How to Remove and Replace a Toilet Seat- With Pictures

How to Remove and Replace a Toilet Seat- With Pictures
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Toilet seat replacements are the most common bathroom repairs involving the toilet. Toilet seats break all the time. Unless you are reading this from prison where things are a little different, toilet seats are either made of plastic or wood. Wood and plastic break. It is therefore worthwhile that you know how to change a toilet seat. The skill will come in handy.

You really don’t need to call a plumber all the time to replace a toilet seat for you. In fact never! This is one of the simplest DIY

To replace a toilet seat, you will need to follow this 4 easy steps:

  1. Get the toilet seat measurement
  2. Purchase a new toilet seat
  3. Remove the old toilet seat
  4. Install the new toilet seats

Items Needed to Replace a Toilet Seat

  1. Flathead screwdriver
  2. Measuring tape
  3. Rubber gloves
  4. Pliers

In order to replace a toilet seat, you must first know the type of toilet seat you have already, and the toilet seat you want to replace it with. Here are the different types of toilet seats:

  • Soft close toilet seats and non-soft close toilet seats
  • Plastic toilet seats and wooden toilet seats
  • Quick release toilet seats and non-quick release toilet seats
  • Top fixing toilet seats and bottom fixing toilet seats
  • Plastic mountings and metallic mountings toilet seats

How to Choose the Right Toilet Seat

Ideally, the process of installing the toilet seats for most all of these different types is the same is the same. However, for quick-release toilet seats, you first install the mounting hardware then attach the seat later


This makes the toilet seats with the quick release mechanism easier and faster to clean. For the other toilet seats, mounting hardware and toilet seat are installed together. To clean such a toilet seat properly, you will need to remove the toilet seat then install it again

Toilet seats with top fixing hardware allows you to tighten the nut from the top of the toilet bowl. If you don’t like bending or have a bad back, this is the choice for you. For the bottom fixing toilet seats you have to bend and tighten a wingnut from beneath the toilet bowl

Reasons for Toilet Seat Replacements

A toilet seat is more susceptible to breakage than any other toilet part. With time, the nuts holding the toilet seat in place get loose hence the toilet seat will rock from side to side. When someone is using the toilet, the toilet seat will not be aligned to the bowl.

 It will therefore be subjected to uneven pressure, which with time will cause the seat to break. In this case, you will need to replace the toilet seat. Other people also replace toilet seats because the current one is too old or they just need a different style or design

New toilets these days are not sold with toilet seats inclusive. It means you will need to buy one separately and install it. If therefore you don’t know how to replace a toilet seat you will need to call a plumber

Follow the detailed steps below to know how to replace a toilet seat in 15 minutes

Step 1: How to Measure a Toilet Seat

There are three ways to measure a toilet seat. These are:

  1. The toilet length
  2. The toilet width
  3. The bolt spread

Toilet seats dimensions are critical when buy toilet seats for a replacement. Modern toilets dimensions are quite standardized and it should be easy to buy an appropriate toilet seat replacement.

Toilets and hence toilet seats come mostly in two shapes, the standard round toilet seat and the standard oval or elongated toilet seat. Elongated toilets and toilet seats offer more comfort to the user than the round toilets and toilet seats. Round toilets and toilet seats are more space-efficient

The 3 methods below will guide you on how to measure for a toilet seat by measuring the toilet bowl size

Measure the toilet bowl length

elongated toilet seat

If the toilet seat is already off, Take your tape measure and measure the length of the toilet bowl from the center of the two bolt holes to the front of the bowl. Write the measurements down. If the size is roughly 16-17in, then order a standard round toilet seat. On the other hand, if the size is around 18-19in. proceed to order a standard elongated toilet seat

Measure the bolt spread

Take your measuring tape and measure the distance between the two bolt holes at the back of the toilet bowl. In the United States the standard size is 5.5in.while in Europe it’s 6 to 6.5in.

Measure the toilet bowl width

Just assume that your toilet bowl is a clock with the front being noon, and measure the distance from the 3 to 9 o’clock points. Write this measurement down. The width of both standard round and elongated toilet bowls is roughly 14in.

round toilet seat

Step 2: Make your Toilet Seat Purchase

The choice of the toilet seat you want to buy will be influence by different factors. You will need to consider your budget, your style, material and your preferred toilet seat color among other factors

If you are buying for use in a public washroom make sure the toilet seat has a gap at the front. Make sure also your toilet seat purchase includes the mounting gear.

