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2 Ways to Flush a Toilet Without Running Water

October 5, 2021

We live in a time where getting rid of our “business” is as easy as pushing a button or pressing a handle. However, there may be a situation when running water is not available for you to flush your toilet. Running water might be cut off due to a natural disaster or shut off due to plumbing maintenance being performed in your home or on city water lines.

When you don’t have running water to flush your toilet, you have a few options. You can either wait to flush until you have running water once again or use one of the two methods below to flush your toilet “manually.”

First, Some Tips

  • Once the water is shut off, you should have enough for one more flush with the toilet handle.
  • If you know your water will be shut off, fill up all the bathtubs in your home ahead of time so that you’ll have clean water to use for flushing or other household purposes.
  • Swimming pools, hot tubs, and nearby bodies of water can also be good sources of water for flushing toilets. Because of the chemicals in pool water and the unknown substances in natural bodies of water, please don’t use it for any other household or drinking purposes.

Option 1 for Flushing Your Toilet: The “Pour-Over” Method

Now here in Seattle, we love a good pour-over coffee to start the day, and it turns out that a similar method can get your toilet to flush without running water. You see, when you flush your toilet the usual way, you’re essentially pouring a bunch of water into the bowl to push waste down into the drain pipes. You can do the same thing with a bucket of water.


  1. Get a bucket or other large container of water that you can easily lift and pour without spilling everywhere. This is the water you’re going to use to flush. You will need a minimum of one gallon.
  2. Once you’re ready to flush, start pouring the water into the toilet bowl. To create a good flush, the trick is to start pouring slowly and then quickly pour the rest into the bowl. (Think of how when you flush with the handle, the water starts flowing in slowly at first before rushing in fast.)

You can repeat this process as often as needed until running water is restored.

Option 2 for Flushing Your Toilet: The Tank Method

This method may be a bit easier than the “pour over” method. However, it requires more gallons of water. If you own an older, inefficient toilet, it may need many more gallons per flush.


  1. Open the lid of your toilet tank.
  2. When you need to flush your toilet, pour in enough water until it reaches the overflow line.
  3. You’ll have enough for one flush.

Need reliable plumbing services in the Seattle area? Contact The Plumbing Joint Inc. today at (425) 228-3204!