Under 2 hours
If you need to replace an old toilet, repair a toilet flange or install new bathroom flooring, you’ll need to know how to remove a toilet. Removing a toilet is a relatively simple project that most DIYers can tackle either alone or with a helper. This guide will give you step-by-step instructions on how to remove a toilet.
Safety Tip: Ceramic toilets are heavy, so lift with your legs, not your back, to avoid injury. If possible, have someone help you with the heavy lifting.
Disconnect the Toilet Connector
Whether you are replacing a leaking toilet or temporarily removing a toilet for bathroom renovations, the first step is to drain the water from it.
- Turn off the water supply at the shut-off valve. Usually, the shutoff valve is on the wall behind the toilet, although it could be installed on the floor instead.
- Flush the toilet as many times as needed to empty the tank and bowl.
- Sponge dry the excess water from both the tank and bowl.
- Disconnect the toilet connector tube at the shutoff valve. Have a bucket or towel nearby to collect any standing water that may drain from the line.
- Disconnect the toilet connector tube at the toilet tank.
Remove the Toilet Tank
If you have a two-piece toilet, separate and remove the toilet tank. If you have a one-piece toilet, skip ahead to the next step that will tell you how to remove a toilet bowl. Here’s how to remove a toilet tank:
- The tank is held onto the bowl with mounting bolts. There will be two or three mounting bolts: one on each side of the tank and sometimes one in the middle.
- Use a ratchet wrench or a basin wrench to remove the nuts from the mounting bolts.
- Lift the tank carefully off the bowl. Place it on a towel where it won't be in the way.
Unbolt the Toilet from the Floor
- If necessary, pry off the trim caps on the floor bolts using a screwdriver.
- Remove the nuts from the floor bolts with an adjustable wrench. You may be able to unscrew some floor bolt nuts by hand.
- If the nuts won’t unscrew easily, try spraying them with penetrating oil. If that doesn't work, you may have to cut the bolts with a hacksaw or split the nuts with a nut splitter.
Break the Toilet Seal
- Straddle the toilet and gently rock it side to side to break the seal.
- Lift the bowl and lay it on its side on a towel out of the way. Have a partner help you with this step if needed.
Remove the Old Wax Ring
- Scrape away the old wax from the toilet flange and the bottom of the toilet with a paint scraper. Throw away the old wax into a bucket lined with a plastic bag.
- Clean the flange and horn with a stiff wire brush.
Tip: This is a good time to inspect the toilet flange to see if it also needs to be removed and replaced. The flange should be in good condition and undamaged.
Cover the Drain Hole & Dispose of the Old Toilet
- Stuff a rag into the drain hole to prevent sewer gas from seeping into your home.
- Cover the flange and rag with an inverted bucket for the time being.
You have a couple of options for what to do with old toilets:
- Call your local trash services or visit their website to see if they will pick up your old toilet from your curbside. Note that you may need to remove the toilet’s non-porcelain parts and dispose of them separately.
- Drop off the old toilet at your city’s landfill.
- Drop off the old toilet at a local recycling center that accepts porcelain. Your local water authority may have recommendations for recycling centers that will take your toilet.
- If your old toilet is in good working order, contact a local charity that accepts and reuses donated building materials. Many charities of this type can help arrange pickup and transportation of the toilet for you.
Now that you know how to remove a toilet yourself, you can easily install a new toilet or work on other bathroom renovations at your convenience. Consider contacting our toilet installation services to have a professional replace your toilet for you. For even more bathroom renovation projects, contact our plumbing services.
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