If you need to flush a toilet while the running water is off at home, here’s how to do it, and what to watch out for.

First of all, you’re going to need water storage (before the crisis). Check it out, then come back and read on…

Water Storage For Your Tub

I’ll explain how much you’ll need to flush and what to do with your toilet.


Under temporary water outage conditions, you can easily flush your own toilet.

You will still need water, but you don’t need running water from the pipes in your own house plumbing.

1. Get some water to flush the toilet
Using the container listed above (conveniently water-tight for transporting water),

– Ask a neighbor if you can fill the water container (if they have running water!)
– Is there a back yard swimming pool nearby?
– Nearby water source such as a pond, creek, stream, lake
– Get in your car and drive to any water source. Submerge container and fill ‘er up.

2. Remove the toilet tank reservoir lid. If you have already flushed the toilet once since the running water stopped, the tank will be empty.

3. Using the spout on the water container, fill the toilet tank up until the water almost reaches the top of the overflow tube as shown.

Note: Chances are that you won’t have to fill the toilet tank all the way to the top of the tube. Experiment with less – enough to ‘get the job done’ (e.g. try 2/3 the way up).

4. Then flush the toilet!.

Note: Most modern efficient toilets only require about 1.5 or 2 gallons (or less) of water to flush the toilet effectively. Older toilets may require several gallons or more.

This is one of the many important reasons why you should ALWAYS keep a supply of emergency water in your home. You can store water in purpose-made containers for long term storage, and use it as an emergency supply for drinking water or even for flushing your toilet ;)

For example, the container that I listed above (5.5 gallons) will get you between 2 and 4 flushes, depending on the toilet.

Related articles:
Practical Portable Drinking Water Storage
Water Barrel Storage For Emergencies.

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