What are toilet seats made of?

What are toilet seats made of?

Is your bathroom toilet seat uncomfortable, splintering, broke, or out of date? Today’s toilet seats manufacturing produces durable plastic and quality wooden materials. These materials will keep bathroom visitors content over years of bathroom uses. Find out which type of material suits your bathroom seat needs the best.

Plastic toilet seats

Plastic seats are created to easily fit the bottom of the person using it. These seats can be designed by machines that use molds to create them. They also have the flexibility and versatility to be designed with stuffing or cushioning. At the high end, they even stuff with a heating mechanism installed internally like a fancy bidet.
Plastic seats are lightweight, durable, and can last for many years. But, they’re not perfect. These seats are not indestructible. They still wear over time and can even break depending on the types of pressure put on it and the methods you choose to clean it.

3 materials plastic toilet seats are made out of:

  • Thermoset plastic. A thermoset plastic toilet seat is made out of resin powder and a hardener and is compressed in a mold. Thermoset materials get stronger as they get heated, but can’t be reheated after creation. Thermoset plastic seats are known to be unscratchable and easy to clean. Types: Duraplast compression molded.
  • A thermoplastic toilet seat is created out of resin that is injected into a mold. These thermoplastic seats are known to be unbreakable but are not unscratchable. Types: ABS plastic injection molded, PP or polypropylene plastic injection molded.
  • Toilet seats made out of resin and a mold are typically made to be see-through or with some kind of design, coloring, or objects set inside of it.

How long will plastic toilet seats last?

The better you take care of plastic, the longer it lasts. Take into consideration that every consumer will have a different lifecycle for their toilet seat. The good news is, with simple care your toilet seat can last for years.

  • Thermoset: Several years
  • Thermoplastic: 5 years
  • Resin: Several years

What can you use to clean plastic toilet seats?

Wirquin says, you can use mild soap, water, and a soft cloth or paper towel only. Do not use an abrasive or acidic cleaner like bleach on the plastic toilet seat. Using these types of cleaners will erode the plastic and cause openings and cracks that can store bacteria. This will cause quicker weathering and will cause you to purchase another toilet sooner than you need to. All it takes is a mild soap detergent (I prefer Dawn) and water.

Wooden toilet seats

Wooden toilet seats can look aesthetically pleasing. Typically they are heavier than plastic toilet seats due to the dense nature of the layered wooden materials. Although strong, the wooden toilet seat is also heavy, causing the slow-close design to break down over time. In 2-3 years, you will hear the slamming of a toilet seat during closing. Wooden toilet seats are sealed. They are also more likely to weather faster due to wood’s natural weakness to liquid and moisture over time. Bathrooms are a dangerous and moist place for wooden toilet seats, causing them to warp, splinter, chip, and become uncomfortable to sit on.
3 materials wooden toilet seats are made from:
  • Molded wood that is a medium density fiberboard is also called MDF. Molded wood is made from recycled wood and resin, poured into a compression mold, and then given a design. This is typically the heaviest type of seat.
  • If you want an earth-friendly material that will grow without an environmental red flag, go with a bamboo toilet seat. Bamboo fiber grows quickly and is a good replacement for using wood materials. The seats are made from a bamboo powder that is molded into a design.
  • Solid wood. Toilet seats that are made out of solid wood are created by using individual wooden board pieces and gluing them together. The toilet seat uses design to the shape of the U shape or circular shape and then given a seal to keep out moisture.
How long will wooden toilet seats last?

Depending on how you use and clean them, wooden toilet seats can be used for years. Each product will have a varying life cycle that is determined by how the user maintains and sanitizes their toilet seat.

  • Molded wood: 5 to 7 years
  • Bamboo: Several years
  • Solid wood: Several years

What can you use to clean wooden toilet seats?

SF Gate’s Home Guides says wooden toilet seats should be cleaned with antibacterial soap or dishwashing soap. Nothing more than water, and a paper towel or washcloth that’s not abrasive. You can also use hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol if that’s all you have. They warn not to use chemicals like bleach. Antibacterial wipes, powders, acetone finger polish removers, and even detergent on wood seats. This is due to their nature to wear away at organic material over time, or sometimes immediately. If you use these materials on your seat then you run the risk of causing weakness in the seat’s design, making the seat hinges wobble. Without proper care, you can also expose your skin to more bacteria, splinters, and harmful chemicals.

Wood vs. Plastic Toilet Seats

Now that you know what toilet seats are made of, its time to make a choice.  Although we just sit on them, wood and plastic toilet seats are different.  They come in a host of sizes, weights, styles, and durability.  In the following sections, Project For home breaks down what to look at when considering wood vs. plastic.

Size & Weight

Wood and plastic toilet seats are available in a wide range of sizes, pretty much all of them.  Wooden toilet seats are usually made out of harder woods.  The harder woods, like oak, weigh more than an MDF or plastic toilet seat.  Depending on the plastic toilet seat, they are at least equal or lighter than a wood seat.  If you have kids or little ones around I highly recommend selecting a slow close wooden seat or an extremely light plastic seat.  You will pay more for a slow close wooden toilet seat.  What you save in the plastic toilet seat you will lose in durability.  But the dividend paid in the safety of your family is worth it.

Bathroom Utility vs. Style

To find a clear winner here, you need to think about your lifestyle.  Do you live in a cold climate?  Wood wins out here, it tends to feel much warmer on a cold night.  If you are willing to spend a little more, a heated plastic seat will work here too.  Do you have a very modern looking bathroom?  You’re going to need more than a bare oak toilet seat.  An elongated plastic seat with its smooth edges will rock it here.


When it comes to a long-lasting toilet seat, plastic wins hands down.  Wood can’t compete with a solid plastic seat.  Wood stands a chance against a thin toilet seat that is prone to cracking.  But the corrosive environment will eventually take its toll on any wood toilet seat.

The conclusion of plastic and wooden toilet seats

If you have a plastic toilet seat with lots of scratches, cracks, or weathering, or you have a wooden one with warping or cracks in it, then you should get a new toilet seat. Protect your family and yourself from cuts, splinters, and even exposure to bacteria and hazardous cleaning chemical residue by getting a new toilet seat. Protect children, seniors, and yourself from a potentially hazardous fall from an unsteady and weak toilet seat.
Overall, plastic is better than wood because it will last longer, is easier to clean, and doesn’t have the painful “what if” of splinters! However, if you are looking for an eco-friendly bathroom, purchasing a bamboo toilet seat is your best bet. If you’re looking for a funky toilet seat that will go with your bathroom or home aesthetic, go for the resin toilet seat. Resin toilet seats are fun and can have a variety of flair that comes with them. Whatever your need, today is a good day to upgrade and try a different type of toilet seat for your family’s bathroom.
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