How to Remove a Toilet in 5 minutes

How to Remove a Toilet in 5 minutes

Do you want to learn how to remove a toilet before calling a plumber? Good for you! This is indeed what every homeowner should do. Having a good idea of how things work will make you a good client who can make informed decisions with your plumber when problems with your toilet come around.

On the other hand, knowing how to remove a toilet on your own could save you a lot of cash. If you are confident with your DIY skills, you can do this job on your lonesome. Armed with the right tools from Home Depot and a good amount of knowledge about the process, you sure will be able to carry out this task without the need to call a professional!


How to Remove a Toilet in Six Simple Steps

If you think removing a toilet is difficult, well, you are not so wrong about that. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Though it is way easier to hire a plumber to take on this job, below are the steps that you may follow in case you intend to replace an old toilet on your own over the weekend.

1. Drain all the water from the toilet tank and bowl

Drain all the water from the toilet tank and bowl

Before you do any of the nitty-gritty stuff of removing the toilet, you must make sure that there is no water inside the toilet tank at all. This is a necessary step to ensure that water won’t cause flooding in your bathroom as you go through the rest of the steps outlined here. 

Materials Needed:

  • Sponge
  • Mop
  • Bucket
  • A pair of rubber gloves


  • Locate the shutoff valve of your toilet. It is usually connected to the main water supply line just below the tank. Note that this line connects to the flush valve or flush handle as well.
  • Turn the shutoff valve completely off.
  • Add some cleaner, bleach, or even vinegar and baking soda solution into the toilet and flush it.
  • Use a toilet brush to remove some dirt while you are at it.
  • Flush several times until you are pretty sure that there is no more water inside the tank.
  • Wear the pair rubber gloves.
  • Using a sponge, clear the remaining water inside the toilet tank.
  • Squeeze the water absorbed by the sponge into the bucket.
  • Next, use a mop or a bigger sponge, preferably with a handle, to remove water from inside the toilet bowl.
  • Squeeze out the water until you can see nothing more in the toilet bowl.
  • Remove the rubber gloves, wash your hands, and prepare for the next steps.

2. Get the toilet ready for pulling out

Get the toilet ready for pulling out

Now that the water is gone, you should be ready to get the toilet off its mounting. Here is where you will need some of those handyman skills of yours working. These steps are not as easy as removing a toilet paper mounting so be prepared!

Materials Needed:

  • A pair of pliers
  • Flathead screwdriver


  • Adjustable wrench or basin wrench
  • Look for the mounting nut of the water supply tube.
  • Disconnect the mounting nut from the water inlet valve tailpiece.
  • Find the toilet bolt cover next, which is located at the toilet bowl’s base.
  • Pry them up using the screwdriver.
  • You will find some washers and nuts, also referred to as closet bolts, on the toilet floor.
  • Remove the closet flange bolts using a pair of appropriate pliers.

3. Remove the toilet tank

Steps to remove a toilet tank

In many cases, you may remove the toilet bowl without removing the toilet tank. But while this step is optional, it is highly recommended that you do so to make it easier for you to remove the toilet. In comparison, removing a toilet tank is way much easier than removing a water heater. So don’t be afraid of doing this extra step at all.

Materials Needed

  • Screwdriver
  • Extra-large trash bag


  • Look under the toilet tank and find the nuts and tank bolts that fasten the bowl to the tank. 
  • Using a screwdriver, carefully remove the toilet bolts from the nuts.
  • Be extra mindful of the overflow pipe and disconnect that as well.
  • Pull up the tank to disconnect it from the bowl and remove it entirely.
  • Put the tank inside the trash bag and move it out of the way.
  • Store or dispose of the toilet tank as necessary.

4. Cut the caulking around the toilet base

Cut the caulking around the toilet base

Now that that tank has been disconnected and all nuts and closet bolts fastening the toilet to the floor have been removed, you are almost done with this home improvement project. As you can see, toilet removal is not so hard after all!

Materials Needed

  • Utility knife
  • Putty Knife


  • With the closet bolts out of the way, cut the caulk that goes around the entire toilet base with a utility knife.
  • Do this very carefully so you won’t damage the tiles or the bathroom flooring.
  • Try to break the toilet seat’s bond to the wax ring by wiggling or rocking it a just little on all sides. Note that the wax ring connects the toilet to the flange.

5. Get ready to remove the toilet

Get ready to remove the toilet

Once you are done with all the steps above, congratulations! You are on to the last few steps of the process. And after doing this major step as outlined below, you can tap yourself on the back and commend yourself on a job well done. You didn’t need a plumber after all!

Materials Needed

  • Extra-large trash bag


  • With caulking completely removed, carefully lift the toilet bowl straight up.
  • Place the toilet bowl inside an extra-large trash bag because there will still be some water dripping from it as you remove it.
  • Store or dispose of the toilet bowl as needed.
  • Cover the flange where the wax ring used to be to keep unwanted elements from getting into the sewer pipes. You also don’t want sewer gas to come up from the soil pipes.

6. Clean up the area where the toilet used to be

Clean up the are where the toilet used

Cleaning is always a part of every home improvement job, and you should always keep that in mind. Now that the toilet bowl has been removed, now is the time to prepare the area for a new installation.

Materials Needed

  • Utility knife
  • Putty knife
  • Pumice stone


  • Clean up the area, especially where the old caulking used to be.
  • Aside from the caulking, you will find a wax seal around the metal fittings and toilet flange as well. Remove all these to make way for the new toilet.
  • Check for any residue or discoloration from the floor caused by hard water stains. This usually follows the outline of the old toilet and its floor bolts.
  • Clean all these markings too, using a scrub or pumice stone, whichever proves to be more useful. Doing so will make the new toilet installation flawless.

These are all the steps on how to remove a toilet that you need to follow to make this otherwise difficult task a do-it-yourself job. If you think you can pull off all these steps without the need for an expert plumber’s help, then I think you will be good with installing new toilet bowls as well.

Installing a new toilet is almost the same thing, all you really must do is repeat the process in reverse. Just don’t forget that if anything seems a tad difficult, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a master plumber. These experts are always ready to help if you find a step or two daunting or too much for your handyman skills.

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