You can solve more problems than you think by installing or fixing a slow or self-closing toilet seat.
These seats with their nifty toilet seat hinges will most likely be in everyone’s bathrooms someday.
If you haven’t upgraded already, then you’ll want to read about a few reasons why they can make life in the bathroom easier (not to mention, smoother and quieter).
What Is a Slow Close Toilet Seat?
A slow close toilet seat is basically one that closes on its own as soon as you start to push it down.
Gravity controls it but special, tensioned hinges control the gravity. This is where the slow part comes in so there’s no slamming down.
To get the seat on its way to closing, even just a light tap will do the trick. After a few seconds, the seat and/or lid will come to rest like a small feather landing on the floor.
It’s whisper quiet. Designed with special toilet seat hinges, these seats lower very slowly and make virtually no sound when they come to their closed position.
5 Great Reasons to Use a Slow Close Toilet Seat Hinge
1. No More Slamming!
The benefits of a slow close toilet seat are numerous. The biggest of course is that you’ll never have a seat slam down again with a soft close toilet seat.
Kids or adults not paying attention can let go of the seat without the consequences of a loud noise when the seat hits the stool.
This not only alleviates being startled, but it helps those who may be sleeping, such as in the middle of the night.
2. Safer with Small Children Around
Additionally, a seat that can’t slam closed is a safer one. This is especially true for little ones with tiny hands and fingers, not to mention, a pet who likes to drink from the bowl!
3. Keep Things Cleaner
Slow close toilet seats are more sanitary too. That’s because there is a little less touching and handling of the seat to get it closed.
That means fewer just “dirtied” hands grabbing the lid, but what’s better is that many models come with removable toilet seat hinges.
Sometimes referred to as “lift-off” toilet seat hinges, this design allows you to clean more easily around the toilet seat hinge area. We all know how difficult that is!
4. Helps Get Your Toilet Lids Closed
Believe it or not, consumers are saying family members are more apt to actually close the lid after installing a slow close toilet seat.
Maybe it’s because it’s just easier and way more convenient? It is less work, indeed.
Or perhaps because it’s just so cool in concept. Anyone, who’s dealt with standard seats for years, loves the novelty of a slow close seat. The coolness factor alone might just end a lot of marital arguments too!
5. Better Quality Seats
What’s more is that the hinges aren’t your ordinary toilet seat hinge, beyond the ability they perform to close your toilet seat slowly.
Most of these products are built a little better than your average toilet seat. In other words, the hinges are of higher quality, thus more durable and will last a longer time.
Get a quality model, and you can use it for many many years.
The toilet seat hinges themselves are built not to become loose, even after tightening down–a sure sign of a low-grade toilet seat; hinges that make the seat shift around. Sound familiar?
Problems with Slow Close Toilet Seats
As with anything mechanical that gets regular use, parts can wear out, become dirty or even break. There may be times when your fancy, self-closing seat and lid stops working or needs a “tune up”.
Some common complaints with faulty or aging seats include:
- Loose hinges that cause the seat to slide side-to-side
- Worn-out hinges that cause the seat to fall down hard
- Hinge cylinders that are leaking fluid/grease
- Cracked seats from perhaps too much pressure
- Worn enamel on painted wooden surfaces
- Stained surfaces that can’t be cleaned off
- Bad smells that seem to come from around the seat
How to Fix Your Slow Close Toilet Seat
Honestly, all of the above problems are not exclusive to slow close seats. The fact is you’ll find these issues with standard types as well.
This includes anything related to surfaces wearing out, smelling or becoming permanently stained.
Since the soft closing style costs more, you obviously expect it to last longer.
In fact when they do break, your disappointment leads you to want to fix your slow close toilet seat instead of simply replacing it.
You can certainly do this, but in many cases, you’ll need to order some new parts. Contacting Mayfair and Bemis directly is the best start. Their customer service number is: (888) 722-6488
When it comes to wooden seats, the best fix is actually preventative. Yes, this is the information you hopefully have before you even install your seat.
Worn, Stained or Smelly Seats
The best rule of thumb when cleaning surfaces is NOT to use “bathroom cleaners” of any kind.
This includes toilet bowl cleaners, disinfectant wipes, or brushes. These will all damage the paint over time, and the rest is history.
Some medications have been known to cause staining after they’ve run through a person’s system and come into contact with the seat or lid with urine.
These issues are usually permanent; so, starting with your very first cleaning only use a rag with hot, soapy water (such as Joy) and rinse with a second, wet rag.
Slow Close Seat Not Working
In many cases, there is a problem with the mechanism that’s responsible for the ability of these seats closing slowly.
The slow close hinges are usually made with a plastic cylinder filled with a thick, waterproof grease or a viscous silicone that creates a resistance in the hinge.
The common issue is that these cylinders (also called rotary dampers) can crack or burst, letting the functional grease leak out. Now it can’t do its job!
