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How to Remove a Toilet

Toilet removal might sound like a challenging task – even for a DIY plumber who has tackled numerous at-home jobs in the past. However, with the right tools and clear instructions, there's no reason you can't remove a toilet or replace it on your own if the toilet cannot be repaired.  

Tools & Supplies


  • Sponge
  • Bucket
  • Utility Knife
  • Wire Brush
  • Putty Knife
  • Wrenches
  • Hacksaw (Optional)


  • Rags
  • Newspaper

Step One: Gather Tools & Supplies for Removing a Toilet

Before beginning, ensure you have access to another toilet in case the process of removing the old toilet takes more time than you think it will or you run into some complications. Also, make arrangements for disposal of your old toilet, as some cities will not dispose of them on bulk trash pickup days. Then, set the stage for your toilet removal by laying down newspaper and rags so you have a place to set the old toilet once it's removed. In addition, gather any equipment you need to remove a toilet such as: a sponge, bucket, utility knife, stiff wire brush, hacksaw, putty knife, wrenches, ratchet wrench and sockets, and rags.

Step Two: Turn Off The Water

Turn off the toilet's water supply, then flush the toilet several times to remove the standing water from the bowl and tank. Scoop out any water that remains, and sponge both the tank and the bowl dry. If you have a wet-dry shop vacuum, you can use it instead to remove any remaining water.

Step Three: Remove The Tank From The Toilet Bowl

Remove the tank from the bottom half of the toilet. This is where a ratchet or basin wrench will come in handy. Use one to remove the nuts from the mounting bolts holding the tank onto the bowl. Place the tank on the newspaper you laid down earlier.

Step Four: Remove The Nuts & Bolts Securing The Toilet to The Floor

Use an adjustable wrench to loosen and remove the nuts from the floor bolts at the base of the toilet. If there are trim caps over the bolts, remove those first. A hacksaw can be used to cut the bolts if they won't come loose with a wrench.

Step Five: Remove The Toilet From The Floor

Take out the utility knife and use it to free the toilet from the seal holding it to the floor. There is also a wax ring that seals the bottom of the toilet to the floor underneath the bowl. Rock the toilet back and forth until it's freed from its bonds. Lift the toilet and set it on its side on the newspaper.

Step Six: Clean and Cover The Toilet Flange

Scrape wax from the broken seal on the toilet flange (which is on the floor). Do this quickly, as the flange connects to the sewer pipe, which emits a gas. Once the wax is gone, use a stiff wire brush to clean the flange and stuff an old rag into the opening of the pipe. Cover it with an inverted bucket until you're ready to install your new toilet.



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