How to Remove a Toilet

Disconnecting an old toilet to prepare for the installation of a new one is nothing regal. The steps to install a toilet are the reverse of removing one, so you get a practice run before connecting the new one. Clear the floor and lay an old blanket or newspaper nearby so that you can rest the parts of the toilet on the paper as you disassemble it. You’ll also need a bucket, a large sponge, rags, rubber gloves, a wrench, and a scraper.

Don’t worry about touching the water! The water in the tank is clean, and the water in the bowl is flushed out before you begin.

Follow these steps to remove an old toilet:

  1. Pour 1/4 cup of toilet bowl cleaner or household bleach into the toilet and flush it a few times.

  2. Turn off the water to the toilet and flush the toilet again, lift off the top of the tank, and set it out of the way.

  3. Mop water out of the tank with a sponge and disconnect the supply line to it at the bottom of the toilet tank.

    The toilet bowl will have a small amount of water at the bottom.

  4. Wearing rubber gloves to protect against bacteria, use a large sponge to soak up the water remaining in the bowl and squeeze it into a bucket. Continue until all the water is gone.

    You can also use a wet-dry shop vacuum to remove the water left in the bottom of a toilet.

  5. Remove the gloves and wash your hands thoroughly.

  6. Look on the underside of the toilet base where the tank rests to find the tank mounting nuts and bolts. Use a wrench to loosen and unscrew them.

    If the nuts and bolts are corroded and won’t budge with a wrench, give them a shot of WD-40 or Liquid Wrench, a spray lubricating oil. If that doesn’t loosen them, try a hacksaw, inserting the blade between the toilet base and the nut to cut through the bolts. Place masking tape on the surface of the toilet that’s near the bolts to protect the base.

  7. Find the nuts and bolts on either side of the base of the toilet that hold the toilet to the floor. (If they’re covered with plastic caps, remove the caps.) Use a wrench to loosen and unscrew the nuts.

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    If the bolts are too corroded to unscrew, remove them with a hacksaw. Keep a rag handy to wipe up any water that may seep out.

  8. Standing over the toilet bowl, gently rock it from side to side to break the seal of the wax ring; then lift it straight up and keep it level.

    Water is likely to be left in the trap, and you’ll slosh it all over your feet and the floor if you tilt the toilet. Rest the toilet on an old blanket or newspapers.

  9. Stuff an old rag in the hole in the floor, called the closet flange.

    This hole is a direct path to the soil pipe that leads to the sewer or septic system. The rag prevents sewer gases from entering your home.

  10. Find the old wax ring that sticks the base of the toilet to the floor and remove it.

  11. Use a scraper or putty knife to clean the floor of all residue.

  12. Wipe down the flange and surrounding area with a mixture of household bleach and water or use a disinfectant cleaning solution.

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