How do cylinders break?
One the biggest culprits to these dampers breaking is if there is a pattern of forcing the lid or seat closed. These hinges simply aren’t designed to be forced down quickly.
If this happens, the pressure will push the dampers to the limit.
The somewhat good news is that these damper components can easily be replaced on some models (but not all!).
The symptoms of a broken cylinder are:
- Seat slams down either quickly or faster than it should.
- The seat or lid is shifting in one direction or the other. This is due to the escaped fluid, causing a slippery connection between the toilet and the hinge itself.
Are both your seat’s cylinder’s broken?
One aspect to check out here is if you see fluid on both or just one hinge.
If it’s the left hinge only, then your problem will be with the seat. The left hinge controls the seat.
If it’s the right hinge only, then you’ll have issues with the lid since the right hinge controls the lid.
It IS possible to fix the seat without replacing the cylinders/cartridges. Generally, this is true if you don’t see signs of a grease leak.
But I content it’s always best just to replace parts like these instead of trying to maintain them after a certain age.
Check out this quick video showing how to take apart the hinges and replace the cartridges (instead of trying to repack with grease).
What about dirt (and other grimy substances)?
In other cases, a slow close seat that is coming down too fast just needs to be cleaned. This means from the inside out.
Over time, particles from usage can become lodged in and around the moving parts of the hinge.
Simply remove the seat and hinges and soak in warm, soapy water for 20 minutes. This will help break up and dissolve any crud that is interfering with proper operation.
If you see a visible crack or pieces that have come apart from the hinges, then it’s time for a replacement hinge. Simply call the number mentioned above for Mayfair/Bemis.
If you have another brand, try contacting the manufacturer from their website. Most warranties on these seats last just one year and are for defects only.
Get One of These!
When you go to buy a slow close toilet seat you’ll hear a lot of people say they spent about $50-60 on one. Sounds a bit steep for a seat, lid and some toilet seat hinges, doesn’t it?
You can get lower-quality plastic types for a lot less, i.e. as low as $12 – But the verdict is in that these just don’t last or feel that great. A bit too flimsy and with parts that break and make for short life spans.
Fortunately, Amazon offers a couple of options at reasonable prices (in the $25-$33 range.
Made by Mayfair, they come in traditional and elongated sizes. They are made of wood with a multi-coat enamel finish.
They come with the lift-off toilet seat hinge feature, so you can keep these guys a lot more clean simply by lifting the entire seat off for easier washing.
Bemis brand also sells these, including soft-seat varieties. User experience shows however that the Bemis parts don’t last as long.
Many consumers complain that the hinges will break and the seat stops coming down smoothly. This is interesting since Bemis and Mayfair are essentially the same manufacturer.
For around $30, you can probably afford to get a slow close toilet seat in each of your bathrooms. Not so bad, when you consider you not only get a new, quality seat but one that’s quiet and won’t pinch fingers.
And who knows, when you have guests over, you’ll have a fun little conversation topic with those that haven’t yet seen these cool slow close toilet seats.
Can You Adjust a Self-Closing Toilet Seat?
Some seat hinges are adjustable, while some are not; you’ll have to put on your DIY hat and remove the seat to inspect it to find out for sure.
It’s fairly easy to adjust the seat hinges if the seat isn’t aligned.
If you aren’t sure how to, just do this:
- Detach the caps to uncover the hinge screws.
- Remove the screws to adjust the hinges and reposition the seat as you need.
- Attach the toilet seat and the lids by pressing down the hinge pins.
- Slowly shut the seat and the lid while aligning them in the front and side of the bowl.
How Do You Stop a Soft-Close Toilet from Creaking?
If your slow-close seat or lid is starting to sound like a prop in a haunted house, it might mean your toilet seat’s hinge mechanism is a little loose.
Here’s how to tighten things up!
- Close the toilet lid and remove the screw covers (the little white caps you see on top)
- Locate the nuts keeping the screws in place
- Use pliers to hold them tight while tightening the screw with a screwdriver
- Wiggle the seat to check if it’s staying in place and not creaking. Replace the screw caps
- For good measure, spray some silicone lubricant on the hinges at the back of the toilet seat
Why Is My Soft-Close Toilet Seat Slamming?
Soft-close toilet seats have hinge dampers that help control the speed at which your seat closes.
If your slow-closing toilet seat is slamming shut, chances are these dampers need tightening.
In most cases, all you have to do is close and remove the toilet lid, locate the screws on the hinges and tighten them.
Hint: You can follow the first three steps in the previous FAQ!
How Long Do Slow-Close Toilet Seats Last?
Depending on your maintenance and usage, soft-close toilet seats can generally last five or more years.
They can work for around 30,0000-50,000 repetitions if maintained properly (and your kids aren’t too rough on them!).