How to Remove a Toilet Tank? [Step by Step DIY Guide]

Removing a toilet tank can be a daunting task, but it is not as difficult as it may seem.

If you are comfortable using basic tools and following some simple instructions, you can have the tank removed in no time!

how to remove toilet tank

In this article, we will walk you through the process of removing a toilet tank. We will provide step-by-step instructions along with pictures to help make the process easier for you.

Let’s get started!

DIY Steps to Remove a Toilet Tank?

There are different reasons why you may need to remove your toilet tank. To avoid making this a long post, we’re not going into the reasons here.

If you need to remove your toilet tank for any reason, check out this step-by-step guide with detailed explanations.

Take Essential Tools and Supplies

Before you proceed, get the following tools to effectively remove your toilet tank:

  • Towels or cloths
  • An empty bucket
  • An adjustable wrench
  • A flathead screwdriver
  • Any other suitable tool required to remove your specific tank model
tools needed for toilet tank removal

Step 1: Shut the Water Supply to the Toilet Tank

Shutting up the water supply to the toilet tank is very important if you don’t want to end up wasting water.

The water supply is controlled by a metallic valve that is usually mounted on the wall behind the toilet bowl.

turn off water supply to the tank

The metallic valve can be a faucet, tap, push/pull valve, or shut-off valve. It connects to a plastic hose or metallic pipe that channels water into the toilet tank.

Completely turn the control valve in a clockwise direction to stop the flow of water into the toilet tank.

A push/pull valve requires that you pull it outwards to shut it.

However, if your toilet doesn’t have a control valve, look for the main water supply to the toilet and shut it.

Step 2: Take Out the Lid

The toilet water cistern is made of delicate material and must be handled carefully to avoid cracking.

So, carefully take off the tank lid and place it gently on a cloth or towel in a safe place.

Step 3: Drain the Toilet Tank

If you still have a water-filled toilet tank, you need to drain the tank by holding down the flush lever.

You need to wait until the toilet tank is fully drained before you let go of the flush lever.

If water still trickles into the tank after flushing, then you didn’t shut off the control valve completely.

If the toilet tank still has some water left at the bottom, mop it dry with a cloth or towel.

Now that we have a dry tank and our water supply is turned off, we can start working on the actual removal process.

Step 4: Disconnect the Toilet Tank from the Water Supply Line

We need to isolate the toilet tank by disconnecting it from the water supply line.

Depending on your toilet setup, the water supply line and couplings may be made of plastic or metal.

If yours is made of plastic, try the decoupling with your hand before trying a wrench. Typically with a bit of a twist, the plastic coupling will come right off.

disconnect the water supply

With your hand or wrench, loosen the compression nut by turning it in a counterclockwise direction. This will unscrew the water supply line from the bottom of the toilet tank.

When disconnecting the tank from the water supply line, place a bucket or towel close by to catch spills and trapped water in the line.

Also, you don’t need to disconnect the other end of the water supply line except if the line needs replacement. Just make sure to keep the pipe downwards so that it doesn’t come in your way when working on the tank.

Step 5: Disconnect the Toilet Tank from the Toilet bowl

After disconnecting the toilet tank from the water supply line, the next step is to disconnect the toilet bowl.

The toilet tank connects with the bowl using two or three mounting bolts placed around the flush valve drain.

remove the bolts from the tank

Loosen these bolts inside the toilet tank with a screwdriver or wrench, whichever is applicable. You may need to secure the nuts with your other hand – they are located under the toilet bowl.

In most cases, you can use an adjustable wrench to loosen the nuts.

If both the bolts and nuts are swiveling due to rust, hold the nuts tightly with a wrench while unscrewing the bolt with a screwdriver.

If the rust is too much and the bolts won’t just come off, apply penetrating oil to the nuts. In some rare cases, nothing may work to loosen up the nuts. So, you’ll need to cut the nuts off using a hacksaw blade.

Handle the hacksaw blade carefully to avoid any injuries. Once you remove the bolts, it’s time to take off the toilet tank from the toilet bowl.

Pro Tip: If the mounting bolts and nuts are rusted, worn-out, or in a bad condition, consider replacing them with new ones. Make sure that the new bolts are of the same length and size as the old ones.

Step 6: Take off the Toilet Tank from the Toilet bowl

This is the final step in this guide. Carefully hold the bottom of the toilet tank with both hands and lift it off the toilet bowl.

Carefully lift the tank straight up to avoid damaging the flush valve inside the tank.

Place the removed tank gently on a cloth or towel in a safe place to avoid cracks or damage.

If you are replacing the old tank with a new one, you don’t need to keep any flush mechanism from your old tank.

For a better understanding of how to remove a toilet tank, here is an instructional video to guide you –

Take-home Tip

Although we’ve covered the steps considering a simple single flush system toilet, it should work on almost all types of toilet flush systems except the ones that are intricately integrated through special mechanisms.

For dual flush toilet replacement, you may need to do some tweaks while applying the process.

However, if you are putting back the old tank again in its place, then you are fine without following any of the below-mentioned tips.

So, if you are replacing the old tank with a new one, consider the following:

Purchase a new toilet tank with the same model number as the old toilet tank. The model number is usually printed or molded inside the tank.

Better still, ensure that any new tank you wish to purchase is compatible with your toilet bowl.

Otherwise, the new tank will not sit tightly on your bowl and the mounting holes will not line up.

If you have been looking for an opportunity to paint behind your toilet tank, this is the right time for you. Paint the wall behind the toilet tank before installing the new tank.

Note that, you have to cover the toilet bowl with any suitable material to avoid stains from paint spills.


To summarize, the steps to remove a toilet tank are –

  • Shut off the water supply valve and flush the toilet to empty the tank.
  • Disconnect the tank from the water supply line.
  • Disconnect the tank from the bowl.
  • Take off the tank from the bowl.

If you need to replace your old toilet tank, follow these simple steps and you’ll have it done in no time!

Don’t forget to check for any damage or issues in the toilet bowl and tank while you do the removal.

This is a no harm way to inspect a toilet system for any possible issues which you may be able to fix in no time before they become a headache.

We hope this guide was helpful in teaching you how to remove a toilet tank. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to us! Thanks for reading!

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