Arguably the most important seat in your home is the toilet seat. Removing your toilet seat will also assist in the overall hygiene level of your bathroom as well. More often than not, we aren’t able to get into all the nooks and crannies when cleaning the toilet unless you fully remove the toilet seat from the basin. Knowing how to remove a toilet seat, even if you aren’t replacing it, is important knowledge.
If you remove your toilet seat once a week, however, it will eventually break, and you will need to replace the toilet seat. Removing the toilet seat once to clean the hard to reach spots entirely will make future maintenance easier. Using a recycled toothbrush, a small scrubber, or even blasting the awkward spots with a steam cleaner will be just as good and lessen the possibility of a broken seat toilet.
While experts say that there is no recommended lifespan of a toilet seat, it’s a good idea to swap an old toilet seat for a new toilet seat once the toilet seat fixings become compromised. Having a new seat can spruce up your bathroom and, even if you have an older toilet, make the toilet bowl look nicer.
Below, you’ll find a step by step guide on how to remove several different types of toilet seats such as ones with a toilet seat raiser or a bidet attached to it.
- Tongue and Groove Pliers or a Basin Wrench
- Rust Penetrant Oil (optional)
- Socket Set (optional)
- Drill (optional)
- Hacksaw (optional)
- Replacement Toilet Seat Fixings (optional)
How to Remove a Toilet Seat
The following directions will be a step by step guide on how to remove a common toilet. You’ll need the screwdriver for this task.
1. To begin removing the toilet seat, locate the bolt caps at the back of the toilet seat if you have hidden fixings. Otherwise, the toilet seat fixings, the hardware, will be out in the open such as toilet seat hinges. Open the bolt caps and expose the seat fasteners. Some toilet seats may not have bolt caps, the plastic cap that goes over the bolts, but if yours does simply pry the covers upwards. If you can’t get the plastic cap loose, you can pry them open with the screwdriver.
Note: Take care when prying open the covers, the plastic can become compromised over time due to age or cleaners and can break easily.
2. Determine the type of screwdriver you will need. Usually, the bolts used to keep a toilet seat in place are a phillips head style. Next, you’ll need to locate the bottom of the bolt where there is a nut fasted to the end. Some bolt nuts may be similar in shape to a wingnut which would allow you to hold in place with your hand. However, if the bolt is not a wingnut or you have a weak grip, you can use a pair of pliers to grip the bolt.
3. Next, you’ll need to unfasten the bolts with the correct screwdriver. Continue to grip the bolt nut that is threaded to the end of the bolt. Using the screwdriver, insert the end into the bolt head and turn counterclockwise until the bolt breaks loose from the nut.
Note: Some toilet seats may be fasted down with plastic bolts and nuts instead of metal. Using the largest screwdriver available to you that fits the head of the bolt. Using a screwdriver that is too small can deform the plastic bolts and make them unusable.
4. Be sure to collect the nuts, bolts, and loose toilet seat fixings that go along with the toilet seat, you won’t want to lose these if you plan on putting the same toilet seat back on later.
How to Remove a Soft Close Toilet Seat With a Top Mount
- If you have a top mount soft close toilet seat, you’ll need to begin by lifting the toilet seat 90 degrees upwards. Some models may have a push button that you’ll press to release the toilet seat.
- If your soft close toilet seat does not have a push to release mechanism, you’ll need to locate the mounting base. The mounting base will be hidden underneath a plastic cap. Pry the plastic caps off.
- After removing the plastic cap, you’ll now see the hidden fixings that mount the toilet seat. Using a screwdriver, removing the bolts from the toilet bowl.
- You may now remove the mounting base and the accompanying bolt washers.
How to Remove a Soft Close Toilet Seat With a Bottom Mount
- To begin, you’ll need to locate the hidden fixings underneath a plastic cap at the back of the toilet seat. Pry the plastic cap off each side. If you are unable to do this with just your hands, use a flathead screwdriver to remove them.
- For some brands, their soft close toilet seats require you to push a button while at the same time pushing the seat backwards in order to release the toilet seat. Other brands, such as Kohler toilet seats, require you to simply slide the seat backwards without pushing a button. Depending on the brand of toilet seat you have, you will have to do one or the other actions in order to remove the toilet seat.
- Using your screwdriver, place it on the head of the bolt. Using your other hand, locate the wingnut that keeps the seat bolt in place. Hold on to the wingnut as you unscrew the bolt from the toilet bowl.
- You may now remove the mounting hardware from the toilet and collect the toilet seat fixings so as to not lose them if you plan on putting the same toilet seat back onto your toilet.
