How to Drain a Toilet

The first step in removing a toilet is to get as much of the water out of the tank and bowl as possible.

    1. Start by turning off the cut-off valve to the toilet.
    1. Next, flush the toilet, holding the handle down until all the water in the tank has drained out.
  1. To remove the remaining water from the bowl, fill a 5-gallon bucket with water and pour it rapidly into the bowl, lifting the bucket up as high as you can to increase the speed of the flow.

This will draw most of the water out of the bowl, making it easy to remove the little that is left.


  1. Yeah, what they are not telling you is that you will need to sponge the remaining water out of the bowl and tank. You will also need to cut the caulking that is around the bottom of the bowl and unscrew at the base.

  2. Very easy to follow video, I have never removed a toilet before and had the same question about the water in the bowl. Thank you!!

  3. faced with removing a toilet the other day, first a cup of bleach then insert the discharge end of a vacuum cleaner hose, wrap a rag around the hose. I did’nt have one drop of water when I lifted the bowl

  4. Working with Gravity eh? And what made the old “high-Tank” Toilets work? It’s the last bit of water I need to remove so that I can get it scrubbed clean and de-limescale it. I’ve used a Sponge, a large ladle and even a giant Plunger, but that last bit refuses to shift. Maybe I should buy an Aircraft-Style suction Toilet !!

  5. Wow, that sure is a huge waste of 5 gallons of water!!!!!!!! And you still had water in the bottom of the bowl you have to scoop, siphon, vacuum out or whatever. Why not just flush the toilet as you did and then scoop out the rest from the bowl, you will have to do that anyway!

  6. first off,have a couple of old towels or big sponges, rubber gloves and a bucket handy. After turning the water off at the base of the toilet just flush the toilet and then drop a towel into the tank and bowl the tank won’t have much in it but the bowl might take a couple of towels full of water to completely empty,just wring the wet towel into the bucket and your toilet will be ready to move.I have tried other ways but I find this to be the easiest way to do it

  7. The amount of water left after pouring in the 5 gallons is basically the standard level found in Toto Japanese toilets. So no help for me. Well, maybe not. The extra pressure may leave even less in mine. As for Joe, who was concerned about wasting water, it’s about getting a job done. Want to stress out over a bit of water? I’m going to go flush my toilet twice just for you, Joe.

  8. I use an old turkey baster to get the last of the water out. Very effective and much faster than either a sponge or ladle. You can usually pick up a plastic turkey baster at dollar stores for about, um, a dollar. 🙂

  9. Any suggestions for cleaning up that last bit of liquid/solids in my toilet that was seriously clogged and now needing a seal replacement (the obvious bowl water all over the floor was my first hint) ?? I’m so grossed out I want to move.

    • Hi, KR,
      There’s no shortage of products you could try on those stubborn stains.
      We’ve had good results with Lime-A-Way, KABOOM, and good old-fashioned vinegar.
      Try those, and let us know how it goes!


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