How To Remove Toilet Bolt Caps Like A Pro

The process of removing a toilet to fix a leak can seem like a daunting task that can only be handled by a skilled plumber. However, regardless of whether you want to fix a leak or replace your toilet, the entire process starts with removing the toilet bolt caps. These caps securely cover the bolts holding your toilet to the flange, particularly for floor-mounted toilets. Once you understand how to install the toilet bolt caps, it becomes easier to get them off. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to remove toilet bolt caps without too much difficulty.

What Holds The Toilet Caps

The work of toilet bolts is holding the toilet onto the flange, which attaches it to the floor. Once the toilet is installed, you’ll see the toilet bolts poking through the holes at the base of the toilet’s bowl. Before screwing nuts to hold the toilet down, caps have to be used on the bolts. When sliding the toilet cap, you have to install it with its perimeter ridge facing up. 

Next, you should follow the cap with a metal washer and a nut to firmly hold down the toilet. It’s advisable to consider effort-saving snap-off toilet bolt caps, so you don’t have to struggle when removing the caps. You need to make sure the cap snaps and locks tightly when installing and fitting it onto the toilet’s plastic base.

Steps Of Removing Toilet Bolt Caps

Step One:

Avoid transferring germs from the toilet’s surfaces by putting on rubber gloves. You should also disinfect the surfaces with an effective disinfectant to ensure the work environment is thoroughly clean.

Step Two:

Make sure you can easily access the toilet bolt caps by closing the toilet seat. Remember, the snap caps are located directly behind your toilet’s seat.

Step Three:

Use the tip of a flat screwdriver or edge of a kitchen knife to pry the toilet bolt caps in an upward motion. A flat-head screwdriver with a long handle is the best for prying under the toilet bolt cap. If you notice that the cap doesn’t come right off as you pry it upward, consider working the kitchen knife or screwdriver around it in several locations. This will make the removal much easier and faster. 

Sometimes, the toilet bolt cap may be welded so hard to the toilet’s plastic base by rust or water deposits so firmly that prying the cap with a knife doesn’t work. In such situations, simply cut off the toilet bolt cap with a knife because these caps are inexpensive and easy to find online. 

However, before you cut it off, spray some lubricant around the plastic base and wait for a few minutes before you try prying it out again. Alternatively, try to douse the toilet bolt cap with vinegar to dissolve the hard water deposits or lime. Removing the toilet bolt caps, which are hinged at the back, exposes the metal screws that hold the toilet seat.

Step Four

Use the screwdriver to turn the screw anticlockwise in order to loosen it. If the screw is stripped, only the screw will turn in place. So, you’ll need to use your other hand to reach under the rim and hold the nut tightly at the bottom of the screw. Even though toilet bolts should be tight, they shouldn’t be overtightened.

Step Five:

Remove the screws and nuts. Remove the seat and lid that contains the toilet bolt caps from the bowl, be it round or elongated. When dealing with corroded bolts, you may need to use a wrench to unscrew the rusted bolts. In case the bolt spins along with the nut, you should cut it off with a hacksaw. Plastic nuts and bolts are often recommended because they don’t corrode.

Types of Toilet Bolt Caps

Closet bolts that secure the toilet to the floor can easily pop off when cleaning your toilet and go missing. Thankfully, there are different types of affordable toilet bolt caps on the market that you can use to hide the long toilet bolts. In fact, some of the plastic toilet bolt caps on the market are even more decorative than the original ones. 

Basic Replacement Toilet Caps

These are simple toilet bolt caps that come with decorative plastic caps that can snap onto a toilet’s base washer. When installing the toilet bolt cap, you need to cut the long bolts with a hacksaw so that the short replacement toilet cap can perfectly fit over the bolt. You need to remove the nut and washer to install the replacement toilet cap. Finally, fit the toilet cap over the long bolt and snap it onto the base washer. 

Threaded Caps

With the improved threaded caps, you don’t need to remove the nuts and washer so as to install your new caps. All you need to do is thread an adapter onto the closet bolt and let it snap or thread the adapter piece. 

Furthermore, you don’t have to cut your long bolts because the threaded toilet bolt caps are tall enough. These types of toilet bolt caps are more durable than Snap-on toilet bolt caps. The process of installing threaded toilet bolt caps from reputable manufacturers such as Danco is very easy.

Tall Toilet Bolt Caps

Extra-tall threaded toilet bolt caps are the newest entrants on the market. This type of toilet bolt cap is way simpler compared to the threaded adapter-type toilet bolt cap. Even though you don’t need an adapter to thread the tall caps onto the bolt, they’re just as secure. At 5/16 inches tall, you don’t have to worry about cutting down your bolts for the caps to fit perfectly unless the bolts are too tall.


The process of removing toilet bolt caps can be challenging to first-timers because the caps don’t have handles and are not easy to grip. Although the process of removing the toilet bolt caps may vary from brand to brand, once you get the general idea of how to go about it, you can handle it. You should leave your toilet for at least 8 hours to install fully before using it. This is mainly because the toilet requires enough time to dry properly and form strong support at the base.

Smith Edwards

Smith Edwards is a licensed plumber and writer with over a decade of hands-on construction and home improvement experience and has been providing home improvement advice for over 12 years.

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