The upstairs toilet in our house has a gender-specific problem: the seat won't stay up without being held up. This is because the lid of the cistern sticks out a bit too much, so that the seat's centre of gravity is slightly on the wrong side of the hinge. I already replaced the seat when we moved in, it didn't make any difference: basically, the holes in the toilet where you attach the seat are a bit too far back.

I'm not going to try to fix this (very annoying, only for me) problem by replacing the toilet, or just the cistern. But, what would work, if it's possible, is to make the seat a bit more stiff, ie resistant to movement. It's only just on the wrong side of the vertical, so that if the hinge was a bit stiffer, i believe it would stay up by itself, without being resistant to movement in general (obviously it still needs to be lowerable so gluing it in a fixed position isn't an option).

There's no way to adjust the hinge, ie no screws to tighten, and it can't be taken apart without breaking it. So what i'm after is some sort of "anti lubricant" that i can put into the hinge. The hinge (on each side) consists of metal (or perhaps chrome-plated plastic) cylinders, which butt up against each other, similar to in this photo:

enter image description here

If i do put an "anti-lubricant" in there, it's going to have to be something that will be able to get into the tiny space between the rotating parts of the hinge.

Does anyone know of such a substance? Or have any other solutions? thanks, Max

EDIT: I have a 1 year old running around, so any solutions need to be child-friendly: that means that if the solution uses magnets, for example, the magnets need to be very hard to swallow.

EDIT2: i wanted to put a photo up of my solution, which was suggested by @handyman in the correct answer below:

enter image description here

Before on the right, and after on the left. Basically i unscrewed the seat and lid, loosened the discs that hold the hinges and rotated each one 180 degrees. Fortunately i was able to rotate the vertical posts that hold the actual hinges as well, to keep the hinges pointing in the same direction as they were originally, but just an inch or so further forward, which made the crucial difference.

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    The tolerances between cast parts is likely sloppy enough that an "anti-lube" won't have the effect you're after. You'd need to sandwich rubber gaskets between the hinge segments, creating a spring effect to provide friction. – isherwood Feb 8 '16 at 15:49
  • counterweight?? – user1886419 Feb 8 '16 at 19:50
  • FYI what you have there is a classic example of a bijoona (cphs68.com/IN-SEARCH-OF-THE-SAVAGE-BIJOONA.pdf). (pdf) – A. I. Breveleri Feb 8 '16 at 23:27

Some designs of hinge are often fitted the wrong way around. Try taking the seat off and swapping the hinges over side to side. I've seen this many times. With the vertical part of the hinge further forward it alters the balance point and hey presto, the seat stays up.

Worth a second look at least...

  • It certainly is worth a look, this would be a lovely solution if it works :) thanks. – Max Williams Feb 10 '16 at 8:43
  • This worked! As you said the hinges were right at the back of the round plate that is screwed onto the toilet. I unscrewed the lid and seat from the hinges, loosened the plates and rotated each one 180 degrees, fortunately was able to rotate the hinges themselves on the metal plates. Then screwed the seat and lid back on and it's standing up by itself. Great and elegant solution. Thanks – Max Williams Feb 13 '16 at 9:40
  • Awesome, thought it would do the trick! Feel free to send flowers, chocolates etc. etc. lol! – handyman Feb 14 '16 at 12:29

If you're open to buying a new toilet seat you can find seats with stiff hinges such as this:

EZ Close seat

Random example, never used above product...

With little kids in the house, I've picked up a few of these type of seat from a local home store. They are marketed as "Slam free", "slow close", "quiet close" and similar. The hinge provides enough resistance so the seat will eventually slide to the close position, but it will not slam or start to fall by itself.

This might not be the cheapest answer, but my seats were due for replacement anyway, so it was a good option for me.

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    BTW i don't see anything about that product that makes me think it will stay open in a near-vertical position. – Max Williams Feb 8 '16 at 14:51
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    It has a stiff hinge, which is exactly what you asked for. From experience, I can tell you that the ones I have must be pulled away from anything considered near-vertical before they will close on their own. I'd recommend finding one it a store that you can test since they might not all be designed the same, but I'm sure most are just a "tight hinge". – JPhi1618 Feb 8 '16 at 14:54
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    I installed one when I remodeled our bathroom a few months back, and it refuses to fall on its own until you pull it a good 3-4 inches from vertical. It'll hang in a slanted position before you hit that magic distance. – DonBoitnott Feb 8 '16 at 14:55
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    And little fingers was my exact reason. My two little ones have to be in there at the same time, every time, so fingers are going to get smashed at some point! – JPhi1618 Feb 8 '16 at 14:56
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    I just replaced the lid in my teenage son's bathroom with this lid (or one that's very similar, I'm not sure of the exact model). It is very stiff, at least now in its new state, both for lifting and closing. Not like "closing" happens very often... see earlier sentence about teenage boy! – Mike Harris Feb 8 '16 at 16:04

You have some other possible solutions if you do not want to replace with another lid as suggested in the comments.

  1. You could make a loop of cord or ribbon that attaches to the back of the cistern lid that you pickup and loop around the lid when it is in the UP position.

  2. You could get some of the white stick on Velcro material and put one piece on the top of the lid and the other piece on front edge of the cistern lid.

  3. An alternative to the Velcro would be to embed a magnet into the lid surface and make a steel clip that is inserted between cistern lid and the tank. If done with finesse this would not look bad at all and fully solve the problem of keeping the lid up. Embedding the magnet could be done by making a flat bottom hole for a round magnet with a Forstner bit and then installing and covering the magnet with white epoxy. The metal bracket can be spray painted with gloss white paint and would hardly be noticeable.

  • Thanks - the magnet thing is promising, and i might have some suitable magnets (eg magnet-backed paper) lying around. – Max Williams Feb 8 '16 at 15:57
  • If I was going for the magnet concept I would use something like one of these: acehardware.com/product/… – Michael Karas Feb 8 '16 at 16:18
  • Thanks. I would actually shy away from coin magnets due to having a toddler running round: if swallowed on their own they're not too bad but if they swallow two magnets at once it can cause terrible problems. If it was a magnetic paper square which is glued on i'd feel safer. – Max Williams Feb 8 '16 at 16:23
  • OK, got you. Safety is a concern, – Michael Karas Feb 8 '16 at 16:26
  • I should have mentioned that in my question actually - sorry. Will edit now. – Max Williams Feb 8 '16 at 16:30

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