How to Remove a Toilet

Last Updated On June 30, 2022
How to Remove a Toilet

Do you need to remove a toilet to replace it with a new one? Many toilets are heavy, so make sure you enlist some help. You also need to ensure that you don’t create a leak or damage your plumbing while you remove it. So let’s learn how to remove a toilet efficiently and safely. 

In this PlumbingNav guide, we will cover:

  • How to remove a toilet: what you need to know
  • Can I remove a toilet myself?
  • Five easy steps on how to remove a toilet
  • What tools and supplies do you need to take off a toilet?

What's In This Guide?

      How To Remove A Toilet: What You Need To Know

      Your toilet has two main plumbing connections: the supply line and drain. A standard ⅜” supply line brings water into the toilet tank, and a standard 3” toilet drain removes the wastewater through the toilet flange when the flapper is raised. 

      You will need to disconnect both of those connections properly. The toilet also connects to the wall or the floor with a toilet tank.

      Toilet bowls consist of porcelain or vitreous china, which can break easily.

      Another thing to note –  toilets can get heavy. Even if you don’t care about damaging the old toilet, the heavy toilet can cause damage if you drop it on the floor or in other areas of your home. 

      Why Remove a Toilet?

      In most cases, people remove a toilet when the old toilet develops an irreparable toilet leak. Use this opportunity to install a new Water Sense toilet that uses less water. 

      Alternatively, some people remove a toilet if it doesn’t match the current design aesthetic. If you plan to upgrade to a modern bathroom design, you can even consider a black toilet

      Another reason for removing a toilet that works just fine is installing a taller toilet height for an aging occupant in the home.

      Do not simply replace a toilet due to a stain. You can clean dark stains on the bottom of your toilet bowl to make it look brand new.

      Can I Remove a Toilet Myself?

      You can remove a toilet yourself as an intermediate or eager beginner DIY plumber. You do not need to enlist professional plumbing services. 

      However, when dealing with heavy toilets, you can benefit greatly from a helper. The helper will become a blessing when it comes time to pick up the toilet and carry it out to the dumpster, or the curb. 

      5 Easy Steps for How to Remove a Toilet

      Follow these 5 easy steps that guide you on toilet removal.

      Before you get started, you may want to watch the following video for a visual aid:

      Step One: Shut Off the Water and Detach Water Supply Line

      To avoid water damage and possible claim to your insurance company, shut off the water to your toilet before getting started. You can shut off the water near the toilet itself. Just look for the water supply line hose connector. Follow it to the shut-off valve on the side of the toilet or against the wall. 

      After you turn off the water, use the flush handle to remove the water in the tank.

      Next, place a bucket under the supply line to catch any remaining water in the line. Detach the water supply line.

      Step Two: Remove the Tank

      If you have a two-piece toilet, you can remove the tank before removing the rest of the toilet. Removing the toilet in two pieces means you can split the weight between two pieces. 

      To remove the tank, loosen the plastic nut or bolt that connects the tank to the bowl. Keep the bucket handy in case any water escapes.

      You should be able to remove the plastic toilet bolts with your hands. If they appear too tight, you can use a plumber’s wrench or basin wrench.

      With the bolts removed, you can lift the tank and take it to the dumpster.

      Note – if you have a one piece toilet, you will not need to do this part.

      Step Three: Remove Caps on Bottom of Toilet

      The toilet contains caps on the bottom of the toilet base. 

      You should be able to remove the caps with a flathead screwdriver. 

      If the bolts appear overly rusted thanks to corrosion and sediment buildup from hard water, you may need to use a hacksaw.

      did you know How to Remove a Toilet

      Step Four: Lift and Dispose of Toilet

      Now, you should be able to lift the toilet and remove it. You may choose to remove the toilet seat first so that it doesn’t flap around as you move the toilet.

      This is where you will need the most help, especially if you have a heavy one-piece toilet. 

      Step Five: Cover Sewer Line and Clean

      You don’t want sewer gas entering back into your home while the toilet is off. Cover the sewer pipe with a rag if this is a same-day fix. If the replacement will take longer, you can find something more permanent such as a sewer line cap

      With the toilet gone, you will notice sealant wax and other mess you couldn’t reach when you cleaned before, including toilet paper remnants and hard water stains. Use a putty knife to clean the wax ring and a strong bathroom cleaner and a toilet brush to clean the remaining mess.

      Clean thoroughly before installing a new toilet.

      What is the easiest way to remove a toilet?

      The easiest way to remove a toilet involves disconnecting it from the water line, then removing the bolts from the tank to the toilet bowl and taking it out to the dumpster in two pieces. 

      How do you drain a toilet for removal?

      To drain a toilet for removal, flush the toilet with the water turned off. 

      Use a rag to remove any excess water in the tank.

      What Tools & Supplies Do You Need to Take Off A Toilet?

      Here are some of the items you’ll need when removing a toilet, outside of the obvious disposable clothing, gloves, and rags. 

      Plumbers Wrench

      A plumber’s wrench, or adjustable wrench, is a universal plumbing tool for any DIY plumber that will contribute to this task and many others. If you don’t have a plumber’s wrench, sometimes a pair of pliers will do the trick.

      Hacksaw

      In the case of stubborn bolts, you may need a hacksaw, a manual or powered tool designed to cut through both metal and plastic plumbing fixtures, pipes, and hardware.

      Putty Knife

      A utility knife not only helps apply sealant but it can also help remove excess sealant when necessary. It’s a flat knife that isn’t especially sharpy.

      Bathroom Cleaner

      Once you remove your toilet, you’ll notice a lot of mess. You’ll want a strong and effective bathroom cleaner you can find at Home Depot to clean up the mess left behind. If you don’t want to use a chemical cleaner, you can try an all-natural pumice stone.

      New Toilet

      Naturally, you’ll want a new toilet (except in the case of complete demolition).

      Use this opportunity to get a modern black toilet or a dual flush toilet that increases the fixture’s efficiency, lowering water usage (and your water bill). Alternatively, you may choose a tankless toilet that weighs less and takes up less space.

      FAQs For How to Remove a Toilet

      Can I remove a toilet myself?

      Even beginner DIY plumbers with a can-do attitude can remove a toilet without the assistance of a professional plumber. 

      Since toilets can be heavy, it can be useful to get assistance when it comes to lifting the toilet and taking it out to the dumpster or curb, especially if it’s heavy. 

      Just because some super mom DIY plumbers can do it themselves doesn’t mean you have to! 

      What is the easiest way to remove a toilet?

      The easiest way to remove a toilet involves emptying the toilet of water, disconnecting the water supply, removing the tank, then removing the toilet bowl. Be prepared for a mess in advance!

      How do you drain a toilet for removal?

      To drain your toilet, flush it after turning off the water supply. The water from the tank will go down the toilet drain, leaving both the toilet tank and toilet bowl empty.

      What tools do you need to take off a toilet?

      Some of the tools you’ll want to remove a toilet include:

      • Plumber’s wrench
      • Hacksaw
      • Putty knife
      • Bathroom cleaner
      • New toilet

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      About Plumbing Navigator

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      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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