Replace the wax ring seal between the toilet and the toilet anchor flange, also known as the closet flange affixed to the floor, whenever you remove a toilet for any reason.
If you replace your vinyl floor with tile, a gap between the toilet and the flange might form. If this is the case, seal the gap using a flange ring to flush the toilet flange with the finished floor’s top edge.
The T-bolts that connect the toilet to the flange should also be replaced when you replace a wax seal. If rusty, you’ll need a can of hardware lubricant to loosen them. Repair kits come with a wax ring and new mounting bolts.
You may ask why they use wax because it is mold and germ-resistant and keeps its sealing ability. Wax rings are made by wrapping a molded wax loop around a short plastic tube. These are straightforward, affordable, and foolproof to self-shape on any toilet and floor drain.
However, when you see these old rings, you need to know how to remove the wax ring from the toilet. It can attract dirt and look unsightly. (Learn How To Remove Grease From Granite Backsplash)
In our guide, you can learn how to clean wax off the toilet flange using several methods. By the end, you’ll have a clean area and know that your flooring can avoid water damage as all the water goes where it’s supposed to. You’ll also see how to add a new toilet wax seal or other methods to stop water leaking.
How To Remove Wax Rings From Toilet?
Installing a new laminate or ceramic bathroom floor necessitates reinstalling a toilet, which is a simple do-it-yourself procedure.
While removing and replacing the toilet is simple, the wax seal that keeps the toilet leaking must always be replaced.
A toilet seal comprises sticky beeswax, and cleaning off the old wax from your old toilet before installing the new wax seal and completing the repair procedure might be a pain.
Here are the basic steps you need to remove these wax rings from your old toilet.
What You Need
- Disposable latex gloves
- Mineral spirits
- Clean rags
- Putty knife
- Old grocery bags
- Put on some gloves.
- Place a rag or paper towel over the main piece of the wax seal and remove it from the toilet’s base with a gloved hand.
- Rock it back and forth on the toilet bowl base, then pull it straight to loosen the seal.
- To dispose of the seal, place it in a plastic bag.
- Using a disposable plastic putty knife, scrape away any excess wax from the toilet opening. Wipe the putty knife with a rag or paper towel as you work.
- Remove any residual residue with a damp cloth. To dissolve the beeswax, dampen a rag or paper towel with a generous amount of mineral spirits, and rub in a brisk circular motion.
- Repeat until there is no more wax toilet seal residue and the surface of your old toilet is clean.
- You’re ready to install the replacement ring before replacing the toilet.
You may be tempted to use two wax rings, but you should avoid this as it can lead to leaking and cause issues with your ceiling. If one ring was enough on your old toilet, stick to this or use an alternative method.
Also, wax rings are supposed to be a one-shot deal; if you position it wrong, there’s a good chance you’ll need to clean it off and start again.
Note: Mineral spirits can give off some toxic fumes. Ensure you ventilate the area well when working with mineral spirits or similar.
Best Ways to Remove Toilet Wax Ring Residue
Wax ring residue during the removal or installation of a toilet ends up a mess. Even when scraping away most of the wax, a thin film remains. (Learn How Hot Does A Chimney Get)
This residue collects dirt and ruins the look of your bathroom.
Besides the above, you can find more ways to clean away this gunk ready for a new wax seal.
Lysol cleaning products are great for getting rid of wax ring residue. Lysol sprays and wipes are strong enough to break down wax and remove the hard wax. All you need is some Lysol and some elbow grease to get rid of the old wax ring.
Afterward, use disposable rags or paper towels to clean the waxed area.
Often, the wax will stick to and clog the thing used to clean it. So, a cheap paper towel or scrubber sponge is the best way to clean things up. But, of course, you can throw away the wax-clogged cleaning tool when you’re done with it, so you don’t keep it. (Read Wood Adhesive Remover Guide)
2. Hot Water or Blow Dryer
Heat breaks down wax, making it less sticky and much easier to clean up. Run your scraper or plastic putty knife under a hot tap when you need to scrape wax off of something.
You can use hot water to clean up any wax that has to be scraped off, or you can use a blow dryer (hairdryer) on high heat to melt the wax residue so that it can be easily wiped up.
