How to Remove and Replace a Toilet


Replacing a toilet is one home improvement project many DIYers can tackle. With some basic tools and a little know-how, you can remove and replace a toilet yourself, saving the cost of hiring a plumber. This guide will walk you through the entire process of How to Remove and Replace a Toilet step-by-step.

Gather Tools and Materials

Before starting any project, it’s important to have the right tools and materials on hand. Here’s what you’ll need to remove and replace a toilet:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Channel lock pliers
  • Putty knife
  • Rag
  • Bucket
  • Safety glasses
  • New wax ring/seal
  • New toilet bolts
  • Teflon tape
  • Towels or rags

Make sure you have all of these items ready before turning off the water supply and beginning work. You’ll also want to purchase a new toilet ahead of time that fits the bathroom space and your needs.

Turn Off Water Supply

The first step in How to Remove and Replace a Toilet is turning off the water supply. There should be a shut-off valve behind the toilet or along the baseboard. Turn it clockwise all the way to turn off the water.

Flush the toilet to empty the tank and bowl. Use a rag or small bucket to remove any remaining water in the tank or bowl. Disconnect and detach the water supply line from the toilet. You may need channel locks to loosen the coupling nut.

Place towels around the toilet base to soak up any additional water and protect the floor.

Remove Old Toilet

With the water supply off, you can start removing the old toilet. Use a putty knife to scrape away the old wax from around the porcelain base. Take your time removing all of the old wax.

Once the wax seal is cleared, disconnect the bolts securing the toilet to the floor using your adjustable wrench. Hold the nuts under the bowl with your wrench and loosen the bolts.

Rock the bowl gently side-to-side to help break the seal. Carefully lift the old toilet straight up and off the bolts and flange. Place it upside down on top of a towel or tarp to prevent scratching.

Thoroughly clean the floor area around the flange with your putty knife and rag. Remove all old wax, buildup, and debris. The area must be clean for the new wax ring to seal properly.

Install New Toilet

With the old toilet removed and the area cleaned, you can move on to How to Remove and Replace a Toilet by installing the new model.

Start by inserting new bolts into the empty flange, pointing straight up. Slide a new wax ring seal over the bolts and around the flange. Gently lower the bowl onto the bolts and seal.

Rock it slightly side-to-side to adhere and shape the wax ring. Re-install the washers and nuts under the bowl. Tighten them alternately with your wrench to secure the bowl evenly. Don’t overtighten or you may crack the porcelain. The bolts should be snug.

If needed, cut the supply line to fit with your adjustable wrench. Wrap the threads in Teflon tape and connect it to the toilet tank, tightening with your wrench.

Turn on the shut-off valve to restore water supply. Flush several times and check for any leaks. Tighten connections if needed. Install the new seat, tank lid, and any other accessories.

Your new toilet is now installed! Be sure to clean up any excess wax, tools, and debris. Consider caulking around the new toilet base for an extra seal.

FAQs about How to Remove and Replace a Toilet

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about How to Remove and Replace a Toilet:

How do I remove the old wax ring?

Use a plastic putty knife to carefully scrape away the old wax ring. Take your time and work it off gradually to avoid damaging the flange. Removing all traces of old wax is essential for a good seal.

What if the flange is corroded or broken?

If the closet flange is damaged, it can prevent a proper seal. The flange may need to be replaced, which requires cutting into the floor. Consider hiring a plumber if the flange needs replacement.

How do I know which wax ring to buy?

Choose a wax ring designed specifically for toilet installation. The ring should be Approximately 1/4 inch think with a plastic or cardboard sleeve. Make sure to buy a new wax ring whenever replacing a toilet.

What if the new toilet doesn’t line up with the flange?

Use a toilet shim kit to account for any gaps or misalignment between the new bowl and flange. Shim kits include tapered plastic shims that can be stacked to adjust the toilet’s height.

Can I replace the toilet myself if I’ve never done it before?

Yes, replacing a toilet is a reasonably straightforward DIY project for a beginner. The key is turning off the water, removing the old toilet, prepping the flange, and installing the wax ring correctly before lowering the new bowl onto the bolts. Go slowly and get help lifting if needed.

How long does it take to replace a toilet?

Plan on the toilet replacement job taking 2-4 hours for someone doing it their first time. An experienced DIYer may get it done in 1-2 hours. Turning off water, removing the old toilet, prepping the site, installing the new one, and making water connections takes time.

Should I replace the supply line when installing a new toilet?

Yes, it’s recommended to install a new supply line. Use a braided stainless steel supply line. Make sure the line is long enough for the new toilet without pulling or straining.

Step-by-Step Instructions for How to Remove and Replace a Toilet

Follow these detailed steps for How to Remove and Replace a Toilet:

Supplies Needed:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Channel lock pliers
  • Putty knife
  • Bucket
  • Rag
  • Safety glasses
  • New wax seal ring
  • New bolts
  • Teflon tape
  • Towels

Removing Old Toilet

  1. Turn off water supply valve and flush toilet.
  2. Disconnect and detach supply line.
  3. Use rag or bucket to remove remaining water.
  4. Put down towels to soak up water.
  5. Scrape old wax ring off with putty knife. Remove all wax.
  6. Hold bolt nuts in place with wrench and loosen bolts.
  7. Rock toilet gently to break seal.
  8. Carefully lift toilet straight up off bolts and flange.
  9. Place upside-down on tarp or towels.
  10. Thoroughly clean flange area with putty knife and rag.

Installing New Toilet

  1. Insert new bolts in empty flange, pointing up.
  2. Slide new wax ring over bolts and flange.
  3. Lower new toilet bowl onto bolts and seal.
  4. Rock bowl side-to-side to adhere wax ring.
  5. Reinstall washers and nuts under bowl.
  6. Tighten nuts alternately with wrench.
  7. If needed, cut supply line to fit.
  8. Wrap threads in Teflon tape.
  9. Connect supply line to tank and tighten.
  10. Turn on shut-off valve and test for leaks.
  11. Install seat, lid, and accessories.
  12. Clean up any excess wax and debris.

Following these steps carefully when you How to Remove and Replace a Toilet will ensure a smooth toilet installation. Take your time and don’t rush the wax ring seating process. Have all needed supplies ready beforehand. Feel free to reference these instructions during your replacement project. Let me know if you have any other toilet installation questions!


Replacing a toilet on your own can save money over hiring a plumber. With some handy tools and basic skills, most DIYers can tackle How to Remove and Replace a Toilet. The keys are turning off the water properly, completely removing the old wax ring, prepping the closet flange, installing the wax seal for the new toilet correctly, lowering the bowl into place slowly, making secure connections, and testing for leaks. Patience and care will ensure a watertight seal and successful toilet installation. Follow these steps and suggestions, and you can confidently take on this accessible home improvement project.