Here’s how to flush a toilet without water

flush a toilet without water

Do you know how to flush a toilet without running water? You may be surprised that there are actually plenty of ways to do so. The trick is to use the power of gravity by filling up a pot or bucket with water and using it as an alternative source for flushing a toilet.

To best understand this topic, it’s useful to know how a toilet tank works.

Basically, water is stored in the tank when you flush. Waste is flushed into a holding area while freshwater goes to refill the tank. The process repeats until the toilet is ready for use again.

By knowing this, you should now be able to understand why flushing with water will always work but flushing without water can be tricky at times.

So how do you flush a toilet without running water? Here are some easy ways to get the job done.

How to flush a toilet without water with a bucket

While you don’t have access to running water, you’ll still be able to flush your toilet if you have another source available.

Here are the steps in order to flush a toilet without water with a bucket:

Step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Prepare the bucket

First, make sure that you have an adequately sized bucket of water or vessel that is able to cover the bowl of your toilet.  

The size of this container must be large enough so that it can hold all of the waste and allow water to flow freely without splashing out. You’ll need at least 1 gallon of water to flush your toilet.

Step 2:  Pour water into the toilet bowl

Make sure that it is centered and cover as much of the bowl with water as possible. You must now add in a small amount of “detergent” or “cleaner” to help loosen up any waste that may be present in your toilet.

This step is optional but highly recommended.

Step 3: Flush the toilet

When you’re sure the toilet bowl is covered with water, proceed to flush your toilet by pushing down on the handle as usual. 

Step 4: One more flush if necessary

The water will slowly flow through the pipes in your toilet and wash away all waste towards your main water drain. When this happens, flush again as needed until there is no more waste in the toilet bowl.

In fact, you can even use this method to help get rid of any clogs in your toilet drain. The same procedure will apply, but be sure that the vessel you’ve chosen is large enough so as not to cause any overflow problems or restrict water flow through your pipes.

If you end up clogging your toilet bowl and the water begins to rise, use this same method but be sure to flush with a regular gallon of water. We do not recommend that you try to flush more than once in a row unless it is absolutely necessary.  The reason for this is that any extra waste or blockage in your toilet will immediately stop the flow of water, which could make it harder for you to clear the clog.

In addition, you should always keep a bucket of water or suitable vessel near your toilet when the water is off in case of an emergency. Water supply may be scarce in certain areas and having this readily available will save you time from having to search for one when nature calls.

And that’s it for another simple way to flush a toilet without water.

Flush a toilet without water: manually filling the toilet tank

All you have to do is fill the toilet tank with water until it reaches the overflow line then press down on the handle for about 10 seconds. If you want to flush more than that, press down on the handle until the tank is empty.

Step-by-step guide to flush the toilet by filling the toilet tank with no running water

Step 1: Remove the top part of the toilet

You will need to remove the top part of your toilet. You can unscrew it or sometimes they just snap off. If you use a tool like pliers, be careful not to break it. Normally there are 3 bolts holding this top part on so make sure that you remove the bolts.

Step 2: Find the tank by looking for a tube with water going into it

The tank will be located right underneath the waterline. You should see a tube that has water going into it and is leading up to it. If you can’t find this tube then there is no need to worry, because it is normally located by the bowl of the toilet.

Step 3: Open the tube

The tube will have a clip on it to stop any water from coming out. Simply pull down on the clips and take off this part of the tube. You can then fill the tank by pouring the water in there. To do this, you should use a funnel or something similar.

Step 4: Fill up the tank

You should make sure that you fill-up the tank until it reaches the line that is located inside. This line can be found right at the top of the tank. Use something to measure how much water there is in there so you know if there is enough or not. If the toilet does not flush right away, then simply add more water.

If this does not work, then it could mean that your toilet needs to be repaired. If this is the case, then you can call a plumber to come out and have a look at your toilet. They will be able to recommend whether or not it needs fixing and if so, how they will do it.

Using a dry flush or composting toilet

If the DIY style options above don’t cut it for you, consider investing in a proper composting toilet!

These can be sleek, modern units. Some are even certified by the NSF.

Composting toilets save water from being wasted down the drain (literally), and you can even compost the waste material. This is why they are often called the ultimate small footprint toilet.


It can be a frustrating and rather embarrassing situation when you have to go, but the toilet is clogged and there’s no running water.

If you need to flush a toilet without water, these are some ways that might work for you.

It is important to note that these techniques will not be effective with all types of toilets and may take more than one try before the bowl can be emptied completely. Give it your best shot so you don’t have unpleasant waste at home.

Read on to find out more about how composting toilets work!