Scraping tools should be soaked in hot water before removing toilet wax ring from a surface.
Avoid pouring boiling water on your floor because this could cause damage.
3. Adhesive Remover
Many products on the market can help you eliminate hard residue from adhesives and glue that is hard to get off. You can use Goo Gone as an excellent example of how this works.
These products are also very good at removing the residue left by a wax ring seal like the mineral spirits above. Wipe your cleaning solution to a cleaning cloth or rag, and then scrub away the last bits of wax. This residue remover will eliminate wax residue and is safe to use on most floors.
Your adhesive remover should be tested in a small, out-of-the-way place to ensure that it doesn’t change the color of your floors. Some adhesive removers are safe for many floors, but some have caused the floor to become darker.
For safety, do a small test on your floor where you can’t see. Before using the solution to clean up wax, ensure it won’t damage your floors. Note: Some adhesive removers can smell, so keep your bathroom well-ventilated.
How to Clean Toilet Wax Seal And Install Toilet
Before you get going, grab a bucket and towels to catch water drips after turning off the water supply line.
Here are the complete instructions on removing a toilet, getting rid of the wax ring, and fitting the toilet back in your bathroom.
1. Empty Toilet
- By rotating the valve clockwise, turn the water supply valve off to the toilet. Remove the toilet tank lid, then flush the toilet.
- Hold down your toilet handle to ensure that as much water as possible drains from the tank and bowl.
- Use a sponge to remove any remaining water in the bowl.
- Use a plunger to force remaining water from the bowl down the drain and sponge out the last drops.
2. Detach Your Toilet
- Remove the 3/8-inch compression nut and the water supply line hose from the toilet fill valve.
- After the wax seal is replaced, this will aid in resetting the toilet.
- Replace the water supply line hose when replacing a wax seal.
- Remove the bolts and washers by prying upward using a flathead screwdriver. Apply penetrating oil to help loosen nuts and bolts around the toilet base.
- If you don’t need to install new bolts, keep the old ones safe.
- Place your toilet somewhere safe. (Read Do Wool Rugs Shed)
Step 2: Install the New Wax Ring
1. Remove Wax Ring
- Remove and discard the old wax ring while using gloves.
- Use a putty knife, rag, or paper towel, and scrape the old wax seal from the toilet and flange base.
- Remove the remaining caulk from the toilet bowl and finished floor. After you’ve removed the old wax ring, seal the drain with enough rag or paper towel to prevent it from falling into the pipe.
Note: Sewer gas can enter homes through an unplugged drain.
2. Replace Toilet Flange Bolts
- Install new toilet bolts now if you’re replacing old ones. If you keep the existing bolts, ensure they’re in good shape before applying the wax.
- Ensure the bolts are parallel to the finished wall behind the toilet tank and centered with the flange opening.
- Before installing the new toilet mounting bolts, make necessary repairs or add spacers.
Fit Wax Ring
Place the new wax seal on your toilet flange and center it.
4. Position the Toilet
Use the bolts as a guide to lift and position the toilet. When placing the toilet on the new wax seal, make sure you lift it to keep the toilet level.
The toilet tank should be perpendicular to the back wall. As you place the toilet on the new wax seal, don’t rock it. Be careful and twist the toilet bowl from side to side until it sits on the finished bathroom floor.
5. Bolt Toilet to Your Floor
Replace the washers and bolts in the same order and location as before. Tighten the bolts a little at a time, alternating sides, until the toilet bowl rests firmly and evenly on the finished floor.
The toilet bowl may be damaged or cracked if you over-tighten the attached bolts.
6. Reconnect Toilet and Check Toilet Wax Ring
Apply new Teflon tape to the tank inlet threads for the water supply to complete your job.
Turn on the water and fill the tank before flushing. Place tissue at the base of the toilet bowl where it sits on your finished floor and flush. (Learn How Tight To Tighten Toilet Tank Bolts)
The tissue gets wet if the wax seal isn’t seated correctly.
7. Seal With Caulk
If there are no leaks, seal the base of the toilet bowl to the floor using caulk and leave an observation gap at the rear of the bowl facing the wall. If water ever comes from the hole, then you leak.