How to Replace a Toilet Handle

how to replace toilet handle

Is your toilet handle broken? Perhaps it’s rusty and dingy in appearance or maybe it’s become loose? Whether you’re replacing your toilet handle out of necessity or to improve the appearance of your bathroom, this simple DIY project can be done in 15 minutes or less.

How to Replace a Toilet Handle in 6 Steps

Before you begin, make sure to have the following tools.


  • Crescent wrench
  • Toilet handle (available at hardware stores)
  • Gloves (optional)


Step 1. Remove the tank. Remove the lid from the top of the toilet tank. Set it gently on a towel or another surface where it will be safe. If you don’t already have your new handle, note the type of tank you have – this information may come in handy when you are shopping for a replacement.

Step 2. Unhook the lift chain. Within the toilet tank is the lift chain. The lift chain is attached to a long arm, which is attached to the handle. You will need to locate the lift chain and unhook the clasp that fastens the chain to the arm. Make a note of which hole the chain is hooked to.

Step 3. Remove the old handle. Using your crescent wrench, remove the nut inside of the tank that holds the handle in place. Go easy when you are removing the nut as many contain left-handed thread, meaning you will need to turn in the opposite direction of a normal nut (right to left). Don’t force it as this can crack the porcelain.

If the nut is hard to remove, you can try spraying it with WD-40. Once the nut is loose, remove it.

Step 4. Buy a replacement. If you don’t already have a replacement handle, you will need to buy one. The replacement handle is called a toilet trip lever and comes with the handle and swing arm. Most options cost around $20.

When it comes to toilet trip levers, there is no one-size-fits all option. You may need to ask an employee at the hardware store for assistance based on the brand name and model number of your toilet.

Step 5. Attach the new handle. Once you have your new handle, it’s time to attach it. If there is mildew or rust on the porcelain around the handle hole, use a sponge or steel wool to remove it.

Remove the nut from the new handle and insert the arm in to hole before sliding the nut back over the arm. Hand-turn it to the handle base, remembering that it may be a left-handed thread.

Use your crescent wrench to tighten it slightly.

Step 6. Attach the chain. Take the chain and attach it to the old arm, clipping it to the same hole it was originally on. From there, do some test flushes to make sure the flush mechanism opens and closes correctly. If it doesn’t, you can try adjusting the chain up or down a notch or two and testing again.

Contact Climate Design for Plumbing Services in Clearwater, FL

If you’d rather leave it to the professional, Climate Design can help. We offer comprehensive plumbing services to the Clearwater and Tampa Bay area. Call us today for more information or simply set up an appointment online at your convenience.

Call (888) 572-7245 to Schedule Your Appointment