Project Guide

How to Remove a Toilet

Disconnect Both Ends Of The Water Supply Tube
Person disconnecting water supply tube with a wrench
  • When replacing a leaking toilet, first turn off the shutoff valve on the water supply line. 
  • Flush the toilet to empty the tank and bowl and sponge dry the excess water from both. 
  • Disconnect the water supply tube at the shutoff valve and at the toilet tank.
Remove the Toilet Tank
Person removing toilet tank wearing protective gear
  • Remove the nuts from the mounting bolts that hold the tank onto the bowl with a ratchet wrench or a basin wrench. There will be two or three of them - one on each side of the tank, and maybe one in the middle. 
  • Lift the tank carefully off the bowl and place it where it won't be in the way.
Unbolt the Toilet from the Floor
Person unbolting toilet from the floor
  • Pry off the trim caps on the floor bolts (if necessary) , and then remove the nuts from the floor bolts with an adjustable wrench. 
  • Try spraying the toilet bolt nuts with penetrating oil if they won't budge. 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
Close up of a broken toilet seal
  • Underneath the toilet is a wax ring that seals the bottom of the bowl to the toilet flange - that's the end of the drain pipe. 
  • Straddle the toilet and gently rock it side to side to break the seal. 
  • Lift off the bowl and lay it on its side nearby (but out of the way).
Remove the Old Wax Ring
Close up of an old wax ring underneath a toilet
  • Scrape away the old wax from the toilet flange and the bottom of the toilet with a putty knife. Throw the old wax into a bucket lined with a plastic bag. 
  • Clean the flange and horn with a stiff wire brush.
Cover the Drain Hole
A toilet drain hole covered with an old rag
  • 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.