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How to Take Off a Toilet Seat (Even if it’s Stuck)

Updated
Your time in the bathroom shouldn't be an uncomfortable experience. Time to replace that old toilet seat.

Is your toilet seat broken or outdated and in need of replacement?

Then you have to learn how to remove a toilet seat based on the mechanism holding it in place. Let’s discover how it’s done and how everyone can make changing a toilet seat simple.


When Should You Replace a Toilet Seat?

A toilet seat is designed to last more than a decade; however, this is the best-case scenario, and it rarely occurs. Toilet seats often become cracked, stained, or damaged within the first five to seven years of use, and that’s when you should consider replacing them.

Problems like cracked toilet seats can be tricky to clean, making them susceptible to bacterial growth. Damaged hardware can cause the seat to slip and slide, which could cause injury. And stained toilet seats are just plain unsightly.

If you’re planning to remodel your bathroom or have just moved in, it’s the perfect time to replace the toilet seat.

How To Remove a Toilet Seat with Hidden Bolts

Most seats come with no bolt caps and are easily seen. But some toilet seats have plastic bolts concealed with caps. Here’s how to remove them.

What You’ll Need

  • Adjustable wrench.
  • Flathead screwdriver.

1. Reveal the Bolts

If your toilet seat comes with hidden fixings, these are likely located underneath a small pair of caps or fasteners. Opening them will reveal bolts. Put your toilet lid down to gain easy access to the bolts.

2. Loosen the Nuts

Grab your adjustable wrench and get a grip on the bottom nut holding one of the bolts in place. If you can’t get a good grip, use a pair of vice grips or pliers. Since the nuts are likely made from plastic, you don’t want to use too much pressure when trying to loosen them.

3. Unfasten the Bolts

Once you have removed the bottom nut, it’s time to loosen the bolt. Use a standard flathead screwdriver on the top side of the toilet for this step.

To unscrew the bolt, turn it counter-clockwise. Do the same for the other bolt.

How to Take Off a Toilet Seat with Metal Hinges

After you complete this, we recommend not replacing it with a metal hinged seat again. Metal in a bathroom tends to corrode, making it difficult to remove later.

What You’ll Need

  • Adjustable wrench.

Toilet seats with metal bolts usually have an entire hinge mechanism that holds the seat in place.

  1. The hinges are held in place by a bolt and wing nut. You have to locate the nut on the bottom side of the toilet.
  2. Use an adjustable wrench to get a grip on the nut.
  3. Twist it until you’re able to remove it completely.
  4. Lift the toilet seat carefully because the bolt is located inside the hinge, so it should slide out of the hole.

Tips For Removing Stuck Toilet Seats

The hinges or bolts might be rusty or refuse to come loose in some situations. If you’re having trouble removing a toilet seat with locks, impossible mechanisms, or rust, here are some things you can try.

Use Lubricant

To restore metal pieces that have become rusted, WD-40 and other penetrating oils like it might be effective. Feel free to use them if you’re dealing with metal hardware.

Use a Socket Set

If you have a socket wrench that allows you to grasp the nuts that hold the bolts, try to use it and remove them. Depending on the exact toilet model, you might need a socket extension or a deep socket to grab and twist the nut.

Cut Hardware with a Hacksaw

Find a wide knife or metal spatula and use it to cover the porcelain portion of the toilet that surrounds the head of the bolt. This will protect it from getting scratched.

When you’re using a hacksaw, start by removing what hardware you can from your toilet seat’s mounting brackets. This removal method is also efficient if you have a stubborn toilet seat with no screws.

Drill the Bolts

Only do this when everything else fails.

Safety First

Make sure to use safety glasses if you turn to this last resort.

Attach a thin drill bit to your drilling machine and use firm and steady pressure where the bolt meets the nut.

Drill through the nut completely. Switch to a larger drill bit to make the hole wider and remove the nut when it’s loose enough.

Installing a New Toilet Seat

Since toilet bowls can have different shapes, you need to measure if you want to find a suitable toilet seat replacement. Quick-release seats are all the rage right now, but you can replace them with a standard seat if you want.

First, you want to measure the distance between the two bolts that hold the seat in place (the standard measurement is 5.5 inches, but measure again just to be sure).

Then, locate the widest point of the toilet bowl and measure it from one end to the other. Repeat the measurement between the two longest points of the bowl. This is from the center point between the bolts that hold the seat in place and the outermost edge.

When purchasing a new toilet seat, you need to take a few things into account:

  • Whether it is the right shape for your toilet.
  • How easy it is to clean it.
  • What material it’s made from, and its estimated lifespan.
  • How comfortable it is to sit on it.
  • If the colors and patterns match your existing bathroom decor.

To install a new toilet seat after removing the old one, you only need an adjustable wrench. Put the bolts of the new seat in the holes located on the bowl. Then use your adjustable wrench to tighten the nut located on the bottom side of the bowl.

FAQs

How Long Does It Take to Replace a Toilet Seat?

Unless you’re dealing with complicated issues and bolts or nuts that refuse to come off, replacing a toilet seat takes 15 minutes or less.

Is It Hard to Replace a Toilet Seat?

Replacing a toilet seat is usually as simple as removing two nuts and bolts. There are situations where the seat is too stubborn to come off, so you might have to turn to more time-consuming methods for removal.

Is There a Special Tool to Remove Toilet Seat?

There is no one specific removal tool for toilet seats. When removing a toilet seat, you don’t usually need anything more than a wrench and screwdriver. If you have a toilet seat that doesn’t come off, you might need other items, too, like a hacksaw or a drill.

How Much Does a Toilet Seat Cost?

A toilet seat can be very inexpensive—for example, a Kohler elongated toilet seat costs around $30.

Are All Toilet Seat Bolts the Same Size?

The American standard bolt size typically measures 5.5 inches.


Bottom Line

See? Learning how to remove a toilet seat is easy. If there are no complications, it shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes.

If the nuts and bolts will not come off, be sure to read some of the methods that will help you remove the seat in these complicated situations.

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About the Author

Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author and Award-Winning Interior Designer. Using her years of hands-on experience, she now writes about design and DIY. She currently resides on the rocky East Coast of Canada with her family and slobbery bulldog.