How to Turn Off the Water to the Toilet? [Shut Off Water Supply]

Is your toilet leaking, and do you want to adjust the chain or change a worn-out flapper? You’re in the right place. A leaky toilet can make your water bill increase as water will flow into the bowl always. To repair the faulty part, you will have to turn off the water to the toilet first.

But how do you do this? You have to start by locating the toilet shut-off valve. If the shutoff is jammed, there are other options for stopping water from filling your toilet tank. These methods are mostly applicable to older toilet models without a shutoff valve.

How to Turn Off the Water to the Toilet?

Below are the different ways that you can shut off the water to your toilet:

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Turn off the shutoff valve

You don’t need to turn off the water to the entire house in order to fix any toilet issue. First and foremost, you have to start by locating the shutoff valve. This valve is normally located on the left-hand side of the rear wall of the toilet. It would help if you turned the water valve clockwise until it could not turn any longer. Some toilet designs feature a push or pull valve. Please turn off the water by holding the valve handle and pulling it upwards in such a situation.water shut off valve outside

Related article: Step-by-step guide to fix a toilet handle

Since most shutoff valves are rarely used, you may come across a shutoff water valve that won’t turn. In such a case, you should apply penetrating oil, such as WD40. Allow the oil to sit for about 20 minutes before trying to turn the shutoff valve. If it’s an emergency and you want to turn off the water instantly, then you should go straight to the main water shutoff valve.

This is because some shutoff valves may be inferior and cause trouble before turning. Turn off valves that are not made of stainless steel rust easily and can be troublesome. Save time and shut off the water at the main shutoff valve. Later on, you can change your toilet valve at the back of the toilet.

Turn off the main shutoff valve

If your shutoff valve behind the toilet is not working or you have an old toilet without a shutoff valve, you may have to turn off the water from the main shutoff valve. However, doing this will shut off the water to all fixtures in your home.

The main Turnoff valve location varies according to where you reside. If you live in a colder climate, your main shutoff valve may be located in the basement. But this valve should be located outside if you live in warmer weather. Besides, you find your main shutoff valve if you know where your water meter is located.

how to shut off main water valve

The main shutoff valve is easy to detect as it’s either a red wheel which you have to turn it clockwise to turn off or a lever valve which you will have to turn 90 degrees perpendicular to the water pipe. Like a shutoff valve, the main Turnoff valve can rust when not used and maintained over a long period. If it feels stuck, you will have to apply penetrating oil and turn it off.

Related article: Easy Ways to Adjust Toilet Float

Note that the shutoff valve typically looks like one or two-wheel handles. These help you to have an excellent grip as you turn on/off the main shutoff valve. Don’t forget to turn the valve counterclockwise to turn the supply line back when you are done.

Lift the float lever

At times, both the shutoff valve behind the toilet and the main shutoff valve outside your home may be stuck and not working. But if you still want to turn the water off, it’s easy. Your next option will be to lift the float lever to stop water from flowing into the toilet tank.

Knowing how the toilet works are crucial if you want this trick to work for you. Start by removing the toilet tank’s lid and placing it aside. Next, you should see whether your toilet features a ball float or float cup. The toilet float is usually connected to the toilet fill valve to control the water amount that enters the toilet fill valve

When you flush the toilet, the float moves down and moves up when it starts to re-fill. After the tank fills up, the toilet float will be at the top. You need to shut off the water, and you will have to maintain this position. Take a piece of wood and slide it below the float to support it. Flush the toilet to drain the water from the tank, and work on your toilet as needed. No water will flow into the toilet tank.

This method only applies to simple maintenance works, such as cleaning the tank, cleaning the bowl, and inspecting your toilet tank’s parts. But for serious repairs, it may not work.  

Plug off the toilet water supply line

If you turn off your shutoff valve at the back of the toilet and notice that water is still trickling into the tank, maybe the shutoff valve is leaking. This can happen if the shutoff valve is outdated and out of shape. In such a case, you may have to plug off the water to the entire house and use a plastic bag and duct tape to turn the water off from entering your toilet tank. It will help stop water flow, including the toilet’s water supply.

The procedure is easy if you have a bucket, duct tape, wrench, and plastic bag. Place a bucket below the shutoff valve. Try to loosen the water supply line using your bare hands. If it’s stubborn, use a wrench but don’t apply excessive force as some toilet water supply lines are made of plastic.

After disconnecting the water supply to your toilet, some water will trickle into the bucket. However, you should quickly cover the water supply line with a plastic bag and tape it with duct tape. You can now go ahead and fix any running toilet issue or even replace a cracked toilet bowl. 


Turning off the water to your toilet is one of the easiest things to do. But you may have a long day if you don’t know where to turn it off. If you realize that your toilet has an issue and the water is running, you need to turn off the water and fix it.

A leaky toilet may increase your water bill, and it’s not good for the environment. We hope that you will no longer struggle to turn off the water to your toilet. Pick one of the methods that we’ve highlighted to turn off the water.

Related article:

Ways to flush a toilet when the water is off

Hi, this is Robert Crossan, the owner of this website, has 17 years of experience in the installation, maintenance, and repair of toilets and plumbing systems. After completing the Level 2 Basic Plumbing course in 2005, I started working in both domestic and commercial buildings as a professional plumber. So I can figure out the core difference between different toilet models and brands. It also helped me monitor their work performance and setbacks.

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