How to Replace a Toilet Wax Ring

A toilet wax ring is installed around your toilet's flange to seal the connection between your toilet and your home's plumbing. Over time, the wax can deform and fall apart, allowing the toilet to rock on its base and also allowing foul odors and water to seep into your home. Thankfully, replacing a wax ring is a fairly straightforward process that you do yourself.

Before You Begin

You'll need a replacement wax ring, a putty knife, rags, replacement flange bolts, an adjustable wrench, a pair of pliers, and a wet/dry shop vacuum. All of these items can be found at most hardware stores if you do not already have them at home.

Replacing the Wax Ring

  1. First, turn the water supply to your toilet off. The shut-off valve is usually located just beside the toilet, but if your toilet does not have a dedicated shut-off valve, you'll have to turn off the water supply to your entire home.
  2. Flush the toilet to drain the toilet bowl and tank. Use the shop vacuum to remove any remaining water.
  3. Disconnect the water supply line from the toilet tank, using the adjustable wrench if needed.
  4. Use the wrench to remove the bolts holding the base of the toilet to the flange bolts, turning counterclockwise to loosen them.
  5. Set up rags or towels on the floor off to the side. Lift the toilet off of the flange bolts, placing it on its side on top of the rags. If the toilet is too heavy, move the tank and bowl separately, but be sure to place the toilet bowl on its side.
  6. Use a rag to plug the toilet flange to prevent foul odors from leaking into your home. Use the putty knife to remove the old wax ring from around the flange.
  7. Check the flange bolts for signs of rust or damage. If the threads have worn down or otherwise seem unsuitable for further use, replace them by unscrewing them and sliding them out of the flange. Then, take the new flange bolts and slide them along the grooves in the flange and turn them clockwise to tighten them in place.
  8. Check the base of the toilet and remove any stuck-on wax using the putty knife. Then, place the wax ring around the toilet drain.
  9. Lift the toilet base and lower it slowly over the flange, ensuring that the flange bolts are lined up with the holes in the base of the toilet.
  10. Sit on the toilet to ensure that the wax ring sets a seal properly. Then, simply screw the bolts back onto the flange bolts by hand, and then give them a half turn with the adjustable wrench after you can no longer turn them by hand. Take care to not overtighten, as this can crack the toilet.
  11. Reconnect the water supply line and allow the toilet tank to fill up. You are now good to go!

If you feel that you'd prefer to have professional help for this job, contact a plumber through a company like Angeles Plumbing.