Whether you’re looking to thoroughly clean the toilet and the seat, or you’re repairing, maybe replacing the toilet seat, the first step is to remove the seat. While others can be as easy as unscrewing a nut, others are fitted with hidden fixings, making them harder to remove. Moreover, others don’t even have screws.
To remove the toilet seat, start by locating where the seat is joined with the toilet. If you can’t spot any bolts or screws from on top of the seat, check underneath. You should see the ends of a screw or a mounting nut. Use a wrench, screwdriver, or locking pliers to unscrew the seat off.
Depending on the type of toilet brand you have, the bolts could be made from metal or plastic, some with bolts caps, some without. Nonetheless, the process of removal is similar. Take a look at a step-by-step guide on how you can remove a toilet seat.
Basic Seat Removal Steps for Common Toilets
Because the seats are attached differently, we shall begin with the basic guide, then get into more details with hidden fixings and metal bolts.
Supplies and Tools Needed
- A screwdriver
- A pair of locking pliers
- An adjustable wrench
- Vice grips
- Plastic bag
- Piece of cloth/ paper towel
- Remove bolt caps covering the seat fasteners. They should be at the back of the seat where the hinges are. Lift the bolts caps upwards using the screwdriver to expose the screws.
- Look underneath the seat, you should see a mounting nut that holds the screw and seat in place. Grip the nut with a wrench firmly and unwound. If the nut is in the shape of a wing nut, you can grip it by hand, if not, use a pair of pliers or vice grips to hold it. Don’t use too much pressure, especially if they’re made from plastic.
- Unfasten the bolts and use the screwdriver to unwound the screw. Use a large screwdriver to get the job done faster and for better results.
- Take out the nuts and screws. Place them away as you wait to replace them. Put them in a plastic bag more especially if made with metal to avoid rust.
- Now take out the toilet seat and wipe down with a piece of cloth or paper towel.
Materials and Tools Needed
- Protective hand gloves
- Penetrating oil
- Drill with bits
- Masking or duct tape
- Putty knife
- Socket wrench
- Flathead Screwdriver
Hidden fixings are common with modern toilets as people don’t want to see bolts on their toilets, plus it prevents them from damage.
- Look at the back of the toilet and check from underneath to see if you can spot screws. Again, they could be metal or plastic.
- Put on your gloves and stick your hand to the back as you search for the ends of the screws. That should show you where they are.
- Look at the upper section of the toilet to remove caps or whatever is hiding the bolts.
- If you find socket wrenches, turn them counterclockwise to reach the bolt securing the seat. Keep exerting a little pressure until the nut loosens up.
- In some cases, the nut won’t loosen which means you need to use penetrating oil or WD40 to lubricate both bolts. The penetrating oil is used for rusted bolts and nuts.
- After the application of this oil, wait for about five to ten minutes for the oil to seep properly into tight spaces of the hardware. Then the bolts will become easy to remove. Alternatively, mix a solution of vegetable oil and acetone, the acetone will loosen the grip as the oil loosens the rust.
- Now use the screwdriver to open the bolt. Check underneath the seat for the bolts that stick out. Begin to unwound the nut by your hand. Use your pair of pliers to keep the bolt steady as you remove the nut.
- If all these efforts are futile, you could bring in a hacksaw and cut the bolts off. Use your knife to cover the porcelain that is around the bolt head to prevent accidental scratches as you saw through.
- Secure the rest of the toilet with masking or duct tape as you don’t want to hack through any other part of the toilet
- Cut through the bolt along with the hinges connected to the toilet seat.
- Another option is to drill out the bolts. Pliers are a good way to get the job done but if the bolts are too tight, use a thin drill with a thickness of about 1/16 inch.
- Use steady pressure to break the bolt and nut as you drill. Don’t drill with too much energy as that may cause damages.
Removing Seat with Metal Hinges
If the bolts securing the seats are made of metal, you could use a pair of pliers to unscrew them. But metal hinges have one disadvantage, they rust. This means that even the pliers may be unable to unscrew the bolt.
You could use a socket wrench to get a deeper, firmer grip on the metal hinges then use your hands to unwound the wingnut underneath the toilet. The socket should be about half an inch wide so it can fit over the bolts easily.
To counter the rust on the brass or steel hinges, you could use a lubricant to soften the grip on the nut. That is if the nut doesn’t badge. Use WD40 or penetrating oil, pour a generous amount over the bolt, and let sit for some time, say an hour. Let the oil seep into the bolt to lubricate it then try to open the bolt again.
If the bolt spins but doesn’t unwound/loosen, it means the rust is too far deep and the oil couldn’t help. Your last option is to break or cut through the hinges. There are two options you could try;
- Use a drill to pierce through the metal hinges. The drill will exert a lot of force, breaking the metal hinge apart.
- Use a propane torch to loosen the bolts then break the pieces of metal down to remove them. Set it at a low flame and be very cautious to avoid burns. Heat the bolts for a few seconds then remove.
For both of these options, safety is paramount so put on your protective gear like glasses, gloves, and use the duct tape to cover the rest of the toilet from damage. This process could be hard to do so consider calling in a professional.
Removing Seat with No Screws
If the toilet doesn’t have any screws or bolts, the best way to detach the toilet seat from the toilet is by cutting it out with a hacksaw. The following are the steps to follow.
- Gather the things you’ll need – hacksaw, protective wear, duct tape, rugs, and any knife.
- Open the toilet lid and cover the remaining part of the toilet with duct tape. Make sure you coat every inch of the toilet from the front to the back.
- Mark the areas you will be cutting through and sit the knife right underneath the toilet seat to guide you as you cut through.
- Begin to cut gently moving one side to the other. Cut through to the other side of the toilet seat.
- For any area you didn’t cut well, use the knife to scrape it off.
- Use the rug to remove any left offer pieces. That’s it!
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