How to Fix a Loose, Wiggly Toilet Seat
Richard Trethewey has some tips for tightening toilet seats that slide from side to side
My toilet seat uses nylon bolts with nuts that are meant to be turned by hand, but I can never tighten them enough to stop the seat from sliding from side to side. What’s the secret to keeping the seat from wiggling?
—Jim Hodges, Pollock Pines, CA
Back in the days when toilet seats were only mounted with metal bolts and nuts, loose seats weren’t that common because you could really torque the nuts against the underside of the bowl, with a rubber washer for cushioning, of course. But cranking down too hard could crack the ceramic. That’s one reason toilet-seat-makers started using plastic bolts: They’re hard to overtighten.
To fix the wiggle, you can replace your toilet seat with one that has locking nuts, like the Sta-Tite feature on seats made by Bemis and Church. They use good old metal bolts, but to protect against overtorquing, the nuts are plastic. After a few turns of the wrench, part of the nut snaps off while the remaining part locks the bolt—and the seat-—to the toilet. These locking nuts can be removed if you ever want to change the seat.
Now, if you don’t want to buy a new seat, try a Toilet-Seat Tightening Kit. It has flexible, synthetic-rubber washers that fill the gap between the bolts and the toilet’s ceramic seat holes, preventing side-to-side movement. And they grip the plastic nuts so they can’t come loose. For less than $4, you get enough washers in the kit to fix three seats, along with a wrench for tightening the nuts.
Shown: Richard Trethewey points to a plastic bolt and nut, the kind typically used these days to attach toilet seats. These fasteners can’t corrode, but they often loosen up and allow the seat to move.