10 Easy Steps to Fix a Wobbly Toilet

Do you have a wobbly toilet that keeps moving back and forth on your toilet floor?

A rocking toilet would be a super cute idea if the bathroom were for relaxation. But even recreational vehicles (RV toilets) are not for recreation.

You can only put up with few things for so long. A wobbly toilet should not be one of them, especially when leakage is involved.

Thus, knowing how to fix a wobbly toilet can help you prevent bigger problems that could cost you a couple of dollars.

Here, we have put up proven solutions to fixing this frustrating toilet concern.

The Process of Fixing a Wobbly Toilet

This step-by-step DIY guide to fixing a wobbly toilet applies to American standard toilets, including the corner toilet.

There are two stages involved in the entire process of fixing a wobbly toilet:

  1. The diagnosis
  2. The solution (this would depend on the result gotten from the diagnosis).

The Diagnosis

The Diagnosis

Why is your toilet wobbly? This question is the fundamental question this stage tries to answer. The obvious answer is that it no longer rests flat against the floor as it should. As a result, it rocks back and forth or to either side when you sit on it. You need a good understanding of the components of the toilet base and how they function to steady your wobbly toilet efficiently.

The toilet flange is the primary component that locks your toilet to the drain pipe. Ideally, this flange is supposed to flush with the floor level before placing the ceramic part on it. In situations where the rim is a little higher than the floor level, the toilet itself will not flush comfortably against the floor, and it would eventually develop a little wobble, which worsens over time as more weights settle on it under continued use.

Your toilet could also get wobbly as a result of a deformation of the wax ring whose primary function is to seal off the possibility of water leaking from underneath the base of the toilet. This situation usually results from an uneven compression of the wax ring.

Another primary reason which could be responsible for your wobbly toilet is a situation where part of the floor forming the toilet base has settled in a little bit, thereby making the floor surface slanted or uneven. This phenomenon is particularly common with wooden floors as they get older.

The first components that suffer when your toilet is wobbly are the two closet bolts that connect the ceramic porcelain to the toilet flange. They bend to the pull of the rocking toilet, and this defect could break the holes through which the bolts attach the ceramic enamel to the rim.

The Solution

The Solution

How do you fix your wobbly toilet? This question is the question this stage tries to answer. The answer depends on the result of the diagnosis.

The very first thing to check when fixing your wobbly toilet is the closet bolts. Sometimes, the wobble may be as a result of the side closet bolts coming loose. This scenario is very likely to occur as it is actual practice during the installation of toilets to not tighten the bolts so hard on the very brittle ceramic.

In the case of a loose closet bolt, you only need to tighten the nuts back such that it holds down the wobbling toilet. You can do this with the use of a small-sized wrench or a pair of pliers or a spanner of appropriate size.

However, when your toilet wobbles for a reason a little bit more complicated, like the most common cases stated under the diagnosis above, then necessary installation steps have to be taken to resolve the challenge.

I will provide you with an elaborate discussion of these steps as they apply to each case, but first, take a look at the list of tools and supplies you need to carry out the process below effectively.


  • Wrench or a pair of pliers
  • Sponge and bowl or a small vacuum cleaner
  • A putty knife
  • A hacksaw or grinder
  • Spirit level


  • Toilet bolt and lock wash
  • Wax ring
  • Plastic shims
  • Caulk
  • Bolt cap base, washer, and closet bolt cap

Steps to Fixing a Wobbly Toilet

Scrutinize the base of your toilet and ascertain if the water is leaking from the bottom or not. This scrutiny is an essential consideration in fixing your wobbly toilet as the process involves the removal of the old wax ring and the installation of a new one.

If there is no leakage of water, then you can progress to the steps below:

Step 1. Turn off the water supply

Step 1

Turn off the water supply to the toilet by closing the angle seat piston valve. The angle seat piston valve is a metallic component attached through the wall to the main water supply. It also has a short strip of a hose linked to the toilet, which supplies water to it.

Step 2. Flush out the water

Step 2

Flush out the water in the toilet down the drain pipe. Use a sponge and bowl to mop up whatever last drops of water are left. You could also use a small vacuum cleaner to suck out the remaining water more efficiently.

Step 3. Detach the hose

Step 3

Detach the short strip of hose which supplies water to the toilet. Disconnecting the hose ensures the possibility of moving the toilet off its base.

Step 4. Take off the bolt caps

Step 4

Take off the bolt caps (if present) covering the toilet bolts on either side of the toilet. Use the spanner, wrench, or pliers to loosen the nuts and washers from the toilet bolts.

Step 5. Lift off the toilet

Step 5

Gently lift off the toilet from its base and place it on any material that could cushion it from unnecessary risk of breakage.

Step 6. Scrape off the old wax ring

Step 6

Inspect the wax ring for uneven compression and check the level of the toilet flange to ascertain what could be the cause of the wobbly toilet.

Use a putty knife or any other suitable object to scrape off the old wax ring. You may have to replace or repair the toilet flange if it has any damage or breakage.

Step 7. Check the level of floor

Step 7

Use the spirit level to check the level of the floor. If the floor is not level, it becomes necessary to wedge the toilet with the use of shims.

Step 8. Replace new closet bolts

Step 8

Put new toilet bolts into the groove provided in the toilet flange and secure the bolts with bolt wash. Place a new wax ring on the toilet flange.

Gently replace the toilet on the new closet bolts. Wedge the toilet underneath with shims while checking its level with the help of the spirit level.

Step 9. Tighten the toilet

Step 9

Slide the base of the bolt cap, the washer, and the nuts on the closet bolts. Take time to check which side of the base of the bolt cap should face up before sliding it on the closet bolts.

The words, “This Side Up” is usually written on the base as a quick guide. Tighten the nuts to secure the toilet to the toilet flange. Use the hacksaw or grinder to cut off the excess protrusion of the closet bolts. Cover the closet bolts with the bolt caps.

Step 10. Reconnect the hose

Step 10

Reconnect the hose to the toilet and turn on the angle seat piston valve to allow the supply of water into the tank again. Run a flushing test as many times as you deem fit for possible leakage. When you are sure of no leakage, use the caulk to seal off the space created by the wedged shims between the base of the toilet and the floor. Allow the caulk enough time to set.

Note that there is a more effective substitute for a wax ring. This substitute is a flexible rubber gasket. The flexible rubber gasket has proven to be more efficient than the traditional wax ring as it does not suffer from uneven compression. Because rubber is the essential component of the gasket, it always returns to its original shape after being compressed. This ability ensures that your toilet does not go shaky as a result of uneven compression, as is the case with the wax ring.

I know you may not be very familiar with the terms used in the steps above or the appearance of some of the tools and supplies. You can find out here.


The information above presents all you need to know about fixing that wobbly toilet that has been a thorn in your flesh. I have made an effort to take you through the logical stages and the steps you can follow to fix your rocking toilet yourself. The two main stages which are very easy to appreciate and adopt are:

  • The diagnosis
  • The solution.

Always refer to the 18 steps as detailed above to guide you as you go about fixing your wobbly toilet yourself. It may be necessary to say that the information contained in this article excludes such toilet types like the portable toilet or camping toilet.

Feel free to ask questions in any area of this article you find confusing. We will be delighted to hear from you.

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