If your toilet handle feels loose, you may experience weak flushing or a running toilet. Handles are essential parts of the toilet designed to flush the water into the septic tank. Since they get used frequently, it is only a matter of time they come loose. Luckily, the problem can easily be fixed without professional help by following these tips.

Prepare to Fix the Handle

To fix the toilet handle, gather:

  • plastic gloves
  • adjustable wrench
  • needle-nose pliers
  • scrub brush 
  • sponge
  • white vinegar
  • new flush lever (optional)

Sometimes, the problem isn't the handle unless it jiggles freely or tightens, and it doesn't impact the toilet. Shut off the water supply to the toilet from the valve behind or beside of it, then flush the toilet. If water remains in the bowl, soak it with a sponge. Don't lean against the toilet tank to avoid breaking seals on the bowl.

Check the Trip Lever

Lift the toilet tank lid from the bowl, and prop it in a safe place. Look for the bar, or trip lever, and tighten the nut by turning it to the left with the wrench, but don't make it too tight. If you find mineral deposits or light rust on the nut or shaft, clean it with vinegar and a scrub brush before you tighten it.  

If the lever still seems tight, replace the washer. Remove the nut by using a wrench to rotate it clockwise, remove the washer, and buy a replacement. 

The nut on the toilet lever commonly has reverse threads, which means it turns right to loosen instead of to the left. Fix bent metal trip levers by using the pliers to bend them back in place. 

Some plastic levers that are too long can be trimmed with a hacksaw. Check for tightness on the lever by pushing it down, and loosen the nut slightly, if it is too tight.

If the lever is broken or rusted, replace it, noting metal levers last longer than plastic. Remove the chain from the broken lever by turning the nut to the right and insert a new lever, then test the repair. 

Adjust the Chain 

Ensure the chain has not been disconnected from the flush lever, and reconnect it to the hole on the end. If the chain is too long, insert it into another hole using pliers, if needed. Attempt to unbend links with needle-nose pliers.

Restore water, test the handle, and keep adjusting until you get the right length to tighten it. Chains should have a one-inch slack. To learn more, contact a licensed plumber.