How to Tighten Any Loose Toilet Seat in 10 Minutes

Last Updated on May 18, 2022 by toilethaven

A loose toilet seat is characterized by sideways movements as a result of loosening of the fixings that attach it to the toilet bowl. Loose toilet seats should be tightened as soon as they start to wobble otherwise they will break.

Loose toilet seats are also a health hazard as they can result in falls especially among the elderly and people with limited mobility.

toilet-seat

Toilet seats are attached to the toilet bowl using bolts, wingnuts and washers. The bolts are made up steel, brass or plastic. The top of the toilet seat fittings is usually concealed with plastic covers.

To tighten a toilet seat, grab the nut underneath the bowl using one hand and use the other hand to turn the mounting bolt clockwise using a screwdriver. To keep the seat aligned to the bowl, tighten the 2 bolts alternatingly but not too much to prevent stripping them.

To tighten a toilet seat with concealed fixings, lift off the seat bolts covers using a finger or a screwdriver. Turn the bolts clockwise using the screwdriver but not too much lest you strip them or crack the bowl.

If the entire bolt is swiveling instead of tightening, back off the nut on the underside of the bowl with your other hand using a wrench. Modern toilet seats are easier to tighten since they are top-mounting and hence do not need a nut.

Types of Toilet Seats

If you need to know how to tighten a toilet seat, you must first know the type of toilet seat you have. The following are the different type of toilet seats you might come across:

  1. Top fixing toilet seats
  2. Bottom fixing toilet seat
  3. Quick-release toilet seat
  4. Toilet seats with metallic bolts
  5. Toilet seats with plastic bolts

Top fixing and bottom fixing toilet seats are tightened the same way. The only difference is that for top fixing seats you tighten the toilet seat hardware entirely from the top without bending over to access the wingnuts under the bowl. They are more common in skirted toilets.

Bottom fixing toilet seats are tightened by screwing in a wingnut and washer on a bolt from the underside of the toilet bowl while turning the bolt with a screwdriver from the top of the bowl.

To tighten a quick-release toilet seat, you first remove the seat by the press of a button or just gently sliding it out. You then tighten the toilet seat mounting hardware then attach the seat.

Tightening each of the following is an easy task and should not take you more than 10 minutes. Your toilet seat will become loose from time to time and therefore learning how to tighten it will be an invaluable lesson.

Tools Needed

  1. Flathead screwdriver
  2. Adjustable wrench

Let us now see how to tighten a toilet seat whether it has plastic bolts, metallic bolts or concealed fixings.

How to Tighten a Toilet Seat

Step 1: Find the Bolts

how-to-tighten-a-toilet-seat

A toilet seat is held in place and secured to the toilet by 2 bolts at the back of the toilet bowl. In most cases, the toilet seat bolts are concealed by plastic tabs.

The 2 tabs are color-matched with the toilet seat for aesthetics but also importantly hold the seat in place and therefore prevents it from sliding. These tabs also prevent water from getting into the bolts which then prevents them from corroding.

To access the bolts, pry off the tabs using a flathead screwdriver. There should be a slot to put in the screwdriver. Some tabs are designed in way that you can easily lift them off with your finger like a bottle of lotion.

Step 2: Find the Wingnuts

The toilet seat bolts are used to tight the toilet seats by the use of nuts and sometimes washers. If the toilet seats has plastic bolts, then the wingnuts are normally hand tight.

Toilet seats with metallic bolts have nuts and washers and are adjusted using a flathead screwdriver and a wrench. Some metallic bolts however use wingnuts which do not need a wrench to tighten. Check your toilet seat carefully.

In a top fixing type of toilet seat, there are no nuts. The toilet seat is tightened from the top either using a screwdriver or a drill machine with the correct bit size.

Step 3: How to Tighten a Toilet seat With Plastic Bolts

For a toilet seat with plastic bolts, you should always exercise caution not to strip the bolt while tightening. One of the best ways to do this is to ensure you have a big enough screwdriver to fit the bolt’s groove.

Insert the screwdriver in the groove of the bolt head but do not turn. Reach for the bottom of the bowl and start turning the wingnut clockwise. Alternate between the two bolts. Do not however tighten too much as this might strip out the plastic bolt.

Only use the screwdriver to prevent the bolt from backing off but don’t turn it. This might deform the groove and therefore render the bolt useless. If you have a chance please change the plastic bolts with metallic ones. Toilets with plastic bolts loosen more often than ones with metallic bolts.

Step 4: How to Tighten a Toilet with Metallic Bolts

A toilet seat with metallic bolts can either be a top-fixing type or a bottom fixing type. Top fixing toilet seats are easier and more comfortable to tighten than bottom fixing toilet seats.

