How To Flush A Toilet When Water Is Off (Best Method?)

Do you want to learn how to flush a toilet without running water?

Losing water means you only have one flush left — the water left in the toilet tank. But you can add water to the toilet for more flushes.

I invite you to also read my guide on a how to unclog a slow draining toilet.

In this guide, I will go over…

  • The top method for flushing with no water
  • Adding water to the toilet bowl for a strong flush
  • Determining how much water your toilet needs for a flush
how to flush toilet when water is off

How To Flush Toilet Without Running Water?

There are two main methods of flushing your toilet when you don’t have water.

The first method relies on filling up the tank, and the second method pours water directly into the toilet bowl.

Pouring water quickly into the bowl can create a suction effect that will create a strong flush. But if you just need a normal flush, filling up the toilet tank is preferable.

Method #1. Pour Water in Toilet Tank

The best method for flushing your toilet without water is to pour in water into the toilet tank.

When you use the tank, you will be flushing the toilet normally, and you won’t have to worry about splatter.

Simply remove the tank lid and put it aside. Pour in about 1.5 gallons into the tank using either a bucket, jug, pitcher, or glasses.

An easy way to know that the tank is full is to check the top of the overflow tube. The overflow tube is what the water drains into when the tank is too full, and it goes into the toilet bowl. You can see my picture below for what the overflow tube looks like.

Once the tank is full, simply push down on the toilet handle as you would for a normal flush.

Read Also: Sounds That Toilets Make And What It Means?

how to flush toilet when water is off
Fill toilet tank until the top of the overflow tube

Method #2. Pour Water Into Toilet Bowl

The second method can sometimes be a bit messy, but it is to pour water directly into the toilet bowl.

When you quickly pour water into the toilet bowl, the force of the water creates a siphoning effect that create the flush — even without running water.

This strategy creates the suction that is usually created by the jets along the rim of the bowl and the siphon jet.

With this method, you will need about 1.5 gallons of water, and you will need to pour it into the bowl all at once. The easiest way is to use a standard 5-gallon bucket, but only fill it up to about 30% full (1.5 gallon).

You may want to put some towels or something to catch splatter around the toilet on the ground.

Simply bring the bucket close to the toilet rim, and quickly pour in all of the 1.5 gallons of water. Unless there is a toilet clog, it should immediately create the suction that will flush the toilet.

Read Also: How To Clean Toto Bidet Washlets?

What Are The Sources of Water To Flush Toilet?

If you don’t have running water from the city (or a well), you will have to find a source of water to flush the toilet.

Again, you need to get about 1.5 gallons of water, so you will need a large bucket, two plastic water gallon jugs, or some other container. You may want to get water from a local creek, pond, or ask a neighbor.

If your water just shut off, you should have at least one more flush left without having to add water. And if your city or building lets you know that you won’t have water at a certain time, you can prepare by filling up your bathtubs with water.

Read Also: What Are The Best American Standard Toilets?

how to flush toilet when water is off (1)

How Much Water Is Needed To Flush Toilet?

For most modern toilets, it will use 1.6 gallons of water to flush the toilet. Congress passed legislation in 1992 to make toilets more efficient and use less water.

If you a have an older toilet, such as from the 1980’s or earlier, it may need more water to properly flush. Older toilets may require 3.5 gallons to do a full flush.

One way to find out how much water is required is to look for a small marking on the toilet that says GPF which stands for gallons per flush. It may also have a GPL stamp for gallons per liter.

Reasons For No Running Water To Flush

Probably the biggest reason homeowners don’t have water to flush is that they are doing a plumbing repair or renovation.

You may also of lost water if there was a major storm which impacted the municipal water facility.

Read Also: What Are The Best Dual Flush Toilets?

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Arie Van Tuijl

Arie Van Tuijl

I am a licensed home inspector in two U.S. states and the founder of Home Inspector Secrets. After performing hundreds of inspections, and seeing thousands of house defects, I realized people would love to have an online resource dedicated to home maintenance. I write detailed home guides and product reviews sprinkled with inspection tips. You can read my bio here.

About Home Inspector Secrets

Home Inspector Secrets is an online resource for owners, buyers, and sellers to understand all aspects of home maintenance. We have detailed home guides, product reviews, inspection advice, and much more.

Other Home Guides

Looking to learn more about home maintenance? Check out our other informative home product reviews and guides!