When removing rusted toilet seat bolts, it’s important to first remove the plastic caps from the nuts on the top of the toilet, if possible. Then, treat the bolts with penetrating oil to make them easier to loosen. If the bolts still resist removal, use pliers to hold the nut in place from the underside of the toilet while you attempt to unscrew the bolt from above. If this doesn’t work, try using a deep socket on the nut from the underside. When these methods fail, you have to cut the bolt. To do so, use a Dremel or oscillating tool to cut off the nut/bolt assembly from the underside of the toilet.
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6 Ways to Remove Rusted Toilet Seat Bolts
Few things are more frustrating than simply trying to replace an old toilet seat only to find the bolts have corroded to the point that it’s impossible to remove them. Don’t despair, this problem can be solved. Use the following methods to remove rusted toilet seat bolts without damaging your toilet.
Attack from Above
While this may not be possible depending on your toilet seat model, many toilet seat bolts have plastic caps on the top of the toilet. Use a screwdriver or scraper to pop the caps off and allow access to the bolts. If the bolts appear rusted, spray penetrating oil on the rusted bolt. Give the penetrating oil at least 15 minutes to work into the bolt threads.
- Remove plastic caps from your toilet seat bolts if your toilet seat model allows this.
- Spray rusted bolts with this penetrating oil and allow it to soak for 15 minutes.
- Attempt to remove the bolts using a screwdriver or wrench.
Once the penetrating oil has worked into the bolt, attempt to loosen it from the top. Depending on the bolt type, it may be slotted for a screwdriver, or a wrench may be required.
Hold the Nut from Below
Remember, toilet seat bolts go through your porcelain toilet and extend from the underside. By getting down to ground level and looking at the problem from below, you will see where the seat bolts extend downward and are held in place by nuts. A common occurrence is for the bolt and nut assembly to turn as you attempt to loosen the bolt from above. This means the whole assembly is turning without loosening. There is a way to combat this:
- Inspect the underside of the toilet to find where the bolts come through and point toward the ground.
- Use pliers or an adjustable wrench to hold the nut in place on the underside of the toilet.
- Use a wrench or screwdriver to attempt to loosen the bolt from the top.
By keeping the nut firmly in place and then attempting to loosen the nut, you force the bolt assembly to stop turning freely and actually begin loosening. This method works for a lot of corroded toilet seat bolts.
Use a Deep Socket
Is it difficult to get a hold of the toilet seat bolt nut on the underside of the toilet? Are you thwarted from gripping the nut due to an extremely long bolt extending from the underside? In this case, attach a deep socket to your socket wrench. This type of socket is long enough to reach the nut even if there is a long bolt protruding through it. It can help you get a grip on the nut to loosen it.
- To reach a nut tightened down on a long toilet seat bolt, use a deep socket, such as the ones in this set.
- Attach the deep socket to your socket wrench, fit the socket over the bolt, and loosen.
Once you’ve found the right socket for your bolt, you can use the method described in Tip 2 to loosen it from above, or you can try loosening the nut with the socket wrench.
Cut Off the Nut with a Dremel
If you’ve tried loosening the bolt in every way you know how and still aren’t having any success, you’ve got no choice but to cut the bolt. The best way to do this is by equipping a Dremel rotary tool with a cutting blade. Then, from the underside of the toilet, cut through the nut and bolt at a 45-degree angle. Once cut this way, you can easily pull the bolt out from the top.
- Use this Dremel equipped with a cutter blade to cut through rusted bolts.
- Dremels are small and easy to use in tight spaces.
- Cut from the underside of the toilet, slicing through the nut and bolt at a 45-degree angle.
Often, the nuts on the underside of toilet seat bolts are stripped, making it impossible to grip them with a wrench or socket. The good news is, a Dremel can cut through nylon or metal nuts and bolts easily, and without damage to your toilet.
Cut Off Nut with an Oscillating Tool
If you don’t have a Dremel on hand, you can use an oscillating tool equipped with a metal cutting blade to cut through the bolt and nut from the underside. If possible, cut through the bolt between the nut and toilet porcelain. Otherwise, cut through the nut and bolt at an angle, as you would with a Dremel.
- This oscillating tool can be used in place of a Dremel to cut through rusted bolts.
- Cut through the bolt from the underside of the toilet.
- If space allows, cut through the bolt between the nut and the toilet itself.
- If there is less room, cut through the nut and bolt at an angle.
Be careful when using an oscillating tool. Unlike Dremels, which have a smooth cutting motion, the oscillating tool blade moves from side to side during cutting. If the blade snags, the stress risks cracking your toilet. To reduce this risk, do not put excessive pressure on the blade. Allow the tool to do the work of cutting through the rusted bolt.
Cut the Bolts with a Hacksaw
A mini-hacksaw is great tool for cutting bolts in the close quarters of a bathroom. To use a hacksaw to cut rusted bolts, put duct tape around the bolts on the upper side of the toilet. Then, saw through the bolts. The duct tape will protect the porcelain from being scraped by the hacksaw. Once you’ve cut through the bolts, they should be able to be pulled downward and out.
- Use this mini hacksaw to cut rusted bolts by hand.
- Tape around the rusted bolts on the top side of the toilet.
- Cut through the bolts with the hacksaw.
- Pull the bolts through from the underside of the toilet.
This is an inexpensive and quick way to remove rusted bolts. Once the culprits have been removed, you can replace them with brass nuts and bolts when installing a new toilet seat. Unlike steel, brass won’t rust.
How Do You Remove Rusted Toilet Seat Bolts?
The best ways to remove rusted toilet seat bolts are to:
- Remove plastic covers from the bolts, then spray with penetrating oil and attempt to loosen.
- Use pliers to hold the nut in place from below while attempting to loosen the bolt from the top.
- Use a deep well socket to reach the nut on the underside of the toilet and attempt to loosen it.
- Use a Dremel tool with a cutting blade to cut through the bolt and nut.
- Use an oscillating tool to cut through the bolt and nut.
- Tape off the area around the bolts and cut the tops off the bolts using a mini hacksaw.
Begin by attempting the simple solutions that involve loosening the rusted bolts before moving on to cutting through the bolts. There is less danger in cracking your toilet if you remove the rusted bolts with a wrench than by cutting. However, cutting carefully with the right tool will allow you to remove rusted bolts without causing any damage to your toilet.