How to Remove or Replace a Toilet Seat

Remove and replace a broken or old toilet seat in no time. We share the easy steps below.

©Jalynn Baker

Jalynn Baker

Materials and Tools:

  • new toilet seat
  • large screwdriver
  • tongue-and-groove pliers or basin wrench
  • small hacksaw (for an old toilet seat)
  • putty knife (for an old toilet seat)
  • socket wrench (for an old toilet seat)

1. Open the Bolt Housing

Many new toilet seats are attached to the toilet bowl with two plastic bolts and nuts. The plastic bolts are hidden under a small plastic housing at the top of the seat. Use your fingers or a screwdriver to pry up the plastic housing to uncover the bolt.

©Jalynn Baker

Jalynn Baker

2. Remove the Bolts

To remove the seat, hold the nut while unscrewing the bolt. Do one at a time. Make sure you have a screwdriver that is large enough to fit into the bolt groove. A small screwdriver will fail to grab the bolt groove and will strip the bolt. Some toilet seat attachments have a wingnut holding the bolt in place. You may be able to reach under the seat and hold the wingnut while unscrewing the bolt. If there is no wingnut, hold the nut with a wrench or pliers. Tongue-and-groove pliers or a crescent wrench should hold the nut in place while you unscrew the bolt.

3. Use a Basin Wrench for Tight Spaces

If you have a tight space to work in, you may need a basin wrench (tool on the far right). A basin wrench is a plumbing tool used to hold or move nuts in tight spaces. Hold the nut in place using the basin wrench while you or someone else unscrews the plastic bolt.

©Jalynn Baker

Jalynn Baker

4. Remove the Toilet Seat

Once each bolt is fully detached, the toilet seat should come up easily.

©Jalynn Baker

Jalynn Baker

5. Removing Older Toilet Seats

Older toilet seats are held in place with metal hardware and screws. The metal bolts are part of the toilet seat hinge hardware. Simply unscrew the nut from the attached bolt. Corroded bolts and nuts are harder to detach. To remove the nut from the seat hinge bolt, use a long socket and socket wrench to unscrew the nut. If the nut will not budge, you may need to cut the bolt off. In this case, protect the toilet bowl porcelain by placing a putty knife against the bolt and under where you will be cutting. Using a small hacksaw, slowly cut through each of the bolts on the top of the toilet. Make sure to keep the putty knife between the hacksaw and the toilet so you do not damage the porcelain with the hacksaw (Image 1).

©Jalynn Baker

Jalynn Baker

6. Attach the New Seat

Place the new seat in the correct position. Place a screw inside the hole, and place the new bolt or washer underneath. Use a power driver or screwdriver to secure the screw and bolt. Repeat these steps on the other side. Close the lids to the housing. The new toilet seat is now properly installed.

©Jalynn Baker

Jalynn Baker

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