10 Tips for Removing Rusted Toilet Tank Bolts in [2022]

When you have rusted toilet tank bolts. It can be very difficult to remove them without the right tools or a lot of elbow grease. Even if you manage to get them out, they’ll likely be unusable and need to be replaced entirely. Which can be costly and time-consuming. The best way to remove rusted toilet tank bolts is by using the right methods and tools every time. These 10 tips will help you avoid having to replace your bolts as much and will help keep your toilet in great shape over time.

1:Admit defeat if you need to

Sometimes you simply can’t get your toilet tank bolts off. There are countless ways to try and remove rusted bolts. But sometimes they won’t budge. The best advice we can give is to admit defeat and call a professional. Never use an open flame of any kind on a toilet (or any plumbing fixture). Even if you think it’s clean, there could be lead or other harmful minerals or chemicals in your water supply. That will melt right into your skin when heated potentially resulting in brain damage, nerve damage, and even death. Instead of burning yourself with toxic chemicals, call a plumber. You know what they say. If something can go wrong with the plumbing, it will go wrong.

More information related to the toilet includes How to Unclog a Toilet Clogged with Tampons?

2:Use a pumice stone instead of an emery board

Emery boards and pumice stones are popular methods of removing rust. But if you use a pumice stone instead, you’ll save yourself time, effort, and money. Emery boards require constant repositioning while you sand down a single area. Pumice stones, on the other hand, allow you to rub against larger sections of your bolt at once. Meaning your toilet will be shiny in no time flat. Plus, pumice stones are much cheaper than emery boards (usually about 10 cents each). Using one means you’ll spend less money getting your toilet tank bolts up to par.

We shared a lot of information related to the toilet. You can also unclog a toilet with poop in it.

3: Invest in the right tools

One of your biggest challenges will be loosening up old, rusted toilet tank bolts. A little DIY know-how can go a long way toward making your job easier and more successful. For example, you’ll want to invest in a set of Allen wrenches. They come in sizes ranging from 1/8 to 1, allowing you to choose one that matches. Whatever type of bolt is holding your toilet’s tank onto its base. Most sets also include an Allen wrench that adjusts from 3/16 (for soft metals) to 1⁄2 (for harder metals). Here’s another pro-tip. If you don’t have an adjustable wrench on hand. Try wrapping some paper around a standard wrench before using it. It’ll give you more surface area for turning.

You can also remove the Bemis toilet seatby following all the steps very carefully.

4: Use rust remover, even if it doesn’t say rust remover on the label

Most of us are familiar with WD-40, and it’s great at de-gunking grease. But it’s also great at rust removal. If you have rusted bolts on a toilet or sink, spray some WD-40 on them. Wait around 10 minutes and try to remove them again. Repeat if necessary. The best part is that WD-40 does not attack metal in such a way that it corrodes any further. it just loosens up stuff. So even if you think you’ve already ruined your bolts. Try out a little bit of WD-40 before reaching for more serious rust removers. If all else fails, read below!

1:Wear rubber gloves when using a rust remover

To avoid getting chemical residue on your skin, wear rubber gloves when handling any rust remover. Rubber gloves will also help prevent your skin from absorbing any of these chemicals. Reducing your risk of an allergic reaction or rash. Most commercial rust removers require gloves. So be sure to read and follow all safety instructions before beginning work.

Sand after using a rust remover

After using a rust remover, sanding your toilet tank bolts is an important step to remove any remaining rust particles. It’s better to err on the side of caution and do too much sanding than not enough. You can always use your wire brush again. Wipe away all residue from sanding, then move on to step two of removing rusted toilet tank bolts.

Soak in vinegar, then use a toilet brush

Whether it’s due to old age or constant use, you might have a hard time loosening rusted bolts. First, try using a wire brush to remove any loose rust from your bolts. Then pour some vinegar into a bucket and let your toilet tank sit in it overnight. In the morning, just scrape off any residue with your toilet brush. And use an adjustable wrench to loosen those rusted bolts. If they still won’t budge, try heating them with a blowtorch or torch. As you heat them, apply penetrating oil until you can turn them free. Don’t worry if that seems like overkill—you don’t need to burn your tank down.

Soak again before using a bottle brush

Once you’ve soaked, repeat Step 2 but use a bottle brush to scrub all around each bolt. If you don’t have a bottle brush, a clean rag works too (but be gentle—we wouldn’t want you to scratch your toilet tank). Again, let it sit overnight and return in the morning. Then…? Use WD-40. You can spray on WD-40 or another penetrating oil such as Liquid Wrench or Kano Kroil. Let it soak for 15 minutes or so before returning to continue loosening bolts with an adjustable wrench or socket wrench. Repeat until all bolts are removed. Use pliers if necessary. But avoid any force that could crack the porcelain.

Spray WD-40 on a stiff bristle brush and use it as a scrubbing agent

Put on a pair of rubber gloves, using a stiff bristle brush that’s been lightly sprayed with WD-40. Apply pressure to one side of a bolt. Use an adjustable wrench to turn the bolt counter-clockwise while holding the brush firmly against bolts. Repeat as necessary until the toilet tank is loose. If bolts are frozen in place, slowly pour small amounts of white vinegar over each nut. This will help loosen rust. Which can then be removed by scraping with a screwdriver or prying it away with vise grips. If that doesn’t work, heat bolts with a propane torch until they glow red and then use pliers to remove them after they cool down.

There is also an easy solution for Toilet swirls that won’t flush.

Inject water into the bolt hole with a syringe (try this first!)

If you are trying to remove rusted toilet tank bolts. One thing that might work is to inject water into the bolt hole with a syringe. When water fills up inside the bolt hole, it can dissolve rust and make bolts easier to remove. It should work pretty fast but there’s no guarantee on whether it will work or not. So make sure you have other removal options ready as well. If injecting water doesn’t do anything, try breaking off bolts with penetrating oil. If injecting water doesn’t do anything, you can try using a bottle of penetrating oil around the bolt head first.


Do not neglect professional help if you’re determined to get rid of rust in your toilet. If you choose to do it yourself, here are 10 tips to help you get the job done

1. De-water the tank and bowl with a wet/dry vacuum or drain cleaner.

 2. Clean off any remaining residue from previous attempts at removing rust using an abrasive pad, steel wool, or scouring powder.

 3. Apply penetrating oil (WD-40 is a common choice) around bolts and nuts that have rusted shut before beginning the removal process.

 4. Using an adjustable wrench and socket set. Remove bolts holding the toilet tank to the bowl.

 5. Remove bolts holding seat to a bowl using socket set as well as a screwdriver if necessary

 6. Carefully lift the seat from the bowl, being careful not to damage porcelain

7. Remove any screws holding the water supply line to the bottom of the tank

8. Disconnect water supply line

9. Pry out old flapper valve assembly

10. Replace flapper valve assembly with the new one

Leave a Comment