Skip to Content

Toilet Bolt Cap Won’t Stay On [Causes & Solutions]

It’s quite bothersome when the toilet bolt cap keeps popping out frequently. You place them on the bolt, it doesn’t fit. Even if it fits it won’t stay there for long.

What to do when the toilet bolt cap won’t stay on?

You need to firstly find out the reason why it won’t stay on. The reason can be the rusted bolt. You’ve to then remove the rust and see if it works. If the bolt is taller then cut it so that it fits the cap. If nothing works, replace the old bolt cap with a new one.

That was the sneak peek. But it isn’t enough to solve the problem. If you wish to know more, we’ve talked about the solutions in detail here.

Let’s continue!

Why Do Toilet Bolt Caps Don’t Stay On?

It’s almost rare to see a toilet with its bolt cap in the right place. There could be quite a few reasons why it’s not staying in its place- 

Cause-1: The Bolt Is Rusted

Rust is one of the main reasons for this problem. The metal parts can inhibit rust which makes it dysfunctional for the cap. Toilet bolts get rusted easily if left open as it stays close to moistures.

It can be medium to heavily rusted. To get rid of the rust you’re gonna need these components-

  • White vinegar
  • Citric acid
  • Baking soda
  • Toothpaste
  • brush

Once you have them let’s get rid of the rust-

Step-1: Collect The Bolts

Firstly, you need to remove the screws from the toilet. Collect all the bolts and put them together afterward.

Step-2: Make Rust Removing Solution

Pour ½ cup white vinegar into a bowl. Add 1tbsp citric acid and 1 tsp of baking soda in it. Mix all the ingredients well. 

Put the metal bolts and nuts into the solution now. Once done, leave them for 30 minutes.

Step-3: Cleansing

In this step, take an old toothbrush and add some toothpaste to it. Scrub it on the metal bolts afterward. 

You’ll see all the rust leaving the metal. Repeat the process with all of the remaining bolts.

Step-4: Reinstalling The Screws

Once all the screws are rust-free, reinstall them in their position. Try putting the bolt cap on them. Hopefully, this time it’ll stay in its position.

Cause-2: The Bolt Is Bigger

Sometimes the provided metal bolts are bigger than they should be. In that case, you’ve to cut it short so the bolt cap stays on. 

You’ll need a Dremel to cut the bolts. Use the same type of Dremel that cuts your ductwork.

Anyhow, here are the steps-

Step-1: Determine The Cutting Point

There’s no need to do any calculation for this process. Just leave a cm length above the nut of the bolt and cut it. Mark the point with a scratch.

Step-2: Cut The Bolt

Use the Dremel to cut the bolt from the marked point. Put the bolt cap on to see if it’s sitting well or not. 

The problem should be solved by now. But if it doesn’t, you’ll have to replace the bolt caps.

Cause-3: Faulty Bolt Caps

When your toilet flange is too high the bolt cap will keep popping out. In this case, you may need to change the flange. But if you don’t plan on changing the flange, replace the bolt caps. 

The bolt cap comes with a washer. If you don’t have any particular product in mind, these are our suggestions-

Product 1
Product 2

Got your new bolt caps? Then let’s install them.

Step-1: Uninstall The Old Washer

Firstly, remove the old plastic bolt cap washer. It’s seated underneath the nut of the metal bolt. 

You need to remove the nut with a wrench or plier. Once finished, replace the old plastic washer with the new one and reinstall the nut. 

If the new cap is threaded,  just remove the old washer. Insert the threaded type washer on the bolt. Rotate it clockwise and tighten it properly.

Step-2: Install New Cap

After installing the washer see if the bolt cap fits on the bolt. If it doesn’t then cut the bolt short with a jigsaw. 

Use the same type of jigsaw that cuts ductwork. The cap should fit now. For threaded type caps just pop the cap over the washer and it’ll fit.

Hopefully, the cap stays in its place now.


Question: Can toilet bolts be reused?

Answer: It’s best not to reuse them even if it’s the right-sized for your toilet. If you don’t have any other option at hand you can use it. But remove rusts and clean them thoroughly before reusing them.

Question: What’s the purpose of plastic toilet bolt caps?

Answer: They protect the bolt from moisture so that it doesn’t get rusted. It prevents water from getting inside the inner areas. It also has a decorative purpose.

Question: How tight do the bolts need to be?

Answer: It shouldn’t be too tight. If you hear the sound of metal then stop tightening it. But if you see it’s still rotating around the bolt, keep going.

Final Verdict

Have you found the reason why your toilet bolt cap won’t stay on? You can apply our described solutions to fix this problem. Hopefully, this piece was helpful for you.

Good luck with your renovation!