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How to Remove a Toilet

man removing a toilet

Removing a toilet happens in two stages: first the tank, then the bowl. The messiest part is removing the old wax ring underneath the bowl; once that's done, the job is simple. Before you disconnect the plumbing, make sure you have another toilet to use while this one is out of commission. Also, you might want to check with your local trash services to see if they pick up old toilets, or if you'll need to make special arrangements. You don't want your old toilet to become a permanent lawn decoration.

Skill Level: Beginner
  1. Step 1 Turn Off Shutoff Valve on Supply Line

    Turn Off Shutdown Valve on Supply Line

    Turn off the shutoff valve on the water supply line. Flush the toilet — that empties the tank and the bowl — then sponge them both dry. Disconnect both ends of the water supply tube at the shutoff valve and at the toilet tank.

  2. Step 2 Remove the Nuts From the Mounting Bolts

    Remove the Nuts From the Mounting Bolts

    Use a ratchet wrench or a basin wrench to remove the nuts from the mounting bolts that hold the tank onto the bowl. There will be two or three of them — one on each side of the tank, and maybe one in the middle. Carefully lift the tank off the bowl and set it where it won't be in the way.

  3. Step 3 Pry Off the Trim Caps

    Pry Off the Trim Caps

    If you still have trim caps on the floor bolts, pry them off and then remove the nuts from the floor bolts with an adjustable wrench. If the nuts won't budge, try spraying them with penetrating oil. If that doesn't work, you may have to cut the bolts with a hacksaw or split the nuts with a nut splitter.

  4. Step 4 Break the Wax Seal

    Break the Wax 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. To break the seal, you'll have to straddle the toilet and gently rock it side to side. When it's free, lift off the bowl, then lay it on its side nearby (but out of the way).

  5. Step 5 Scrape Away Old Wax

    Scrape Away Old Wax

    Use a putty knife to scrape away the old wax from the toilet flange and the bottom of the toilet. Line a bucket with a plastic bag and throw the old wax in it. Clean the flange and horn with a stiff wire brush.

  6. Step 6 Stuff a Rag in the Hole

    Stuff a Rag in the Hole

    Right about now you'll probably be smelling something pretty strong — it's sewer gas. To keep sewer gas from entering your home, stuff a rag into the hole. Cover the flange and rag with an inverted bucket for the time being.

What You Need for This Project

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