How To Remove a Toilet Seat

People only think about removing their toilet seats when they need to change it to a new one. However, because of sanitary reasons it should be done more often.

Toilet seats are homes to dirts and germs. According to research, each square inch of a toilet seat contains about 50 disease-causing microbes. For this reason, a regular and thorough deep cleaning of the toilet seat is necessary.

Removing your toilet seat is crucial when bathroom cleaning as it gives you access to hidden spaces and corners. Thinking about it though can be discouraging. Having to clean the bathroom is enough of a chore. Who wants to go through an extra strenuous process every time they have to do it?

Well, it might help you to know that removing a toilet seat is no big deal. Whether you want to remove your toilet seat to replace it or as part of a cleaning routine, you can get the task done easily with a few home tools.

Removing a toilet seat involves unscrewing the bolts that hold the seat in place. This is done by locating and opening the bolt housing and providing access to the bolts and nuts. Then, you can remove the bolts while holding the nuts with which they are held.

Pretty simple, right? But that won’t do. Let’s go over the details on how to do it in a few simple yet explanatory steps.


Tape the Toilet Seat and Cover

To start with, tape the toilet seat and lid together. While this is a step you can skip, it’s recommended because it can make the overall job easier. Having the seat fall over can make your job ten times more frustrating not to talk of having it slam on your fingers.

Now, we don’t want that, right? So get your duct tape and tape ready.


Open the Bolt Caps

Many new toilets use bolts and nuts to hold their seats together. For most newer toilet models, these bolts are housed under a small plastic cover. However, if your toilet doesn’t use bolt caps, you can totally skip this part. 

If yours does, you have to start with opening these covers. You just have to pry upwards on the plastic housing with your fingers or a flat head screwdriver. 

Removing the bolt caps might not be very easy, especially if the seat has been there for a long time. However, you’ll want to be careful with this step as you don’t want to cause damage. The caps themselves are usually made of plastic, and being too aggressive with them can cause them to rip or crack. 

Even if it will take some time, gently prying on the bolt covers will provide enough pressure to open them.


Grip The Bolt Nuts

Once the bolts caps are out, you should see a nut screwed onto the threaded end of each bolts. You have to find a way to hold the nut in place so that you can unscrew the bolt.

Some toilet seat attachments use a sort of wingnut. If you use one of these, you can simply reach under the seat and hold the wingnut in place. However, if the nut doesn’t come in a wingnut shape, try using a pair of pliers or a wrench. A pair of tongue-and-groove pliers or a basin wrench can do the job.

You also don’t have to use your hands if you have a weak grip. Using pliers and wrench is actually a more reliable way of getting a firm hold of the nut fastening the bolt.

Again, be careful. Always use light pressure when working on your toilet to avoid cracking or chipping of the porcelain or china material. You also don’t want to break or deform the fastener either, which usually comes in plastic.


Remove the Bolts

This is the technical part. When unfastening the bolt, it is important that you use the appropriate tool. In most cases, a standard screwdriver is enough but you have to make sure it’s the right size.

Most toilet bolt heads are plastic and a screwdriver that is too small can easily deform it. To be on the safer side, it is best to opt for a large size screwdriver that will fit your bolt head.

Back to the unfastening process, drive your screwdriver into the bolt head while you’re holding the nut in place. Then, turn it counterclockwise to unscrew the bolt.

Keep in mind that too much pressure might strip the screw head. You want to avoid this as it can make the task way more challenging than it needs to be.

An old toilet or one that uses metal bolts can be more stubborn so you’ll have to use a penetrating oil on them. Commercial penetrating oil like WD40 is made for things like this, but if you don’t have any, a solution of 90% vegetable oil and 10% acetone works just fine. Apply the oil around the metal parts and let it sit for about ten minutes. This should make the removal of the screws easier.

Considering that you have to keep your grip on the nut throughout the unscrewing process, you might need help with holding the nut or unscrewing the bolt. If you can’t find someone to hold it, just play around with your hand positions to make sure you can do both at the same time.


Remove the Seat

Once the bolts are completely detached, the seats should come up easily. But first, you should remove the nuts, bolts, bolt covers and any other loose hardware that goes with the seat.

You want to keep them in a secure place so that they don’t get lost as they are small pieces and can easily get scattered. A sealable plastic bag is a good place to hold them. After collecting these items, you can go on to remove the seat.

I’m sure you agree with me that removing a toilet seat isn’t as difficult as the tightened bolts make it seem. Now that it’s off, you can install a new one!

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