the toilet, using a utility knife. Be careful not to damage the flooring. Wiggle the toilet from side to side to break its bond with the floor. Lift the bowl straight up and off of the flange bolts to remove the bowl.   

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  • 07 of 07

    Removing a Toilet: Step 6

    Remove toilet wax and caulking
    Aaron Stickley

    Remove all of the old caulking from the floor, using a putty knife and being careful not to damage the flooring. Also remove the wax around the toilet flange, the plastic fitting at the top of the toilet's drain pipe. You are now ready to install the new toilet.

    Tip: Keep in mind that the new toilet may have a different footprint than the old one. If the new base is smaller, you may be able to see the outline of the old toilet. Clean all residue and discoloration so the outline of the old toilet is not visible; this is easiest to do when the toilet is removed, rather than after you've installed the new toilet.