How to Get Rid of Old Toilet: Easy Step-by-Step Guide for Efficient Removal

Last updated on April 6, 2024

In this insightful guide, you’ll explore effective steps on how to dispose of your old toilet responsibly, with an emphasis on recycling and sustainability practices.

Key takeaways:

  • Gather necessary tools: adjustable wrenches, pliers, screwdriver, putty knife
  • Shut off water supply and drain the toilet
  • Remove the toilet tank from the bowl
  • Pry off bolt caps, loosen nuts, rock the bowl to break wax seal
  • Plug the open drain until the new toilet is installed.
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How to Remove a Toilet

Embarking on the task of removing an old toilet may seem daunting, but with proper preparation, it can be done effectively with minimal fuss. Start by assembling the necessary tools: adjustable wrenches, a pair of pliers, a screwdriver, a putty knife, and perhaps a helping hand if available.

Next, ensure you shut off the water supply to the toilet to prevent any unexpected geysers. This is typically done at the shut-off valve located near the base of the toilet. Once the water is off, flush the toilet to drain the remaining water from the tank and bowl. Any residual water can be mopped up with a sponge or towel.

Proceed to disconnect the water supply line then focus on detaching the toilet tank. This is often secured to the bowl with bolts, which you’ll need to unbolt. Carefully lift the tank off the bowl and set it aside – it’s heavy, so remember to lift with your knees!

Now, it’s all about the bowl. Start by prying off the bolt caps at the base and loosening the nuts. This could require some elbow grease, as these bolts can be corroded. Once the nuts are removed, gently rock the bowl to break the wax seal and lift it off the floor. If it’s particularly stubborn, a gentle tap with a rubber mallet can help dislodge it.

And there you have it! Your old toilet is removed, and you’re ready for disposal or replacement. Remember to plug the open drain with a rag to prevent sewer gases from entering your home until the new toilet is installed.

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Step 1: Gather Your Tools

Embarking on your toilet removal adventure requires equipping yourself with the right arsenal. You’ll need an adjustable wrench for tackling bolts, a pair of pliers for any unexpected twist-and-turn operations, and a screwdriver, preferably with multiple head options for versatility. A sponge or a towel comes in handy to sop up residual water in the tank and bowl. Make sure you have a bucket nearby to catch any drips or spills during the process. Lastly, a pair of sturdy gloves can protect your hands and provide a better grip on slick porcelain. These essentials will set the foundation for a smooth de-installation process.

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Step 2: Shut Off and Drain Toilet Water

Before getting your hands dirty, it’s time to tackle the water. Locate the toilet’s shut-off valve, typically found near the floor behind the bowl. Turn it clockwise to stop the water supply.

Once the flow is halted, flush the toilet to drain the remaining water from the tank and bowl. Don’t be surprised if one flush isn’t enough—an extra bucket of water poured into the bowl can help clear out any leftovers.

Absorb remaining droplets with a sponge or towel to ensure a dry work area, minimizing mess and preventing water from spilling onto your floor as you proceed.

With the water out of the picture, you’re one step closer to a successful toilet removal.

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Step 3: Remove Toilet Tank From the Bowl

With the water supply shut off and the tank drained, it’s time to separate the tank from the bowl. Begin by locating the bolts at the bottom of the tank. They’re usually covered by plastic caps which you can pop off with a flathead screwdriver to reveal the nuts underneath. Using an adjustable wrench or a pair of locking pliers, hold the bolt head inside the tank steady and unscrew the nuts from the underside.

In cases of corrosion, these nuts might be difficult to remove. Apply a penetrating oil to help loosen them, and if necessary, employ a hacksaw to cut through the bolts—though exercise caution to prevent damaging the toilet’s base.

Once the bolts are removed, gently rock the tank back and forth to break the seal and lift it straight up off the bowl. It’s a good idea to have towels or a large sponge handy as there may be residual water in the tank or at the gasket that seals the tank to the toilet. Dispose of the water in a sink or another toilet.

Now that the tank is off, set it aside on a towel or old newspapers to prevent it from damaging your flooring. Be mindful, as porcelain can chip easily, and the edges where the tank has been detached can be sharp.

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What do you do with an old toilet?

An old toilet can be disposed of through curbside collection, recycling, donation, or by renting a dumpster, each option equipped with unique advantages, potential disposal fees, and restrictions.

How do you remove an unwanted toilet?

To remove an unwanted toilet, one must first unscrew the two floor bolts usually covered by plastic caps using a putty knife or screwdriver, then, using a wrench, dissasemble the washers and bolts, and finally separate the toilet bowl from the tank for easy disposal.

What are the recycling options for old porcelain toilets?

Old porcelain toilets can be recycled into various products like road aggregate and concrete, or donated for reuse if in good condition.

How can an old toilet be repurposed around the home instead of being trashed?

An old toilet can be repurposed around the home as a quirky planter for your garden, a unique bird bath, or innovative outdoor storage.

Are there any safe DIY methods to break down an old toilet for disposal?

Yes, there are safe DIY methods to break down an old toilet for disposal, including using a sledgehammer to gently break it into smaller pieces that can be recycled or safely disposed of.

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