How to Remove a Toilet and Wax Ring

If you are remodeling or repairing your bathroom you will probably find it necessary to remove the toilet and wax ring that secures and seals it to the sewer line pipe. This isn't a difficult job, but requires a bit of work and a few tools.

You Will Need

  • Wax ring
  • Vice grips or adjustable wrench
  • Putty knife
  • Rags
  • Mineral spirits

Step 1: Prepare the Toilet Area

There are a few steps you should take before you remove the toilet from the floor. Turn off the water supply to the tank. This is usually a flexible line that you will find on the wall behind the toilet. After you have it securely turned off, then flush the toilet a couple of times to remove all the water in the tank and bowl. Stuff a couple of large rags into the bottom of the toilet to absorb any small amounts of water left over and to prevent a mess when you lift the toilet up.

Step 2: Remove the Toilet

Use the vice grips or wrench to loosen the large bolts that hold the toilet to the floor. Remove the lid to the toilet tank and sit it aside so it won't be broken. Wiggle the toilet around a bit to loosen the wax seal it is sitting on. Lift up to remove the toilet.

Step 3: Remove the Wax Ring

This step can be a bit messy. Use the putty knife to scrape all of the wax ring from around the sewer pipe and surrounding floor. The wax is heavy and gooey, so this can take a bit of work. If you have old newspapers to put the wax on that you're removing, you can scrape your putty knife against it to remove the wax. Remove all of the wax and discard it. Clean the area on the floor with mineral spirits. If any wax is on the base of the toilet, remove it completely.

Step 4: Installing New Wax Ring

Read all instructions that may be on the packaging for the new wax ring for any valuable tips the manufacturer may have offered. The new wax ring will be large and thick and feel dry to the touch. Hold it over the sewer pipe opening to center it, then put it down onto the floor. When you are satisfied that it is perfectly centered, press down on it firmly to seat it upon the floor tile and around the pipe.

Step 5: Reinstalling the Toilet

Center the toilet over the sewer pipe opening and wax ring and push it firmly into place. Be sure you have a secure fit. Tighten the bolts to the floor to hold it into place. Pour about a half a bucket of water into the toilet and flush it, watch for water to leak around the base of the toilet to be sure it is seated tightly, then tighten the bolts completely.

Put the lid back on the tank top. Turn on the water supply and allow the tank to fill. Watch for leaks around the base. Flush the toilet to fill the bowl and tank and your toilet will be back in service.