How to Drain a Toilet


Replacing a toilet or performing other toilet repairs requires removing all water from the tank and bowl. The job can be done with minimal mess and without a great deal of strenuous activity. Even after draining the fixture, a little residual water is still left behind, but not enough to damage floors or require a major cleanup.

Things You'll Need

  • Sponge
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Towels
  • Turn the water cutoff valve clockwise to close off the water supply to the tank. The valve is under the tank, near the wall.

  • Flush the toilet and hold the handle down, allowing as much water as possible to drain from the tank. The hole at the bottom of the tank usually has a lip around it, so up to 1/8 inch of water may be left at the bottom.

  • Sponge up the remaining water in the tank, wringing the sponge in a nearby sink. The sponge should soak up the rest of the water.

  • Fill a 5-gallon bucket with water. Hold the bucket up as high as possible and pour the contents into the bowl as quickly as you can without spilling water over the sides of the bowl. The rapid influx of water will create enough pull to drain almost all of the water from the bowl.

  • Sponge out the rest of the water from the bowl the same way you did with the tank.

  • Place towels around the bowl if you are removing the toilet. The towels will capture any residual water left behind.

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  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
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