Loose toilet seats in public restrooms

I have noticed in recent months that many of the toilet seats in women’s restrooms, whether restaurants, stores, or other public facilities, frequently seem to be loose or even completely unsecured to the bowl. Sometimes they’re a little bit askew, sometimes they’re barely balanced in place.

When I asked my husband, he said he’d never noticed loose seats in the men’s rooms, but this morning he did confirm that the seat in the Burger King was properly secured. So, one data point from him.

Poll follows - have you encountered loose seats? Just for giggles, you might mention where you’re from - perhaps it’s a regional issue??

So, you’re saying that most public toilets have…loose stools?

Not only that, I encountered one that I was certain had no nuts… altho my spousal unit said if there were nuts, I should look around for a urinal to be sure I was in the correct toilet… :smiley:

Female here. Yes I encounter them and I usually try to hand-tighten them before I leave. I know people are germophobes these days, but I figure I’m going to wash my hands afterward anyway.


I think that men are more likely to tighten them up than ladies are. Men are also more likey to have some tool in his pocket to get them good and tight as well. I have a Leatherman on me at all times. I use it daily. My wife has a good Buck knife but it will not tighten the nuts on the toilet seat.

I have never found a loose seat on a public toilet. I try to only use a urinal in public rest rooms. Which is a factor I am sure.

I have tightened the seat at my cousins house. His wife had daily asked him to fix it for over a week. He just kept forgetting, much to his wife’s dismay. I used their John while visiting one day & found the seat loose. I fixed it without even thinking about it. She called me later that night to thank me. She had already thanked him. He is an honest man and told her he had not gotten around to it yet. She figured out by the process of elimination, that I was the seat tightener.

Thank you for this poll, as it touches on something that bugs the crap out of me (sorry!).

“Always” may be an exaggeration, but it was a lot closer for my experiences than “occasionally” so I picked it. I certainly would have voted for “frequently” if you had included it as a choice. The fact is, toilet seat fixing technology has gone to shit in the last several years (sorry again, hard to resist).

I’m assuming that back in the day, metal bolts and nuts were used to affix toilet seats to bowls. Now, they’re all made of plastic, and they simply do…not…hold. I’ve sat on more than one seat that was a lawsuit waiting to happen, and I’ve learned to, er, lower myself very carefully in public restrooms because of too many experiences of swaying to the side or nearly being thrown off.

Of course, the phenomenon is not limited to public restrooms. I replaced the toilet seat in our downstairs bathroom at home a few months ago. I installed it properly using all of the appropriate tools and tightened it as well as was humanly possible. Within days, it was swaying to the side.

The directions said to retighten after a few days’ use. Fair enough, but the problem has persisted through multiple tightenings, and by now the slots in the cheap plastic bolts are starting to get stripped. I don’t know how easy it would be to find metal nuts and bolts of the rather large size required, but I’m planning on looking into it.

It’s a conspiracy, I tell you!

I hover in public places so no I don’t encounter loose seats.

These things are an injury hazard for men - if the seat is loose enough to slip sideways so that the rubber feet go off the bowl edge, there is a distinct possiblity of something dangly getting slammed between seat and porcelain.

I have tightened a few in the past, but I encountered one too many corroded situations - ick. Plus, frankly, I don’t have the hand strength to do much and I don’t carry tools beyond a nail clipper. I should probably say something to a manager - maybe I’ll do that from now on.

I try to tighten them.

Probably the biggest reason for loose toilet seats in public places is the increasing size of people. I had one 400 lb co-worker who proudly acknowledged that he broke the toilet seat just sitting on it at work!

How does the size of the person using the toilet translate to the nuts coming loose? I’m not sure I get the connection. I agree with **DChord **that the nylon “hardware” is pretty much crap.

Wait a second - I’m an engineer - I bet I could come up with a better way to secure the seats… hmmmmmm

They do exist, but when I looking into it as replacement parts for an apartment complex I managed, a plumber told me there were three reasons for the plastic components, in order of importance:

  1. lack of corrosion, which means you can actually take them off when the time comes to replace the seat
  2. lower cost
  3. weaker bolts mean that they are the point of failure if something bad happens. If the weakest point is the porcelain of the toilet itself, you have a very expensive replacement, so there’s a big incentive to make sure that either the seat or the bolts break before the toilet does.

I think the biggest problem people have installing and tightening these things is that they try to use an ordinary flat head screwdriver to install the bolts. Bad idea. I’ll use the flat end of a metal ruler or a chisel before I’ll use a screwdriver. That way, I’m filling up the whole groove of the bolt and not just a quarter inch of it. If you must use a flat head, consider holding it at an angle to use the side of the blade instead of the point. (And, when you use any of these techniques, you realize that it’s a lot easier to hold the bolt stable and screw on the nut, which is also an important realization. Holding the nut and screwing in the bolt doesn’t work as well.)

I don’t sit often enough in public bathrooms to have enough of a sample set to generalize, but my seats at home are pretty loose.

I cannot remember ever encountering one. Maybe it’s more common in larger cities, where more people use them and thus have a chance of loosening them?

It is toilet seats that bother me, but not loose ones. Can some one tell me why and how do women manage to pee on the friggin toilet seat? I can not squat any more and invariably if I don’t check , dry the seat with the toilet paper I end up sitting in someone else’s pee. I hate that.

Hover peeing. If the stream isn’t continuous and narrow, or if the angle of hover is off, sometimes it drips or sprays on the seat. Which causes the next disgusted person to hover pee, which adds to the problem. I stopped hover peeing unless the seat is really, really grody because I figured the nastiness of having to wipe it up after a spraying accident was worse than just sitting in the first place.

Also, for the people that use mounds of toilet paper to jerry-rig a toilet seat cover, can you please remove all of it after you’re done? And then flush? Entering a stall to find bits of toilet paper stuck to the seat, or a big wet glob of it still in the bowl, is unpleasant.