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How to clean a toilet fill valve | Step by step guide

Doing a thorough cleaning of your toilet? Or are you just cleaning your tank? Anyway, it’s always best to check your tank twice a year, including your toilet fill valve. If it needs a cleaning, here’s how:

To clean a toilet fill valve you first need to take off the cover of your toilet tank. Then, you inspect the fill valve for any damage or clogs. After that you either let the tank soak in a mixture of water and white vinegar, or you take out the fill valve, clean it, and flush it through.

Keep reading to see the step by step on how to flush and clean your fill valve.

Materials needed to clean a toilet fill valve

Since you are working with a toilet hygiene is very important. Gloves always come in handy when cleaning a toilet. However, since you are working with a part that does not come into direct contact with human waste, you don’t need gloves. Honestly, they are too inconvenient to wear when working with a fill valve’s small parts.

So what do you need?

Materials needed to clean a toilet fill valve

  • An old toothbrush or small brush
  • A sponge to soak up water from the tank
  • white vinegar
  • Water
  • Measuring cup
how to clean fill valve

Can I clean a toilet fill valve?

It is possible to clean a toilet fill valve by taking it out. Then, you need a small brush that can get into the nooks and crannies of all of the components. An old toothbrush is perfect for this.

I made an image that visualizes the inside of a toilet tank so you know what parts I am talking about. You can find a similar image (without the toilet tank pictured) further down this article.

how to clean fill valve

So how do we clean a fill valve?

To clean a fill valve:

  1. Turn off the water supply to your toilet
  2. Flush the toilet and take off the lid of the tank
    • If the water does not refill, you know the supply is turned off correctly
  3. Soak up any leftover water with a large sponge
  4. Disconnect the water supply line that connects to the fill valve
    • You find this underneath the tank
    • Put a bucket or towel underneath to catch any remaining water
  5. Detach the refill tube clip and pull out the fill valve
  6. Clean the Fill Valve
    • Fill a bucket or container with a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water. Submerge the fill valve in this solution for 30 minutes to an hour. This will help dissolve mineral deposits and loosen any debris.
    • If you want to clean your entire toilet tank, you can leave the fill valve inside the tank and fill the tank with an equal mixture of vinegar and water and let it soak overnight.
  7. Scrub and Rinse
    • After soaking, use a (tooth)brush or cloth to gently scrub the fill valve to remove any remaining residue. Rinse it thoroughly with clean water until no traces of any gunk.
  8. Reassemble
    • Reattach the cleaned fill valve to the tank, reclip the refill tube clip, and reconnect the water supply line.
  9. Turn On the Water supply

Here’s a handy video that covers taking out a fill valve:

How often should I clean a fill valve?

A fill valve should be cleaned once, max twice a year. Fortunately cleaning a fill valve isn’t hard at all. It only takes a few minutes. If you upkeep the maintenance of your toilet tank cleaning the insides is super easily done.

Plus, no one is going to look inside your tank anyway. Cleaning the fill valve is purely to ensure you won’t have any problem flushing your toilet.

How do you fix a clogged fill valve?

To fix a clogged fill valve you need to locate the blockage. If it’s somewhere in the fill tube or underneath the fill cap you should flush it through.

Flushing out the fill tube

Sometimes there is debris or build-up inside your fill tube. If you want to flush out the fill tube you:

  1. Turn off the water supply to your toilet
  2. Take off the lid of the tank
  3. Twist the valve cap off and look inside for any debris
    • Try cleaning it or pulling anything out
  4. Place a cup above the valve
  5. Turn on the water supply on full blast for a few seconds to rinse out the fill tube
  6. Turn the water supply back off and twist the valve cap back on
  7. Turn the water supply back on

Here’s a handy instruction video:

Can anyone clean a fill valve?

It is possible for you to clean your own fill valve. You do not need to hire a plumber to do this. All it takes is some instructions and you are on your way.

Cleaning a fill valve only takes a few minutes. However, if you want to soak your fill valve it might take an hour. Or better yet, overnight.

Just make sure to inform everyone in your household that they cannot use the toilet when you are soaking the valve!

Trust me.

How do you remove debris from a fill valve?

There’s two ways of removing debris from a fill valve:

  • Soaking the fill valve to loosen any build-up
  • Cleaning it with a brush and cloth
  • Flushing the fill valve

You can combine these methods to ensure there’s no gunk left.

How does a fill valve get clogged?

A fill valve gets clogged due to water running through the valve to replenish the tank after each flush. This water might contain minerals, sediments or tiny debris. Over the years, these impurities can accumulate in the fill valve, gradually forming blockages.

To combat this, you can make use of filters.

How to avoid getting fill valve clogged

To avoid getting your fill valve clogged you need to check your water. You can use water filters to filter out hard water so that there will be less build-up over time. Another prevention method is to clean your tank at least twice a year.

Filters that can be used on a toilet to improve your water quality are:

  • Inline filter
    • These are installed in the water supply line leading to the toilet (point of entry)
    • Removes impurities, sediment, and other contaminants, providing cleaner water for flushing and reducing the risk of mineral buildup in the toilet tank
  • Hard water filter (water softener)
    • Usually installed at the point of entry
    • Must be installed by a professional
  • Carbon filter
    • Not necessarily to avoid any clogs but according to the US Department of Health, carbon filters can be used to remove odors

It’s best to identify your specific water issue. After that, you can choose the appropriate filter.

How to take apart toilet fill valve

Did you know you can take apart a toilet fill valve? I made an illustration so you can identify all of the parts in your toilet. The mechanism on the left is the fill valve. The mechanism on the right is the flush valve. Study the image before taking apart your fill valve!

how to clean fill valve

Here’s how to take apart your toilet fill valve:

  1. Turn off the water supply to your toilet
  2. Flush the toilet
    • The tank will flush the water down the bowl. Because you shut off the water, the tank won’t refill.
  3. Take off the toilet lid and use a big sponge to soak up the remaining water.
  4. Remove the water supply line
  5. Remove the old fill valve
    • 1. Remove the nut that’s located underneath the tank
    • 2. Take off the refill tube clip that’s attached to the overflow pipe
    • 3. Pull out the fill valve

If you like any more information on fill valves, how they work, and how to replace them, click here.

Now you can check the following parts for any damage or clogged debris:

  • Gasket
  • Adjustment screw
  • Float
  • Fill tube
  • Fill port

Disclaimer: is not responsible for any damage caused to your toilet and surroundings by (wrongly) interpreting information found on this site. Please seek custom advice from a professional to evaluate your current situation.

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