How to Winterize a Toilet

Toilets aren’t commonly the first thing to people think about when it comes time to winterize their household appliances. Usually, our thoughts go to pipes, sinks, and tubs, but toilets can also have issues if they aren’t properly winterized.

It is common to winterize the toilets in a cabin or a second home. You don’t want to come home to a toilet catastrophe when you return the next season.

Winterizing a toilet is extremely easy. After you have shut off the water to the toilet, flush and remove all of the water from the toilet. Lastly, add special antifreeze to the toilet.

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


Close Shutoff Valve

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

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

It probably goes without saying, but make sure 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 as step #1, the main thing you need to do in this step is flush the toilet. Keep the flapper up so that as much water as possible flushes out.

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


Drain the Water from the Bowl

This can be an easy step to forget, but it 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 of ways:

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

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

If you don’t have a vacuum that can cover the job, using water is still easy (maybe easier). 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 be cautious and wear some safety glasses before getting started. The last thing you want is for any droplets to splash in your face while you’re pouring the antifreeze into the toilet.

Keep in mind, you won’t be using regular antifreeze, but you’ll need to get “RV antifreeze” instead. The main ingredient in “RV antifreeze” is different from the regular antifreeze used in your car and won’t damage your toilet.

Once you’ve checked those boxes, you’ll pour the antifreeze into the tank (not the bowl). Make sure the flapper stays open while you’re pouring in the antifreeze 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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