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How to Tighten Toilet Seat with No Access Underside?

how to tighten toilet seat with no access underside
Written by David Stern
Last Update: August 10, 2023

The average human spends a decent amount of time on the toilet. One hour and 42 minutes a week, to be exact.

To put it plainly, using the bathroom is a big part of one’s life and a loose toilet seat can be a real pain in the butt, no pun intended.

For people who have no prior plumbing knowledge, it can be a confusing dilemma with many questions. Even knowing where to start can be a problem.

To remedy this, we’ll teach you how to tighten toilet seat with no access underside.

Types of Toilet Seats

  • Toilet seats with bottom fixings

These types of toilet seats are fitted from the top and tightened from underneath, usually with wing nuts.

  • Toilet seats with top fixings

These toilet seats work by feeding two bolts into the pan, which are then tightened on top. Most modern toilets come with this installation as they are decently easy to remove for cleaning and replacements.

  • Toilet seats with quick release

Toilets with the quick release technology are removable with the press of a button and attached just as easily.

Unlike the prior two fixings, you won’t need any tools. This makes it a lot easier to clean and reach places that would be difficult otherwise.

  • Toilet seats featuring metallic bolts

To identify, look at the bolts connecting the seat to the toilet bowl. Toilet seats with these bolts usually come loose a lot less often as the metal can be screwed in tighter.

The only con is that the metal corrodes easier in the environment of a toilet, even with the plastic covers they usually come with, which can make them impossible to remove later.

  • Toilet seats featuring plastic bolts

Once again, you can identify these by looking at the bolts connecting the seat to the bowl. These bolts come loose easier than the metal ones since they can’t screw in as tight.

It’s also common for them to break after a whole. They hold the advantage of being a lot easier to clean and take apart, though.

How to Tighten Toilet Seat with No Access Underside?

Necessary tools

  • A wrench
  • A flathead screwdriver that matches the bolts on your toilet
  • Flat-head gear
  • A pair of pliers
  • A crowbar for prying
  • Protective accessories like gloves and glasses

Hidden screws – Something to look for

Before you start, make sure to check for hidden screws or joint bolts. These will usually be hidden from plain sight or in obscure places.

Check the hinges of the seat again for any hidden buttons. You might not notice them at first but run your hands back and forth and you should find them eventually.

To release the seat, press the button and you should find the securing bolts and screws.

Some toilet seats, usually the ones with metal bolts, come with special covers that you may need to slide aside or pry up to find hidden screws or hinges.

To find these, look for any piece that is roundly cut on the back of the toilet seat.

When you know what you’re looking for, these special covers shouldn’t be too hard to spot.


Step 1: Examine the seat

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Check the seat for any of those hidden screws and obvious screws you could have missed.

Make sure to not leave anything as that can make the process more confusing at best (you won’t be able to change the seat if all screws aren’t there) and dangerous at worst.

Step 2: Realign the seat

To save yourself a major headache, realign the seat before you move on to the next step.

As the seat has become loose, it’s likely that it shifted out of alignment. Move it back to the center of the toilet seat.

If you need to, grab some clamps or something to hold the seat in place.

Look at your work from different angles to be sure that you placed it correctly.

Do not move on to step three until you are 100% sure of your work.

Step 3: Tighten the bolts

Get out your screwdriver and start tightening the bolts. Keep tightening the bolts until they reach their limit.

Be especially careful if you have plastic bolts. Do not tighten enough to break them.

To make your task easier, it’s important that you find the right-sized screwdriver for the bolts you have.

A screwdriver that is too small will not tighten the bolts properly and one that is too large will damage the bolt lines and shorten the overall lifespan of the bolts.

This makes it more expensive for you in the long run.

Step 4: Do a last check on both the seat and lid

After you finish tightening, knock on the bolts and cover to see if they are stable or not.

If they aren’t, just keep tightening. The next thing to check for are any obstructions.

You can do this by closing down the lid. If it closes properly, then it should be fine.

Last, open and close the lid again multiple times to check for durability.

If no problems arise, then you’re done!

If there are any problems, go through the steps again. See if you missed anything.

What to Do if the Bolts Aren’t Tightening?

If this happens, check to see if your bolts are broken or if the bolt lines have been damaged.

If they are, you will need to replace them.

If they’re fine, check your screwdriver. Make sure that you are using the right size for your bolts.

Still confused?

If after reading this article, you are still having problems, there are a couple of things to do.

One, do a meticulous check for bolts and screws. Some toilets just have them incredibly hidden.

If you have checked everywhere for hidden screws and there is absolutely no way to release the seat, you’ll have to enlist the help of a plumber.

Your toilet is probably unique in construction and requires a professional.


1. Why do I have a loose toilet seat?

Ans. A loose toilet seat is a common problem caused when the bolts securing the seat to the body of the toilet get looser. The constant opening, closing, and sitting on the toilet causes this.

2. Is there a way to tighten a toilet seat on a skirted toilet?

Ans. To tighten the seat on a skirted toilet, look for the rubber-covered bolt that anchors in the seat and screws it in tight.

3. What if my bolts won’t tighten?

Ans. Check if the bolts are damaged or if you are using the wrong screwdrivers.

About the author

David Stern

Despite a humble beginning at a childcare facility, David sored to success due to his inextinguishable desire for learning and a rare self-motivational disposition. The day he received his appointment letter from LANE ENGINEERING CONSULTING, P.C. was the happiest day of his life. He was trained in plumbing and fire protection systems. The firm taught him the fundamentals of waterproofing, facade restoration, mechanical and structural plumbing. His profound and innovative plumbing knowledge sets our research guidelines. He’s currently working on his new book titled “Plumbing Essentials.”

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