Step 3: How to Remove a Toilet Seat


Modern toilet seats are attached to the toilet bowl by two plastic bolts and nuts. Some have polished chrome mountings. This is how to remove the toilet seat:

  • Behind the toilet seat hinges, look for protective caps that cover the toilet seat bolts. Use your screwdriver to remove them being gentle not to damage the toilet bowl
  • Put your hand underneath the toilet bowl to feel the end of the bolt. You will also find the plastic nut there.
  •  Hold the nut with your left hand (if you’re right-handed) and engage the head of the bolt with your screw driver.
  • Holding the nut tight, turn the screwdriver counterclockwise to remove the bolt. Do the same for the other bolt.
  • If the nut is too tight for your hand you can use a pair of pliers or an adjustable wrench.
  • Your toilet seat is now free and you can just lift it off

How to replace a toilet seat that has been attached with metallic bolts is a bit different. There is always the possibility that the toilet seat has been in place for a long time and the bolts are corroded

  • Spray penetrating oil on the bolts and nuts and leave it for about 10 minutes.
  • Now use an adjustable wrench and screw driver to try and remove the bolt.
  •  If this doesn’t work, use a small hacksaw and cut the bolt just above the nut being careful not to cut on the toilet

Step 4: How to Install a Toilet Seat

Installing a new toilet seat is in essence the reverse of removing the old toilet seat. Now proceed as follows:

  • Slot the bolts on the toilet seat fixing holes.
  • Set the toilet seat. Make sure the toilet seat sits pretty on the rim of the toilet bowl. The bolts will go through and protrude underneath the two holes on the toilet bowl
  • From the protruding bolts underneath, feed your nuts and washers on both bolts and tighten alternatingly. This is how to tighten toilet seats. Otherwise the toilet seat will be offset
  • If your new toilet seat package has the plastic caps snap then on the bolts heads
  • The plastic caps prevents the toilet seat from rocking and enhance the overall seat design
  • For quick-release toilet seats though, the design is different. The toilet seats do not have bolt holes to slot the bolts. Instead, you just slot the bolts through the toilet bowl holes and tighten them in place. The toilet seat hinges have a slot which through some button push, you slide over the bolts to secure the toilet seat

And that’s how to replace a toilet seat.


Toilet seats are clearly an important part of the toilet. Knowing how to replace a toilet seat goes a long way. Toilet seats manufacturers are always improving the functionality of toilet seats. That means different mountings of toilet seats too

Despite this changes, toilet seats replacement methods do not change much. If you can replace one toilet seat design then you can replace all the toilet seat designs


  • How much does it cost to replace a toilet seat?

You can get a cheap toilet seat from as little as $20 but there are more expensive ones. If you replace the toilet seat yourself you will save the amount you would have used if you called in a plumber. This is why it’s important to know how to replace a toilet seat

  • How long does it take to replace a toilet seat?

Replacing a toilet seat is a very easy DIY and should take you around 15 minutes

  • Do all toilet seats fit the same?

No. For instance a standard round toilet seat wouldn’t fit on an elongated toilet bow and vice versa. However, most elongated toilet seats will fit in most elongated toilet bowls. The same is also true for round toilet seats

  • How do you replace toilet seats with hidden toilet seat bolts?

Just behind the toilet seat hinges is where the bolts are hidden with plastic caps. Use a flathead screwdriver to lift off these caps and reveal the head of the toilet seat bolts. With the screwdriver engaged to the toilet seat bolt’s head, reach for the nuts underneath the toilet bowl and untighten

  • How do you tighten a toilet seat?

Use a flathead screwdriver to engage the head of the toilet seat bolt, then tighten the wingnuts underneath the toilet bowl with your hand. The nuts and bolts are mostly plastic and you don’t want to go crazy on them with a wrench as they will snap. If the bolt and nut are metallic, you can use a wrench to tighten while being careful not to crack the bowl

How do I remove rusted toilet seat bolts that won’t just come off?

The first step is to use a penetrating oil. Spray a penetrating oil like WD-40 on the bolt and nut and give it about 10 to 15 minutes to work its magic out. Now use a deep-well socket to remove the nut. Unlike a normal adjustable wrench, the deep-well is able to go through the long penetrating end of the bolt. If the the entire bolt starts to rotate, you can have someone back off the head of the bolt while your turn the nut in the other direction

If the above method does not succeed, use a drill with a ¼ inch bit. Engage where the nut and bolts meet, drill parallel to the bolt. Repeat the process above with a deep-well socket. If not successful keep enlarging the hole until the nut and bolt both come out

  • Why do public toilet seats have a gap?

Public toilet seats are made with a gap at the front primarily for the convenience of lady users. With such a design, women are able to reach back and wipe/clean their perineal area.

  • Should I leave the toilet seat up or down?

When men use the toilet, they need the toilet seat up, otherwise they might drop some pee on the seat. Most if not all men pee while standing. But if the man found the seat down, he would need to touch it to raise it. Something most men like to avoid

When women are using the toilet, they need the toilet seat down. And if they found it up, they would need to touch it to bring it down. Something most women also don’t like doing.

What if a man leaves the toilet seat down and the next user is another man not a woman? And what if the woman leaves the toilet up and the next user is another women. This debate is yet to be decided

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