Defective Plastic SoftClose Toilet Seat Bolts

By Todd Fratzel on Plumbing, Product Reviews

picture of Toto SoftClose Toilet SeatThat’s not a dirty toilet in the photo! Those bits and pieces are from the plastic toilet seat bolts that have disintegrated! This is an expensive Toto toilet that I happen to like very well. However, I’m less than thrilled with this defect that has occurred less than two years since we bought it.

Toto was the first company to come up with the SoftClose seat system which eliminates the slamming of toilet seats. The concept is really great but clearly there is a problem with the mounting hardware. I have a sneaky suspicion that the plastic mounting bolts have deteriorated from cleaning products.

One would think that any material used in the construction of a toilet seat and it’s components would be able to withstand chemicals used for cleaning. There is something to be said for metal components to connecting a seat to a toilet bowl. For the prices of Toto products I think they may want to consider using two stainless steel bolts. I’ve sent an email to the folks at Toto to see how they respond. I’ll be sure to post a response if I receive one. I’ll also come up with some type of fix now that my expensive toilet seat is rendered useless with the failure of the plastic connection bolts.

A reader gave me a tip today about this problem. He said that he’s had this problem before so when he replaced the bolts he applied a coating of Vaseline and that has protected them from further corrosion.

Check out my post on Replacing Plastic Toilet Seat Hinge Bolts.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. Keith Bloemendaal says:

    I know soft close seats have been very trendy, and I see your point about the plastic bolts. All in all, Toto is the best flushing toilet on the market as far as I am concerned and will be in every house I ever own. I agree that a better design should be researched for the seat (for all toilets).

  2. Gene says:

    I wondered about the plastic bolts when I installed our Toto Aquia, but they’ve stood up quite well. Ours gets cleaned with water and Comet. Is yours cleaned with anything more exotic?

  3. Todd says:

    We use Comet and toilet bowl cleaner. Occasionally some 409. The design is such that water can sit inside the bolt receiver under the cover. So I have a feeling anything with chemicals can sit under there.

    We also have two American Standard toilets with soft close seats that use a slightly different design with plastic bolts and they are fine.

    Certainly a very curious problem.

  4. Molly says:

    We have the exact same problem with one of our Toto SoftClose Toilets, of course, the most busyly used one. I was so frustrated with those bits come out of here and there. Now it makes a lot of more sense if they come from the plasic bolts. Can we buy replacement bolts easily at home improvement stores or we can order them from Toto? Thanks a lot for this posting.

  5. Todd says:

    Check out my post Replacing Plastic Toilet Seat Hinge Bolts, there is a link there to buy new bolts online.

    Or here: Plumb Pak Do it Toilet Seat Hinge Replacement Bolt Sets

  6. Molly says:

    I have followed Todd’s suggestion and bought a new set of bolts. After I took off the old ones, I realized that it was not the bolts but the plastic pads (right underneath the seats) who are totally disintigrated. The bolts were holding up pretty well. I replaced them anyway. But as I do not have any new pads (I have no idea of their usage. Are they to pretact the seat from direct interaction with the toilet? Or they are used to adjust the fit?), I just screwed in the new bolts. Just wondering, are those pads manatory? If so, where can I get those?


  7. usmcvet says:

    The plastic washer iare what keeps breaking on my Toto seats. This one is less than six months old. The last one lasted several years.

  8. Kiki says:

    I had soft close Totos in my previous house for 14 years and no problems what so ever. In my newly built home of 4 years, one of the seat’s metal parts that hinge the seat are corroding and leaking rust. I took apart the other 2 toilets and nothing similar. anyone have this problem? Will Toto replace it?

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