How to Winterize a Toilet

It isn’t usually the first thing we think about when one thinks about winterizing something. Usually our thoughts go to pipes to the sinks and tubs, but toilets can have issues too if they aren’t properly winterized.

This is a common practice with cabins or second homes of all sorts. You don’t want to come home to a toilet catastrophe when you are back next season.

Winterizing a toilet is extremely easy. After you have shutoff the water to the toilet, just flush and remove all the water from the toilet. Then add special antifreeze to the toilet.

As for the details, don’t worry, I’ll explain those below too!


Close Shutoff Valve

Since we don’t want any water coming into the toilet, you’ll need to turn off the water first.

To do this, locate the shutoff valve on the left side of the tank. Simply turn it so that the water isn’t being pumped into tank after being flushed.

It goes without saying, make sure that you have already used the toilet for the last time before shutting the water off and beginning to winterize your toilet. Otherwise, you’ll have to perform all these steps over again.


Flush the Water

Just as easy a step as #1, the main thing you need to do here is to flush the toilet. Keep the flapper up so that as much water as possible flushes out.

There will still be some traces of water here and there left in the tank, but don’t worry about that for now. You will still have to pour antifreeze into the tank, so you can perform a more thorough cleaning after you do that.


Drain the Water from the Bowl

This can be an easy step to forget, but is pretty important. Even though you have drained the water from the tank, there will still be some residual water left in the bowl itself.

This remaining water can be removed in a couple ways:

  • Vacuuming it out
  • Add water to the bowl with force

If you opt to vacuum the water out, obviously make sure you have a vacuum that is suitable for the job first. Simply vacuum up the small amount of water that’s left.

If you don’t have a vacuum that can cover that job, then using water is still really easy (maybe easier). Just pour about 4 gallons of water into the bowl so that the remaining bits of water get suctioned out altogether. You may have to pour the water from a height, as a toilet flushes with force from the water (i.e., gravity in this case).

Lastly, there will be a teeny tiny amount of water left, but you can easily use a sponge or towel to soak up the remaining traces of water.


Add Anti-freeze

Last but not least, antifreeze.

This isn’t a difficult step either, but you may want to play it safe and wear some safety glasses before getting started. The last thing you want is for any droplets to splash up in your face while you’re pouring the antifreeze into the toilet.

Keep in mind, this isn’t regular antifreeze that’s needed. You’ll need to get “RV antifreeze” instead. The main ingredient is different from regular antifreeze used in your car, and won’t damage it.

Once you’ve checked off those boxes, you’ll pour the antifreeze into the tank (not the bowl). Make sure the flapper stays open while you’re pouring the antifreeze in, so as to help create the necessary force for it to be flushed.

And that’s it, you have officially winterized your toilet for the cold season!

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