How to Turn Off the Water to the Toilet?

Last update:

The purpose of your toilet is to be efficient and reliable, but you will have to repair something sooner or later. Remember that every DIY bathroom project starts by closing the water supply, no matter what you need to do.

But how to turn off the water to your toilet? The easiest way is to close the toilet shutoff valve in your bathroom. Other options are to close the main shutoff valve, detach the supply hose from the tank, or raise the tank float.

If this sounds simple, that’s because it is! You will turn off the water supply quickly by following our step-by-step instructions.

4 Ways to Turn Off the Water to The Toilet

You can close the toilet water supply in four ways, and each one is fairly simple.

Solution 1: Close the Shutoff Valve

Closing the toilet shutoff valve is the easiest method. The valve is behind the toilet, though a decorative panel or sink may hide it. You can open or close it with your hands, especially if it’s a relatively new item.

If you haven’t used the valve for years, it may turn out to be rusty and stiff. In this case, you can use pliers to get a good grip on the handle. When you do it, turn the knob clockwise until it goes a full circle.

Sometimes even pliers can’t help you, so you must loosen the shutoff valve with penetrating oil. WD-40 is the standard tool in most households — spray some on the shutoff valve, and it should loosen after a few minutes.

Now that the shutoff valve is not too tight, you can turn it clockwise to prevent the water from entering the toilet tank.

Solution 2: Close the Main Shutoff Valve

If the shutoff valve for your toilet is stuck, you can close the main supply line to your home. That’s your second-best solution because the main shutoff valve stops the water supply in the entire house.

First of all, you must find the main valve. Most households hide it in the basement, so it’s the first place to check. If not there, search for the shutoff valve in the bathroom or kitchen.

Secondly, you can recognize the valve handle by its position — it is probably somewhere near the water meter. There’s a short water pipe with a clock-like meter, while the valve is almost always a red round handle. 

Alternatively, it may be a lever on the water meter. When you pinpoint the main shutoff valve, you can close it instantly:

  • Turn the valve clockwise until it halts the water flow
  • If it’s the lever, push it with your finger to align it with the water meter pipe

Once again, the valve may be too old and rusty to budge. If that’s the case with this item, use WD-40 to make it more flexible. After that, turning the valve clockwise will be very easy.

Solution 3: Detach the Supply Hose from the Tank

The third way to turn off the toilet water supply is to detach the hosepipe from the tank. Homeowners usually do this when the closed shut-off valve leaks, allowing some water into the tank. 

A supply hose is the water pipe that connects the shut-off valve with the tank, so you can disconnect it using pliers. The hosepipe enters the tank on its bottom-left side — you will see it going up until it touches the tank.

The hose has a threaded nut (plastic or metal) that keeps it tight against the tank. Unscrew the nut to detach the hose, but do it gently not to break the nut or the tank’s plastic wall.

After detaching it, you should also seal the water pipe with duct tape and a plastic bag. The idea is simple — cover the hose entrance with the bag and then tape it firmly to form a waterproof seal.

That will keep the water from going out of the hosepipe and into the tank.

Solution 4: Raise the Tank Float

The fourth solution is to raise the tank float, which stops the water from filling the toilet. A tank float is a plastic ball with a long arm — you can find it in the toilet tank as it connects to the flush handle. Its role is to control the water level in the tank.

When you flush the toilet, the float goes down as the water comes out. After that, the water enters the tank and stops when the float reaches its highest point. How does it help you to turn off the water?

This is how — you can place the tank float even higher, not allowing the water to go into the tank even after flushing. Doing it is a simple three-step process:

  • Remove the tank lid by pushing it off with a flathead screwdriver
  • Identify the tank float on top of the tank
  • Put a piece of plastic or wood under the tank float to keep it up

When you support the float with a hard object, it can’t go down anymore. That way, the toilet will “think” that it is full of water and won’t refill after flushing.

Why Would You Turn Off the Water in Your Toilet?

Perhaps it sounds strange, but some people s till ask us: Why would I turn off the toilet water in the first place? In case you don’t know, here are a few reasons:

To Unclog Your Toilet

Most toilets will clog over the years because users dispose of baby wipes, Q tips, and other non-flushable items. Hard waste accumulates over time and forces you to unclog the toilet with a plunger or auger. 

Before doing that, it is mandatory to close the water supply line. It’s the only way to prevent an overflowing toilet.

Bathroom Remodeling

You may also decide to run a full bathroom remodeling project or solve another plumbing problem. It probably means you will change and restructure the entire scene. 

In such circumstances, closing the water supply is a must because you have to save the bathroom floor from flooding.

To Replace the Toilet

Finally, you may need to replace your older toilet with a new one. Doing it means shutting off the water and working in a damp-free environment. When you cut the water supply, you detach the old item and install a new model.

How to Empty the Toilet After Closing the Water Supply?

When you use one of the four methods and shut off the water, you probably want to empty the toilet. It’s not the cleanest of tasks, but it’s not complicated.

Start by flushing the toilet. It will empty the tank, but it won’t refill because the supply line is restricted. Now you can open the tank top to pick excess water — use a sponge or paper towels to dry the tank bottom.

The next task is to empty the toilet bowl. Make sure to clean the bowl before starting as you don’t want to get dirty. After that, follow these steps:

  • Put towels around the toilet bowl to collect water droplets
  • Use a small cup to remove as much water as possible
  • Pick the remaining water with a sponge, toilet paper, or dry towels
  • Turn on the exhaust fan and leave the toilet dry on its own for a couple of hours

When you return to the bathroom, the toilet should be dry and ready for work.

How to Open the Water Supply?

Once you complete the entire bathroom renovation project, you should open the water supply to your toilet. It is vital because your toilet won’t function without a stable water influx.

Each solution we discussed comes with a simple reopening trick, so let’s check them out here:

  • Closed shut-off valve: Twist the knob counterclockwise until it’s fully open. Use pliers if twisting it with your hands is too hard.
  • Closed main shut-off valve: Twist the knob or pull the lever. This will bring the valve to the original position, allowing water into the tank again.
  • Disconnected supply hose: Attach the supply hosepipe to the toilet tank. Screw the nut to ensure a stable connection.
  • Lifted tank float: Lower the tank float by removing the wooden piece from the tank.

The Bottom Line

Regardless of the bathroom project, closing the water to the toilet will likely be your first task. It prevents the water from entering the tank, so you can avoid overflows and floods in the bathroom.

The easy way to do it is to turn off the shut-off valve behind the toilet. Another option is to close the main water supply valve, while you can also lift the toilet float or unplug the supply hose.

It doesn’t take you more than a minute or two to pull this off — just make sure to follow our instructions step by step!


Where is the water shut-off for the toilet?

The water shut-off valve for the toilet is right behind the toilet. In some cases, it may be next to the toilet. It has a small knob that you can twist clockwise for closing the water or counterclockwise for opening it. 

Is it OK to turn off the water to the toilet?

Yes, it is OK to turn off the water if you need to prevent an overflowing toilet. It is also useful when you have to fix something in your bathroom. When you close the water to the toilet, you know the toilet won’t flood the bathroom.

Leave a Comment