How to Quickly Turn off Water to a Toilet

Last Updated on January 5, 2022 by toilethaven

How Do I turn Off Water to My Toilet?

There are 2 main ways of turning off water to the toilet. The first one is through the toilet shut off valve while the second one is through the main shut off valve.

What do you do then when you don’t want to turn off the water in the entire house yet you need to isolate the water to the toilet and the toilet shut off valve is not functioning, or the toilet has no shut off valve? That’s where you get innovative and we will let you know what to do.

To quickly turn off water to a toilet, locate the toilet shut off valve on the wall behind the toilet. Turn it clockwise all the way. If you have a push/pull valve instead, pull it all the way out. Alternatively, prop up the toilet float or locate the main house shut off valve and turn it off.

If you have an overflowing toilet that you need to repair, a toilet that won’t stop running, want to replace the toilet or perform any other toilet repair, you will need to first turn off the water to the toilet. Apart from turning off the water, you will need to drain the toilet otherwise you will make a big mess in your bathroom.

1. How Turn Off Water to the Toilet Using the Toilet Shut off Valve


 To turn off water supply to your toilet, look for the toilet shut off valve on the left-hand hand side on the rear wall of the toilet close to the bottom. Turn this valve clockwise until it can’t turn anymore.

Sometimes your toilet will have a push/pull valve. To turn off water to the toilet in this case, hold the valve handle and pull it outwards.

Due to the fact that toilet shut off valves are rarely used, you might find that yours is stuck and cannot therefore turn. Although most of this fixtures are made of stainless steel, some are not and are therefore prone to rusting/corroding.

In this case, spray the valve with a penetrating oil like WD-40 and give it about 15 minutes before trying again. If you urgently need to turn off the water to the toilet, go straight for the main water supply valve

2. How to Turn off Water to the Toilet from the Main Shut off Valve


If for some reasons your toilet does not have a shut off valve, or it is there but not up to scratch, you might be forced to turn off the water to the toilet by turning off the main shut off valve. This will also shut the water supply to all other fixtures in the house.

The main shut off valve location depend on the type of house you have. If you can locate your water meter, it is easy to find the main shut off valve.

The main shut off valve is almost always located very close to the water meter. It is either a red wheel which you will need to turn clockwise to shut it off, or a lever valve which you will need to move 90 degrees (perpendicular to the water pipe).

If you can’t find the main shut off valve in the basement close to the to the water heater, it will be on an external wall where the main service line from the street enters the house.

In other houses the shut off valve will be in the crawlspace or in a utility room like the laundry room or sometimes in the basement. If you have a private well look for a shut off valve near the pressure tank.

Due to how rare this valve is used, it might be stuck and you will therefore need to spray a little penetrating oil like WD-40 to lubricate it.

3. Prop up the Toilet Float

To pull this out you will need to have an understanding of how a toilet works. Remove the toilet tank lid and put it aside. See if your toilet uses a ball float or a float cup/cylinder.

The toilet float is normally connected to the toilet fill valve to control the amount of water that enters the toilet after every flush. After flushing the toilet, the float moves to the bottom of the tank, a move which opens the fill valve and the tank starts filling with water.

As the water fills the toilet tank, the float starts to move gradually upwards until the water reaches the set level and the float stops moving.

 When the toilet tank is therefore full, the float is at the top of the tank and no water is flowing into the tank. Your job will therefore be to ensure that the toilet float is maintained at that position.

Take a piece of wood and slide it underneath the toilet float to support it. This way, even if the toilet is flushed the toilet fill valve will remain shut and no water can fill the toilet tank.

If you have a toilet that is overflowing or one which can’t stop running, this method can help you to hold on until you have a plumber available. It cannot however work in a situation where you intend to remove the toilet.

4. Plug off The Toilet Water Supply Line


Sometimes after turning off water to the toilet at the toilet shut off valve, you will notice that water is still trickling inside the tank. This happens when the shut off valve is leaking.

If you need to work on the toilet but don’t want to turn off water to the entire house, you can disconnect the water supply line from the toilet tank and plug it off with a plastic bag and duct tape.

The toilet water supply line is the steel braided line that than runs from the toilet shut off valve to the toilet tank where it is connected to the toilet fill valve. This toilet water supply lines are sometimes made of plastic.

Disconnect it from underneath the toilet tank. To avoid damaging the coupling, always attempt to loosen it with your hand before attempting with a wrench.

Once the line is off, quickly cover it with a plastic bag and tape it round with a duct tape. Have a bucket ready to drain water that might be still left in the tank.

With this method you will be able to easily work on your toilet even if it means removing it and replacing a wax ring or a toilet flange. Your bathroom will be messy but at least the other parts of your house will still have running toilet.

How to Turn On Water Supply to the Toilet

To turn the water supply to your toilet on, look for the toilet shut off valve on the left-hand side of the toilet on the rear wall nearer to the floor. Turn this valve counterclockwise. You should hear water start filling the toilet tank.

If your toilet uses the push/pull kind of valve, push it inside. In case your toilet shut off valve feels a little rusty, spray a penetrating oil like WD-40 to avoid it getting stuck and fully corroded in the future.

How to Drain a Toilet After Turning off the Water

Once you have managed to turn off the water supply to the toilet, you will need to drain the toilet before you work on it. This is especially the case if the toilet is clogged and overflowing.

It is easy to drain the toilet tank. The water is clean unlike that in the toilet bowl. You can choose to scoop the water out with a cup and empty it into a bucket or siphon it out with a hose pipe.

A little amount of water will still be left at the bottom of the tank. Use a sponge to soak it and squeeze it out in a bucket.

To drain water from your toilet bowl, you will need to be innovative. Take a hose pipe around 3-4 feet and fold it into a U-shape. Remember to have on your rubber gloves.

Fill it with water until both ends are flowing. Put your thumbs on each end of the hose pipe and insert one end inside the bowl full of water and keep your thumb on. Put the other end inside an empty bucket and release both ends at once.

Water will start flowing from the bowl to the bucket until only a little amount of water is left. Soak it up with a sponge and squeeze out in a bucket. Ensure you have your gloves on at all time.


To turn off water to a toilet during repairs is as simple as ABC, but unless you know where to look it can be the hardest thing to do. A running toilet is a very expensive thing to have and is also bad for the environment. Avoid that by turning off water to your toilet immediately you notice the problem