How to Tighten a Loose Toilet Seat

Toilet seat being tightened with yellow screwdriver

The Spruce / Kevin Norris

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 15 - 20 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $15 to $30

A loose toilet seat is a common problem caused by the constant opening, closing, and sitting that eventually loosens the bolts securing the seat to the body of the toilet. As DIY home repair projects go, it is about as easy as it comes—all that's required, usually, is a screwdriver. On rare occasion, you might need pliers, a ratchet wrench with a deep socket, an adjustable wrench, or a specialty tool that comes with a toilet seat tightening kit (see below).

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers (optional)
  • Ratchet wrench with a deep socket (optional)
  • Adjustable wrench (optional)

Materials

  • Toilet seat tightening kit (optional)

Instructions

Materials and tools to tighten a loose toilet seat

The Spruce / Kevin Norris

How to Tighten a Loose Toilet Seat With a Screwdriver

A few minutes with some basic tools can keep your toilet seat from wobbling. However, if the seat itself is in poor condition, this is a good time to purchase and install a new seat.

  1. Find the Bolts

    Some toilet seat bolts are exposed, but most just have a plastic flap that snaps closed to cover them. Use a screwdriver to pry these plastic covers open to expose the bolts that secure the seat to the top of the toilet bowl. 

    Screwdriver prying plastic bolt covers on toilet seat

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  2. Tighten the Bolts

    If the bolts have slotted heads, then tighten them by turning clockwise with a screwdriver until they are tight. Tighten the bolts evenly on each side, so that the toilet seat sits level.

    If the bolt just spins without tightening, then use pliers to grip the nut threaded onto the mounting bolt from below the toilet as you tighten the bolt from above with a screwdriver. Most toilets seats use steel screws, but on cheaper seats with plastic bolts, be careful not to break the bolts or strip the threads. 

    Warning

    Do not over tighten and crack the toilet.

    Toilet seat bolts tightened with screwdriver

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  3. Tighten From Below

    If necessary, you can tighten the mounting nut from underneath. From under the bowl, turn the toilet seat nuts clockwise until they are tight. A ratchet wrench with a deep socket is usually the easiest way to tighten these bolts, but an adjustable wrench can also be used. 

    Ratchet wrench tightening toilet seat bolt from below

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  4. Replace the Bolts (Optional)

    If the toilet seat bolts break or refuse to tighten, you can purchase replacement bolts at a hardware or home improvement store. Bolts that are frozen may have to be cut off with a hacksaw blade. Use only the blade (not the hacksaw), because it is very thin and it will fit under the head of the bolt; it can usually cut the bolt without scraping the porcelain on the bowl. There are also short-handle or mini-hacksaws that are a good choice for working in tight spaces.

    Hacksaw blade cutting off frozen bolt from underneath

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

How to Use a Toilet Seat Tightening Kit

Available at home improvement centers and online retailers are several versions of a toilet seat tightening kit. The kits include rubbers washers that fit under the bolts to remove extra space that causes the seat to wiggle. A small specialty wrench that will fit most mounting nuts is also included. 

  1. Add Washers

    Remove the nuts from the mounting bolts and slip the rubber washers onto the bolts from underneath the toilet bowl. Loosely thread the nuts back onto the bolts. 

    Rubber washers added to bolts below toilet bowl

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  2. Tighten the Nuts and Bolts

    Carefully align the seat, then tighten the nuts fully by hand. Use the specialty tool to tighten the bolts another 1/4 turn to make sure it is snug. 

    Toilet seat bolts tightened by hand from underneath toilet bowl

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris