Preparing Your Toilets for a Long Vacation: A Handy Guide

Preparing your toilets may not be a priority when embarking on a long trip. Vacations can be an exhilarating experience, filled with anticipation and excitement. However, it also necessitates a fair amount of preparation, particularly when it comes to safeguarding your home. One area that often gets overlooked in this process is the toilets. It may seem trivial, but proper toilet maintenance before leaving for an extended vacation can help prevent any unpleasant surprises when you return. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps to prepare your toilets for a long vacation, ensuring that everything runs smoothly in your absence.

Why is Toilet Maintenance Important

Before we delve into the specifics of preparing your toilets for a long vacation, it’s crucial to understand why toilet maintenance is so important. Toilets are an integral part of our homes, and neglecting them can lead to a host of issues such as clogs, leaks, and unpleasant odors. These problems can be not only inconvenient but also costly to fix. In some cases, they can even cause significant damage to your home, leading to expensive repairs and renovations.

By taking the time to properly maintain your toilets before leaving for a long trip, you can avoid these issues and have peace of mind while you are away. This way, you can focus on enjoying your vacation, rather than worrying about potential problems at home.

Step 1: Clean and Disinfect

The first step in preparing your toilets for a long vacation is to clean and disinfect them thoroughly. This is not just about maintaining cleanliness, but also about eliminating any bacteria or odors that may be present in the toilet.

Start by scrubbing the bowl with a toilet brush and a mild cleaner. Pay special attention to the rim and under the seat, as these areas can often harbor bacteria and grime. Once the bowl is clean, pour a disinfectant into the bowl and let it sit for a few minutes. This will help kill any remaining bacteria and ensure a deep clean. Then, flush the toilet to rinse away the cleaner and disinfectant. This step will leave your toilet sparkling clean and odor-free, ready for your long absence.

Step 2: Check for Leaks

Before leaving for your trip, it is essential to check for any leaks in your toilets. A leaking toilet can waste a significant amount of water, leading to inflated water bills. Moreover, it can also cause damage to your bathroom floor, which can be expensive to repair.

To check for leaks, add a few drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. Wait for about 30 minutes without flushing. If you see the food coloring in the bowl, it means there is a leak. In this case, it is recommended to call a plumber to fix the issue before you leave. This step will ensure that your toilets are in good working order and won’t cause any problems while you are away.

Step 3: Turn Off the Water Supply

To prevent any potential leaks or water damage while you are away, it is advisable to turn off the water supply to your toilets. This is a simple yet effective step that can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

Locate the shut-off valve, which is usually located behind the toilet near the floor. Turn the valve clockwise to shut off the water supply. Once the water supply is turned off, flush the toilet to drain the remaining water in the tank and bowl. This step will help prevent any water-related accidents while you are on vacation.

Step 4: Empty the Tank

To further minimize the risk of leaks or water damage, it is a good idea to empty the toilet tank before leaving. This step might seem unnecessary, but it can go a long way in preventing potential issues.

Start by flushing the toilet to remove most of the water from the tank. Then, use a sponge or a towel to soak up any remaining water. Wring out the sponge or towel into a bucket or sink. Once the tank is empty, you can leave the toilet lid open to allow it to air out and dry completely. This will ensure that there is no stagnant water in the toilet, reducing the risk of leaks or odors.

Step 5: Cover the Bowl

To prevent any unpleasant odors from escaping into your bathroom while you are away, it is recommended to cover the toilet bowl. This is a simple yet effective way to keep your bathroom smelling fresh and clean until you return.

You can use plastic wrap or a toilet bowl cover specifically designed for this purpose. Make sure to securely cover the bowl to create an airtight seal. This will prevent any odors from escaping and will also keep any dust or insects out of the toilet.

Step 6: Inform Housemates or Neighbours

If you have housemates or neighbours who will be staying in your home while you are away, it is important to inform them about the toilet maintenance steps you have taken. This will ensure that they do not accidentally turn on the water supply or flush the toilet, which could lead to leaks or other issues.

Providing clear instructions will help avoid any potential problems and keep your toilets in good condition until you return. It’s also a good idea to leave a note or a sign near the toilet as a reminder.


Preparing your toilets for a long vacation is an essential part of home maintenance. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can ensure that your toilets are in good condition while you are away. Cleaning and disinfecting, checking for leaks, turning off the water supply, emptying the tank, covering the bowl, and informing housemates or neighbours are all important steps to take before leaving.

By taking the time to properly prepare your toilets, you can enjoy your trip without worrying about any toilet-related issues when you return. So, before you pack your bags and set off on your adventure, make sure to give your toilets the attention they deserve. After all, a little preparation can go a long way in ensuring a worry-free vacation.