Learn How To Fix A Toilet Seat Step-By-Step

Who doesn’t want a functional toilet? The components for one are a good water source, a working toilet flush system and of course a soft close toilet seat and one that stays up or down depending on where you want to place it. Unfortunately, the seat could loosen and wiggle slightly from side to side because of the high traffic.

man opening a toilet lid

A loose toilet seat is a common problem! It is caused by the constant closing, opening, and sitting that loosens the bolts securing the seat to the toilet’s body. The good news is that fixing it is a simple DIY home repair project you can manage yourself in just a few minutes. All you need to do is follow our guide to find out how to fix a toilet seat before you consider calling a plumber or replacing it!

3 reasons why your toilet seat won’t stay still

Are you wondering why you have a wobbly toilet seat? Finding the root of the problem will help you fix it later! Here are the main reasons why it won’t stay still.

1. Your seat is too far back

The most common reason for a seat needing fixing is that it’s installed too far back, especially when a professional plumber does not install it. The angle between the bowl and the seat needs to be beyond 90 degrees. Otherwise, the seat cannot rest against the toilet tank, and it will fall. If this is the case, you should follow the steps mentioned below, loosen the lid, pull the seat forward, and tighten the top again.

2. The toilet is not level

You can find out if your toilet is level using a level and putting it on a closed lid. You may also download a level application on your phone. If you find out that it is not level, you will need some toilet wedges or sims to fix the problem. These are small plastic items that you can use under the toilet to make it level. All you need to do is place them around the toilet’s base and push them under.

3. The toilet lid is too thick

The final reason for an unsteady toilet seat could be that the lid is simply too thick for the seat. This can sometimes occur when you have a cover for the seat. If you have one, you should first try removing it. If this doesn’t solve the problem, your only option is to purchase a new lid or a new toilet seat. Before you buy any of these and replace your old toilet seat or lid, attempt pushing your lid on the toilet tank back as much as you can.

hand of a man is closing the toilet lid

How to tighten a toilet seat with a screwdriver

Your seat may wobble, but just a few minutes and some basic tools can make your toilet seat steady again. All you need to do is grab your screwdriver and follow our toilet seat fixing guide!

Step 1: Find the bolts

Most toilet seat bolts are exposed, but some have a plastic cap that snaps closed to cover them. Pry these plastic covers using a screwdriver to open to reveal the bolts that secure the seat to the toilet bowl’s top. 

Step 2: Tighten the bolts

If the top of the bolts has slotted heads, tighten them by turning clockwise with your screw until they are tight. For the seat to sit level, you should tighten the bolts evenly on each side. If they just spin without tightening, you should use a pair of pliers to grip the nut threaded onto the mounting bolt from below your toilet as you tighten it from above with the screw. Just be careful; if there are plastic bolts, do not over tighten them as you could crack them. 

Step 3: Tighten from below

If necessary, you may tighten the mounting wing nut from underneath. You should turn the toilet seat nuts clockwise till they are tight. You can either use a ratchet wrench with a deep socket, a spanner or an adjustable wrench to tighten these bolts

Step 4: Replace the bolts with top-fixing ones (optional)

If the bolts break or won’t tighten with your flathead screwdriver, you may purchase replacement ones at a home improvement or a hardware store. You may have to cut frozen off with a hacksaw blade. Make sure to use only the blade since it is thin and it can fit under the head of the bolt. You can also use short-handle or mini-hacksaws when working in tight spaces. Lastly, you can use something that hardens as it dries, like caulk or glue around the bolts to keep them more sturdy.

close-up image of a man’s hands repairing the toilet seat

How to use a toilet seat tightening kit

If you also need to replace hinges beside bolts, it’s best to purchase a toilet seat replacement kit for less than £7 at your local hardware store. Most kits include bolts, nuts and hinges with screws. There are several kit types you can find for all types of toilets and one that will fit your needs. For example, you may need one with only replacement bolts with rubber washers and nuts. Here’s how to use what you’ll find in a kit:

  • With new or old hinges securely in place, screw the bolts one at a time by holding each nut at the base. Drop the bolt into the nut’s centre, and use the screw to secure each bolt in a clockwise motion. Test your seat to ensure it doesn’t move side to side. This should do the trick!
  • To add washers, remove the nuts from the mounting bolts and slip the rubber washers onto the bolts from underneath your toilet bowl. Loosely thread the nuts back onto the bolts, and you’re done.
  • To tighten the bolts and nuts, start by carefully aligning the seat. Then tighten the nuts by hand and use the speciality tool to tighten the bolts another 1/4 turn to ensure it is snug.
  • Plastic stabilisers keep the seat centred on your toilet by eliminating loosening caused by side-to-side movement. To install a set of toilet seat stabilisers, loop the rubber band around the seat and centre them, so they touch the bowl’s inside rim. Then, drill a starter hole and secure them with screws from the kit.

hand lifting a toilet seat
From the constant opening and closing of the lid and seat to the pressure of people sitting on it, your toilet probably gets more traffic than any other seat in the home. That’s why it’s understandable that the seat could loosen. This wobbling is no not only an annoyance but also a potentially unsafe situation. Fortunately, settling it right can be an easy DIY job, even if you have to fix a soft close seat. With some basic tools and our instructions, you can have your toilet seat feel brand new again in no time!

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