DEAR MIKE: I just moved into a resale house and the first thing I absolutely must do is change the toilet seats. I'm not very handy but I don't want to pay somebody to do this, so please tell me how. It grosses me out to think that somebody else has done their business in my new house. -- Amy A.
DEAR AMY: I'll bet you have a real phobia about using public restrooms. In fact, I'll bet you won't even sit down unless you've wiped the seat clean and then laid down a tissue-paper protective barrier.
If you think sitting on someone else's toilet seat is gross, just wait until you replace it, particularly if there were males living in the house. There is something about a man and his toilet. So unless the previous occupants were clean freaks, be afraid -- be very afraid.
There are two different styles of toilet seats. One is round and the other is elongated. Less expensive toilets have round bowls and the higher end (pun intended) bowls are elongated.
Once you figure out which style of seat to buy, you'll need to decide on the type. They're made of plastic, wood or other materials by special order, and some even come with warranties -- although I'm not sure I want to know what they are warranteed against.
You can also buy the kind of seat that has an open front (like you would see in a unisex restroom in a commercial location). These are perfect for guys who haven't figured out why the seat won't lift back up after the ladies have used it.
Toilet seats are held on with two large plastic bolts. To remove the old seat, use a standard screwdriver and pop up the cover that conceals the bolt. Now, brace yourself, look under the back of the bowl. There will be a nut encrusted in years of foulness. This plastic nut holds the bolt in place. You will want to hold the nut with pliers while you unscrew the plastic bolt. Remove the nut from each bolt.
The new toilet seat will come in a plastic bag. Remove the new seat from the bag and slide the old seat from the front all the way to the back into the bag (that way you don't have to touch it). Once the old seat is in the bag, just lift it off and throw it out.
The new seat goes on just as easily as the old one came off. Push the plastic bolts through the holes in the back of the seat's hinges and into the holes in the bowl. Place a nut on the end of each bolt and screw it until it is snug. Be careful not to overtighten it as the plastic will easily strip.
Now you can relax as you enjoy your morning newspaper on your new throne.