How to Drain a Toilet? Process of Drain Water from Tank & Bowl

If you intend to work on your toilet, you may have to drain it. It doesn’t matter whether you want to clean the toilet or make some repairs. Removing the water in your toilet’s tank or bowl allows you to have an easy time cleaning, maintaining, or repairing it.

Draining the Toilet Tank:
-Turn off the water supply line
-Remove the toilet tank lid
-Flush the toilet
-Press the valve and drain remain water

Draining the Toilet Bowl:
-Drain the tank
-Place a towel or tissue papers around the toilet base
-Take a bucket of water and pour it into the bowl
-Take a sponge and clear the remaining water

But how do you drain the water? In this guide, we’re going to show you how you can drain the water in the toilet’s tank and bowl. If you want to repair or clean something inside the toilet’s tank, you will have to drain the tank alone. But if you’re going to fix a leakage in the bowl or replace the toilet bowl, you be required to drain water from both the tank and bowl.

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How to drain water from the toilet tank

Draining a toilet is not a complex task anymore. You just need to follow the steps below for successful draining of your toilet:

Step 1: Prepare the area around the toilet.

The first step is to prepare all the tools required and place some rags on the floor. The rag will be ideal for placing the toilet tank’s lid, tank, and bowl, depending on what you’re working on. Some of the tools needed will be rubber gloves, sponge, bucket, pliers, wet/dry vacuum, flexible hose, wrench, small bowl, and towel. 

How to Drain a Toilet?

Step 2: Shut off the water supply line

After preparing everything you need, the next is to turn off the water supply line at the toilet’s back. The knob is found on the wall or floor near the toilet. Locate the shutoff valve and turn it clockwise to lock water from entering the toilet’s tank. This allows you to work on the toilet without interference.

How to Drain a Toilet?

Step 3: Remove the toilet tank lid

Lift the tank’s lid and put it on a safe surface. It’s recommended to place the lid on a rag, towel, or newspaper. Most of the toilet tank’s lids are made from porcelain, which is a delicate material. To protect your lid from cracking or breaking, place it on a soft surface such as a rag or newspaper.

How to Drain a Toilet?

Step 4: Flush the toilet.

Flush the toilet to drain the water inside the tank. Flushing the toilet helps the water in the tank drain. Try flushing several times to get all the water out. If there’s still more water, hold down the flush valve until the entire water is drained.

If the water starts trickling in the tank, countercheck the shutoff valve and ensure you’ve turned it off completely. A bad shutoff valve may allow some water to come inside the tank. If that’s the case, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve near the meter and change the faulty valve.

Step 6: Use a sponge

After flushing the water, some water may remain inside the tank. Get rid of this water by using a sponge to dry the tank.  

How to drain water from the toilet bowl

Plunge out the water

A plunger is among the most useful tools for unclogging a blocked toilet. However, it can also be utilized to drain water from your toilet bowl. Take a plunger and put it down in the bowl. Use it to push water down the toilet by using an up-and-down movement. You should repeat this procedure until most of the water goes through the trapway and down the drain. After some time, the bowl will almost be empty.

In short, you should use the plunger as if your toilet clog is blocked. It’s the same procedure for clearing water in your bowl. And when a small portion of water remains behind, you can use a rag or sponge to remove it and have a dry bowl.

Siphon out the water

People have used the siphoning method for centuries. This procedure was utilized to transfer liquid from one container to another. To execute this method, you will have to wear gloves as you will have to dip your hands into the bowl.

Prepare a hose and bucket with a small amount of water, then adjust the water level in the toilet bowl before pouring the water into the bowl. War the rubber gloves and dip the hose into the toilet and bucket at the same time. Next, pour the water into the hose and block both ends with your thumb.

With the thumbs blocking the hose’s water, place one end of the hose in the toilet bowl and the other in the bucket. Don’t open any end of the hoe until they are both submerged in water. You can now remove your thumbs from them, and water will start flowing from the toilet to the bucket. Besides, you should ensure that the bucket is lower than the bowl so that water can continue trickling in.

After draining most of the water, use a sponge to suck up the remaining water and eliminate the debris at the toilet bowl’s bottom.

Bail the water out

This is one of the most unpleasant ways of draining your toilet. However, it’s still useful and will work for you. Take a small cup or bowl and use it to scoop water from your toilet bowl. But before that, you will have to wear gloves for hygienic purposes.

Note that the small bowl or cup you use to drain water won’t eliminate the whole water. Therefore, you may have to use a sponge to drain the remaining water.

Sponge the water out

Sponging out water is necessary for every step that you take to drain water from your toilet. It doesn’t matter if it’s the tank or bowl you’re draining water; you will have to use a sponge to drain the remaining water. Nevertheless, you can also use a sponge to drain water from your toilet bowl or even tank. This process is quite tedious but very functional.

Related article: 10 Easy Steps to Replace a Toilet Seat

Vacuum out the water

Last but not least, you can use a wet or dry vacuum to drain water from your toilet bowl. This is one of the practical and less cumbersome methods on this list. However, it would help if you never attempted to use a regular vacuum, as it will create a mess in your bathroom.

After using the vacuum to drain water, you should sanitize it and lean the hose thoroughly. Besides, it would be best if you didn’t overfill the vacuum bin when using it to remove the water from the toilet.

Final Thoughts

I hope our step-by-step instructions for draining a toilet help you understand how to remove water from your tank or bowl. You don’t need a professional plumber to repair or fix most toilet parts. Whether it’s adjusting the toilet float, changing the flapper, replacing a worn-out wax ring, or changing the fill valve, you can do it on your own.


If you want to work on the toilet tank parts, you will have to drain the tank alone. But if you’re going to work on the bowl, you will have to drain both the tank and bowl. Always put on protective gloves and clothing when working on your toilet. You can now drain your toilet easily and quickly.

We are really lucky to have a hard-working, multi-skilled plumber on our team. Collin D. Gallegos, a professional plumber who has worked with us since 2012, is an expert in vent, septic, and drainage systems. He is a Certified Master Plumber and has worked on various commercial plumbing projects. He usually helps our readers resolve plumbing and pipe-related issues with a proper DIY troubleshooting and repair guide.


  1. If I am leaving my house in Florida for the summer and part of the winter, after draining the water from tank and bowl, should I put a cup of bleach in the bowl. Also should I cover the bowl with saran wrap. Please respond by email . Thank you , Tony

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