How to Remove a Toilet Seat with Stubborn Bolts
1. Sometimes metal bolts that attach a toilet seat to the basin become rusty over time. If you’re having a hard time removing the bolts, lubricate the metal hardware with penetrating oil such as WD40. Penetrating oil is meant to revitalize the metal hardware that may have rusted or have built up minerals around the bolt. Thoroughly spray the oil around the bolts and wait 5 to 10 minutes in order to allow the penetrating oil to do its job.
Note: If you don’t have penetrating oil, you can alternatively mix together a mixture of 90% vegetable oil and 10% acetone.
2. Before you begin attempting to detach the toilet seat fixings, secure the toilet seat with tape. When you are working with stubborn toilet seat bolts, you’ll likely jostle or push against the toilet seat in order to gain more traction. In order to prevent breakage to the toilet seat, you’ll want to tape the toilet seat and lid together.
3. When dealing with stubborn toilet seat bolts and bolt nuts, you may be able to break them loose with a socket set. Depending on the design of the toilet, you may need to have a deep socket or an extension in order to reach the nut. Turn the socket wrench counterclockwise firmly to break the nut loose. Apply steady and moderate force with your socket wrench.
Note: If the toilet seat bolt and nut are loose, the nut may turn with the bolt. Using a screwdriver, insert the tool into the head of the bolt to keep it in place until you can finish unscrewing the nut off of the bolt.
4.If you are unable to use a socket set to break the toilet seat bolt or nut loose, you may want to consider cutting the bolt with a hacksaw. A regular hacksaw is able to cut through unmoving toilet seat fixings but may be difficult to use in a narrow space. A mini hacksaw will work but may require a bit more time to saw through the bolt. Depending on the type of toilet seat hinge you have and the bolts connecting the toilet seat to the basin, you may need to cut through the hinge mounts then remove the seat before cutting through the bolts.
Tip: To prevent damage to the porcelain around the head of the toilet seat bolt, you might want to use a broad knife such as a putty knife to cover the basin.
5. If you are unable to break the toilet seat bolt and nut free, you may need to use a drill. Drilling through hard to remove toilet seat bolts should be a last resort. For this task, you’ll need to have safety glasses and a thin drill bit such as a 1/16 inch (1.59 mm) thick. Drill into the bolt with a steady and firm grip where the bolt and the bolt nut meet. Drill through the bolt completely and widen the drill bit until the toilet seat nut comes loose.
Note: This technique should be an absolute last resort. There is a possibility that the drill bit could cause damage to the porcelain or the toilet seat. Drilled metal can also have jagged edges that could cut so use caution when handling the hardware.
In order to maintain the integrity of your toilet seat and the toilet seat fixings, be sure to clean the toilet seat regularly. Buildup of rust or general dirtiness can lead to corrosion and degradation of a toilet seat and the accompanying hardware. When cleaning, be sure to use a suitable general bathroom cleaner as some cleaners can be abrasive and not suited for a toilet seat.
You can also tighten the toilet seat bolts with rubber bushings. Rubber bushings can be bought at any hardware store. Slide the rubber bushing up the bolt threading with the tapered side facing upwards towards the toilet basin. Tighten the nut with the tool that comes with the rubber bushings. This may help in the future when you decide to remove the toilet seat again.
Adding toilet seat stabilizers to lose seats will stop wiggling toilet seats and decrease the chances of you stripping the bolts or plastic screws. The toilet seat stabilizers should be touching the inner rim of the basin. Once the stabilizers are positioned correctly, fast them in place with the screws that accompany them.
Whether you’re removing your toilet seat to replace it with a brand new toilet seat or you’re just wishing for a deeper cleaning, removing a toilet seat can be a tough job sometimes. Thankfully, should you have to cut or drill through the toilet seat bolts, you can purchase replacement bolts from the hardware store including metal bolts, plastic insert screws, plastic screws, and nuts, and even the plastic caps for hidden fixings.
I am John Kluge, co-founder of Toilethackers.org. With 10+ years of experience working with toilets, I have garnered a lot of understanding about resolving toilet-related issues. Knowledge is meant to be shared and I am passionate about teaching people the right way to keep toilets clean and also fix toilet-related issues. I co-founded this blog to share my experiences and keep readers updated about toilet-related issues. Knowledge sharing is my forte and I always do so with ease. With exceptional writing and analytic skill, I use my skill to simplify complex terms and ensure readers grasp more understanding about toilet issues.