People say dogs are their best friends, but I have a different bestie — my toilet.
We got along well for decades until my old friend bailed on me. It didn’t want to keep the toilet seat up!
I admit that I felt betrayed. But then I realized it’s not my friend’s fault that the toilet seat won’t stay up. I learned how to deal with a falling toilet seat.
Let me tell you all about it.
3 Reasons a Toilet Seat Won’t Stay Up
Toilet seats fall because of three reasons. You can solve each problem quickly, but we’ll check the solutions in the next section. Now let’s see what prevents your seat from staying up in the first place.
The Seat Is Too Far Back
The first problem is the most common. Your toilet seat is probably too far back to stay in a vertical position, so it keeps falling. But here’s what “too far back” really means.
A couple of bolts keep the seat and the toilet lid secured to the bowl, giving them just enough room to lean back against the tank. The seat forms an obtuse angle of over 90 degrees with the toilet bowl, so the gravity can’t pull it down.
But the lid and seat combination loosens over time and goes too far back. The lid usually has enough angle to stay upright, but not the seat itself. This creates an acute angle (below 90 degrees), which is why the seat keeps falling.
The problem occurs due to loose screws that allow the toilet seat to wobble. It doesn’t matter whether you have a wood or plastic seat — loose screws will make it fall eventually.
Your Toilet Is Not Level
The seat may fall because the toilet is not level. This means that your toilet is the problem rather than the seat itself. A wobbly toilet is an obvious sign that your toilet is not level — it budges and moves around its center.
The seat falls when the toilet bowl leans forward, which is mainly when you sit on the bowl to do your thing. In this case, your weight rocks the toilet and pushes it downward. That may even cause the lid to fall on your back.
Toilet Seat Has a Cover or Isn’t Thin Enough
A large toilet lid cover may cause your seat to fall. It’s a rare case, but sometimes the cover is too heavy and thick. It makes the lid and the seat fall together.
Another option is that your seat doesn’t fit the whole fixture. The toilet seat may be too thick to stand properly, making it impossible to form an obtuse angle (more than 90 degrees).
The robustness of a wrong-sized toilet seat prevents it from standing still.
This is rarely a product defect, but it happens sometimes. It’s more likely that you bought a seat separately, not paying attention to the toilet’s dimensions. Your toilet seat won’t stay up because it just doesn’t suit the bowl and the tank.
How to Fix a Falling Toilet Seat?
You can solve each of these issues quickly, even if you don’t have the plumbing experience. The solution won’t take more than ten minutes of your time.
Push the Toilet Seat Forward
You can simply push the toilet seat forward if it’s too far back. Start by checking the toilet seat bolts, a pair of screws holding the seat, and the lid. They are probably loose enough to allow the seat to go back.
There are a couple of caps covering the bolts, so you can remove them with your fingers. Do the same thing with rubber toilet seat washers that protect the bolts.
Use an adjustable wrench if the caps are too stiff, but don’t press too hard because the tool can break the plastic cap. Twist the cap clockwise and counterclockwise until it loosens and snaps off the bolt.
The second step is to unscrew the bolts. Use a screwdriver to turn the bolts counterclockwise until they go out of the threaded hole. Remove the bolts, and you are free to adjust the wobbly toilet seat.
It’s usually enough to push it an inch forward. Pay attention —if you’re directly facing the bowl, it means the seat should come closer to you. That will create a wider angle that helps the seat stay up all the time.
After that, it’s all about reassembling the seat. Secure the adjusted seat/lid with a pair of bolts. Turn them clockwise to tighten the seat along with the toilet lid, and place the caps over the bolts.
Test the toilet seat now — it should stand still, leaning on the toilet tank.
Level the Toilet With Shims
You can level the toilet with shims if the seat falls due to wobbling. You’ll need a few common tools to do the job:
- A few plastic or rubber shims
- A utility knife to trim the shims
- A caulk tube to cover the toilet base after shimming
Before shimming the toilet, check all gaps and holes around the toilet base. However, you should focus on the front because that’s what causes the toilet seat to go down.
When you identify the gaps, insert enough shims to stabilize the bowl.
You can check the bowl by pushing it with your hands — the shims level it properly if the bowl stands still while you push in different directions. It’s a sign that your toilet is stable, so you can trim the shims with a utility knife.
Now you can caulk around the toilet to cover the shims. Concentrate on the front because that’s where the shims are. Caulking does a few things to your toilet.
First, it makes the toilet more visually appealing by covering the shims. It also adds stability to the bowl, preventing the fixture from leaning. And thirdly, caulk prevents toilet leaks at the base.
The last task is to test the toilet seat. Pick it up and let it rest on the toilet tank. If it doesn’t fall when you sit on the toilet, you did a good job leveling the whole structure.
Remove the Lid Cover or Install a New Seat
The third problem can have two solutions depending on the source of the problem. If your toilet lid cover is the cause, the solution can’t be simpler — remove it to help the lid stand firmly.
Perhaps you don’t like the idea of removing this decorative item, but it’s better than holding the toilet lid on your back every time you poop.
Another problem might be the thickness of the toilet seat. If the model doesn’t match the toilet, it will keep falling until you replace it. Therefore, the only solution is to buy and install a new toilet seat.
We recommend a soft-close toilet seat because it doesn’t make that annoying noise when you pull it down. In each case, remember that a new toilet seat has to be thin enough to match the structure of your toilet.
Pay attention to the shape as well — there’s a notable difference between round and elongated toilet seats. Dimensions also play a major role as toilet seats come in different sizes, so remember to pick a toilet seat size that suits the bowl.
After that, it’s easy to install a new toilet seat. You need to remove the caps and unscrew the bolts — remove them and detach the old toilet seat. After that, put the new item in its position and secure it with a pair of bolts.
Remember to set the right angle before installing bolts because you don’t want the seat to end too far back. Leave enough room to keep the toilet seat upright and screw the bolts.
Your toilet seat should not fall down after you secure it like this.
Why Does the Toilet Seat Wobble?
Falling toilet seats are not the only issue here. You probably had the privilege of riding a wobbly toilet seat, but have you ever wondered why it happens? There are two reasons, but they can act together sometimes.
Firstly, toilet seats wobble because of loose screws. In this case, bolts move around their base, and they can’t keep the toilet seat in its position. The good thing is that you can screw the bolts and prevent wobbling.
The second issue has to do with dimensions. A right-sized toilet seat is a stable seat, but things change if the size is faulty. You can’t change the dimensions of the toilet seat, so the only option is to replace it with the right one.
You’ll notice the change as soon as you install it — the seat will sit firmly and eliminate wobbling.
The Bottom Line
Nobody wants to deal with a falling toilet seat when nature calls. It’s not the worst of bathroom problems, but it is one of the most annoying.
In this post, we showed you three reasons why your toilet seat won’t stay up and how to prevent it. Spend a few minutes adjusting the toilet seat — you’ll feel much better after that!
Why is the toilet seat falling off?
A toilet seat is probably falling off because it’s too far back, so it doesn’t lean on the tank with enough angle. That’s because the bolts are loose, allowing the seat to move back from its base.
You can adjust the seat’s position and tighten the bolts.
Another option is that your toilet is not level, so you’ll need to shim it. And thirdly, the seat may be too thick to stand upright. In this case, the solution is to replace the seat with a suitable model.
How do I reattach a toilet seat?
You can reattach a toilet seat by placing it in its original position. The lid-seat combo should sit on top of the toilet bowl, with a couple of small holes matching the same-sized holes on the rim.
That’s where you need to place a pair of bolts and screw them tightly. The two bolts hold the seat, preventing issues such as wobbling or falling.