How to Remove the Lid From a Toilet Cistern

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You can remove the lid from a toilet cistern.
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A toilet cistern, more commonly known as the toilet tank, is the part of the toilet that holds the water used to flush the toilet. The toilet handle is located on the outside of the cistern, and the float and chain mechanism are located within the cistern. There are several reasons you might need to remove the lid to a toilet cistern, and doing so is fairly straightforward. However, if you have a close-coupled toilet, the entire unit is one piece, making removal a bit more complicated.


Common Toilet Cistern Lid Removal

Most toilets have a ceramic or porcelain cistern lid that sits on top of the tank. In nearly all cases, you can simply lift the lid from beneath its lip and set it aside, granting you full access to the cistern. You might wish to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from germs during this process. If you do not opt for hand protection, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after completing your repairs.

If you will be making repairs inside the toilet tank, you should set the tank lid to the side while you work. These lids can be heavy, so avoid setting your lid down quickly or with any force, particularly if you plan to put it on the toilet bowl cover, a ceramic bathroom sink or a tiled floor. Ideally, once you've lifted the cistern lid off, lay it on a towel to keep it from scratching or otherwise damaging whatever it's sitting on. This will also keep the area dry, which can help to prevent slip-and-fall accidents.


If you'll be completing any repairs inside your toilet that deal with water flow, you might wish to turn the water off at the valve on the threaded metal supply pipe under or behind the toilet. This will prevent the water from continuing to flow while you manipulate the flush handle.

Close-Coupled Toilet Cistern Lids

If you have a close-coupled toilet, it is a bit more complicated to remove the lid to the tank. This is because the toilet is made in one piece. The cistern lid can still be removed, however.


To get started, you will need to identify the button socket on the lid. If you hold one of these buttons all the way down, the toilet will flush, and you can then use your finger to push the side of the second button. There is a notch that you should be able to reach with your nail; pull out the button and set it to the side.

In the socket where the button had been, you'll see a screw, likely made of plastic. Use a screwdriver that has a wide, flat blade to remove the screw and allow for removal of the chrome plate surrounding the flush button. From there, you should be able to remove the toilet tank's lid. Once again, you should set the lid gently on a towel and avoid dropping it or placing it with force on any delicate bathroom surfaces.


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Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (, and she enjoys writing home and DIY articles and blogs for clients in a variety of related industries. She also runs her own lifestyle blog, Sweet Frivolity (

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