How to Remove a Toilet

1-2 hours

Remove an old or broken toilet in 6 easy steps

Remove a Toilet

Removing a toilet is a relatively simple project that most do-it-yourselfers can tackle. Before you started, here are a couple of tips to keep in mind: ceramic toilets are heavy, so lift with your legs, not your back to avoid injury, and if possible, have someone available to help with the heavy lifting.

This guide will give you step-by-step instructions on how to remove an old toilet. If you’re installing the new toilet yourself, be sure to check out How to Replace a Toilet project video.


Disconnect both ends of the water supply tube
Disconnect ends water supply tube - Remove a Toilet

• 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
Remove toilet tank - Remove a Toilet

• 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
Unbolt toilet from floor - Remove a Toilet

• 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
Break toilet seal - Remove a Toilet

• 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
Remove old wax ring - Remove 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
Cover drain hole - Remove a 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.