For a bottom fixing type of seat, you will need to hold the nut at the bottom of the bowl and tighten the bolt using a screwdriver with your other hand.

how-to-tighten-a-toilet-seat

If the toilet seat uses metallic bolts with a metallic nuts and washers, you can use a wrench. Use an adjustable wrench to hold the nut in place, engage the screwdriver to the groove on top of the bolt and start turning the screwdriver clockwise.

On the other hand if the toilet seat uses metallic bolts and wingnuts, then hold the wingnut in your hand and tighten the bolt using the screwdriver with your other hand.

A good way to make sure your toilet seat is tight evenly is to tighten both bolts alternatingly. If you tighten one at a time there is a chance the other side will lift off and it might be difficult to correct the offset.

If you have a top fixing type of seat then your job is easy. You will only need to tighten the bolts with a screwdriver until you are satisfied that the seat is tight.

how-to-tighten-a-toilet-seat

A word of caution especially when tightening a toilet seat with a wrench and screwdriver is to always be careful not to crack the toilet bowl. The bowl is made of ceramic which cracks easily. Although our objective is to tighten the toilet seat, there you don’t need to go crazy on it.

Step 5: How to Tighten a Quick-Release Toilet Seat

how-to-tighten-a-toilet-seat

A quick-release toilet seat is either a top fixing type or bottom fixing type. There are two types of quick-release toilet seats apart from how they are fixed.

Some quick-release toilet seats will only need to be slid out after removing the plastic tabs that covers the bolts. An example of this is the Kohler quick-release toilet seats.

Other kind of quick-release toilet seats will need to have the seat in the open position in to remove them.  You will then push one or two buttons then lift if off. An example of such a toilet seat is the American Standard quick-release toilet seats.

To tighten a quick-release toilet seat, remove the plastic tabs covering the bolts to expose the toilet bolt head. If it is the bottom fixing type, hold the wingnut underneath the bowl with your hand and tighten the bolt using the screwdriver with your other hand.

To tighten a top fixing quick-release toilet seat, simply engage the screwdriver or drill machine to the groove of the bolt and turn clockwise.  For this type of seat, make sure the two pins which are sticking out are aligned to the toilet seat before tightening.

how-to-tighten-a-toilet-seat

 Replacing the Toilet Seat Bolts

If while tightening your toilet seats you discover that the bolts are either damaged, stripped or rusted, the best thing to do is to replace them with new ones.  A toilet seat tightening kit is an inexpensive and handy collection of toilet seat fixings that is better than replacing the toilet seat.

FAQs

  1. How do you tighten a toilet seat on a skirted toilet?

A skirted toilet is a toilet with a concealed trapway. It therefore has no way of accessing the underside of the toilet bowl to tighten the nuts. This toilet therefore uses top fixing toilet seats. To tighten a top fixing toilet seat, remove the plastic tabs covering the toilet seat bolt to expose the head of the bolt. Use a screwdriver to tighten the bolt (turn screwdriver clockwise)

2. Why is my toilet seat loose?

Toilet seat become loose due to the constant opening and closing every time a person uses the toilet. Slamming of the toilet seat on the toilet bowl also cause vibration on the bolts which then start to back off gradually.

3. How do you tighten a slow close toilet seat?

A slow close toilet seat is either a top fixing or bottom fixing type. To start off, remove the plastic tabs that cover the head of the seat bolts. If it is a bottom fixing seat, hold the nut underneath the bowl with your hand and tighten the bolt with a screwdriver by turning clockwise.

If it is top fixing seat,  it has no nuts under the bowl. Just tighten the bolt with a screwdriver. Before tightening the toilet seat in place make sure it is properly aligned to the bowl.

4. What should you do if your toilet seat bolt won’t tighten?

There is a possibility that the bolt is stripped. In this case, the threads of the bolts have been eaten away and can therefore not tighten effectively. The remedy to this is to buy a toilet seat tightening kits that contains everything you will need to tighten the toilet seat

5. How do you tighten a Vitra toilet seat?

A Vitra toilet seat is a top fixing toilet seat. That means you only tighten it from above the toilet bowl and do nothing underneath the bowl. Before tightening it you should first remove it. To remove the toilet seat, have it in the open position and remove the two silver caps on the hinge. You can use a flathead screwdriver for this.

Once the cups are out, lift off the toilet seat and place it aside. On the top of the bowl you will see two pins each with a silver cap at the bottom. Remove the caps to reveal the seat bolts. Use a screwdriver to tighten the bolts by turning it clockwise. Before tightening the bolts fully, ensure the toilet seat mounting holes are aligned to the two mounting pins.

Once the bolts are tight put the silver caps back on and go ahead to fit the toilet seat.