Toilet Handle Sticks

Toilet Handle Sticks

Toilet Handle SticksA toilet handle that sticks can create a lot of anxiety. You may worry about the cost of repairs, as plumbers charge you almost $100 just to come out, even if it’s a quick 5 minute fix!

Or worse, the shame and humiliation that could be hurled at you from the next person to use the bathroom if the toilet stops flushing completely.

The good news is that a toilet handle that sticks down usually requires nothing more than a simple DIY fix.

Learn how to fix a toilet handle that sticks in just a few simple steps.

How to Fix a Toilet Handle that Sticks in 6 Steps

Materials Needed

  • Comet (or another bathroom cleaner)
  • Paper towel
  • Pliers
  • Toothbrush

Step 1. Turn off the water supply and remove the lid.

Start by turning off the water supply. Then clear an area next to the toilet to set down the lid. Toilet tank lids are heavy and can break easily, so use both hands when lifting the toilet tank lid up and removing it. It’s best to set the lid down on the floor, not a nearby counter. You don’t want to accidentally bump the lid and knock it off, injuring yourself or breaking the lid in the process. With the water supply off, give the toilet a flush so that the water in the tank drains out. This will give you a bit more room to work.

Step 2. Remove the toilet handle.

Remove the toilet chain from the end of the toilet handle arm and rest it on the fill valve. Then use the pliers to loosen the toilet handle nut by turning it clockwise. The nut is attached directly to the other side of the toilet handle, located on the inside of the toilet tank. After you have loosened the nut, you can unscrew it by hand and carefully remove the toilet handle mechanism.

Step 3. Clean the toilet handle mechanism and surrounding areas.

Dirt, grime, debris, and hard water build-up can impede the handle from being able to properly move up and down. Spray the area with Comet or a bathroom cleaner and use an old toothbrush to clean the area around the toilet handle, the toilet handle mechanism, and the toilet nut, with special attention to the threaded areas. Once you’ve finished cleaning the toilet handle and nut, give them a rinse in your sink and then use a paper towel to wipe around the hole where the mechanism was located inside the toilet tank.

Step 4. Re-install the toilet handle mechanism.

Put the now clean toilet handle mechanism back in place and slide the toilet nut back on and retighten it by hand. Use the pliers to tighten the nut further to be secure, but be sure to not fasten it too tight, as sometimes if the nut is too tight it can cause the toilet handle to stick. Before moving on, test the handle to make sure everything is on right and adjusted correctly. Re-adjust as needed.

Step 5. Turn on the water and test.

Turn on the water supply, put the toilet chain back on, and then give the toilet a flush to ensure the toilet handle is no longer sticking. If the toilet handle stays down or won’t go up, try unscrewing the nut and adjusting the handle to be more snug, and then retighten the nut just a bit more than what you can do by hand. If you can’t get the toilet handle to stop sticking, you’ll likely need to purchase a new toilet handle and replace it.

Step 6. Put the lid back on.

Give the toilet another flush just to be sure, or to marvel at your work. Once you’ve confirmed that everything is working and the handle is no longer sticking, remember to put the lid back on the toilet tank.

What To Do If You Can’t Fix a Toilet Handle That’s Stuck

If you’re still unable to fix the problem after following the steps or replacing the toilet handle, you’ll want to examine your toilet chain.

When flushing properly, the flush arm pulls on the lift chain, which lifts the flapper up away from the flush valve. When the chain has too much slack, the flush arm is unable to lift the flapper high enough to properly flush. So if the handle is not held down during the flush, the flapper falls back over the flush valve — preventing water flow and creating the sensation of a stuck toilet handle.

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