What Are Toilet Seats Made Of?

Is your bathroom toilet seat uncomfortable, splintering, broke, or out of date? Today's toilet seats manufacturing produces popular plastics (thermoset and polypropylene) and quality wooden materials. These components will keep bathroom visitors content for years to come.

What people fail to notice is the fact that the material matters. It is important because it has a lot to do with how well it will perform based on your current use. In line with this, many people complain that theirs break immediately, and this has a lot to do with the material. Find out which type of material suits your bathroom seat needs the best.

Plastic Toilet Seats

They 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.

They remain 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 pressure put on it and the methods you choose to clean it.

Another thing to note about these is that, more times than not, they do not come with the toilet. For some people, they consider this a bad thing, but in reality, this is actually a good thing.

The reason behind this is that you get to find a personalized choice for you. In this way, you can find what you feel is the most comfortable and compatible shape for your needs.

3 Materials Plastic Toilet Seats Are Made Out Of:

  • Thermoset plastic is a resin powder and a hardener and is compressed in a mold. Thermoset gets stronger as it gets heated, but can't be reheated after creation. Thermoset plastic seats remain unscratchable and easy to clean. Types: Duraplast compression molded.
  • Thermoplastic  is created from resin that is injected into a mold. These thermoplastic seats continue to be known as unbreakable but are not unscratchable. Types: ABS plastic injection molded, PP or polypropylene plastic injection molded.
  • Resin and a mold are typically made to be see-through or with some design, coloring, or objects set inside of it. This allows for an almost unlimited amount of color combinations.

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. 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 harsh 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.

How to Remove Stains from a Plastic Toilet Seat

Everyone is too familiar with those annoying stains on your toilet seat that you just cannot seem to get rid off. You might have used strong chemicals, but nothing really worked. It all lies in the combination of your technique and tools.

Here are some tips on how to remove stains from a plastic-made toilet seat:

  • Take a cleaner that has germ-cleaning properties and directly spray that on the stains. The germ-killing content can help breakdown the proteins in the stain. Let it sit for five to 10 minutes, then just wipe it away with a damp rag.
  • You can also make a 2:10 mixture of baking soda and warm water. Make sure that the consistency is like paste. Apply the solution on the stain and let it sit for 15 to minutes, and then just wipe it away.

Depending on the solution you choose to use, as far as keeping the integrity of your toilet seat, you can always opt to use a scratch-free sponge. At the same time, you can use it in circular motions and ensure that it is periodically wet.

Lastly, make sure that you always rinse the toilet and dry it. If you fail to do so, the cleaning residue will be the one that will leave a stain.

Wooden Toilet Seats

A toilet wooden seat looks aesthetically pleasing. Typically they're heavier than their plastic counterparts due to layered woods dense nature.  Although strong, the wooden ones are also heavy, causing the slow-close design to break down over time. In 2-3 years, you will hear the slamming of a toilet set during closing. They're also more likely to weather faster due to wood's natural weakness to liquid and moisture over time. Bathrooms can be 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 made from solid wood, created by using individual wooden board pieces and gluing them together.

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 restroom.

  • 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 chemicals 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.

How to Clean Wooden Toilet Seats

You might be discouraged in getting a wooden one just because you might think that the upkeep is not that rigorous. You really do not have to worry because an advantages of having a wooden toilet seat is that the material has certain properties that can breakdown the proteins in the stain. In fact, some wood species also emit antibacterial properties.

Of course, that does not mean you should not clean it. Follow these tips and tricks on how to go about it:

  • Always check the nuts, bolts, and hinges. Make sure that they're working properly. You can simply use a wrench to tighten it, or if needed, you have to replace those.
  • You should also check the bumpers. If they tend to slip off, this can be dangerous as you might slide when you sit.
  • You can use a mix of gentle dish washing liquid and water to wipe the seat. Make sure that you use a cloth that will not scratch the surface. You can also use a sponge.
  • In order to kill the germs, you can use hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, or antibacterial soap. Make sure that you're not over saturating as this might result in swelling.
  • You should then rinse it thoroughly and make sure that there is no residue left. After that, you can pat it dry and lift it so that the hinges will also get a chance to dry.

Which is better plastic or wood toilet seat?

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 ones have differences. They come in a host of sizes, weights, styles, and durability. In the following sections, Project For home breaks down the details to look at when considering wood vs. plastic.

Size & Weight

Wood and plastic toilet seats are available in a wide range of sizes. Wooden ones are usually made out of harder woods. The harder woods, like oak, weigh more than an MDF or plastic. Depending on the plastic, they're 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. Money you save in the plastic toilet seat you paid, will result in a loss of durability. But the dividend you provide to your family in the form of safety 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're 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, plastic wins hands down. Wood can't compete with a solid plastic seat. Wood stands a chance against a thin plastic piece that is prone to cracking. But the corrosive environment will eventually take its toll on any wood material.

That being said, let's to talk about the durability in a sense where we will test out its eventual breakdown, the wooden one will be the winner. This is the case because you really cannot see the breakdown in plastic.

One day, you will just sit on it, and it will break apart. As for the wood it will slowly break down over time.

Meaning, if there is something wrong, the seat will not just feel and look right. Therefore, it will be easier to remedy the situation. As for the plastic, its breaking will ultimately surprise you.


Both can be a pain in the butt in regards to cleaning and making sure that everything is working properly. The fact remains that at least once a month, you should deep clean your toilet. But there is one toilet seat material that can handle build up more efficiently, and that is the wooden toilet seat.

You might see that there are stains and other things, but you really do not have to worry about bacteria or mold buildup. Just like discussed, the material itself has "self-cleaning and self-healing properties."

Thus, even if you can see a stain, you're assured that you will not contract any harmful substances from it. This is great, especially if you have kids or babies around who tend to play with toilets that are not exactly clean.

in regards to plastic, you really do not have a choice but to clean it. In the event that you leave the stains, they will eventually become permanent. Much worse, it can be a haven for mold to grow.

On the good side, a plastic one can be easy to clean as you can use most cleaning agents on it, as compared to a wooden toilet seat where you need to use gentle cleaning supplies that can be a bit difficult to find.


You and your family are going to be the ones who will sit on the toilet seat, so a priority should also be how comfortable you feel when you use it. This is especially important if you are someone who spends a long time on the toilet bowl. Surely, you do not want any cramps, right?

For the plastic toilet seat, you have lots of shapes to choose from, including elongated and round toilet seats. Some can also run a bit on the narrow side. You pretty much just have to get a shape that you think will make for a comfortable sitting position.

As for the wooden one, you can also choose a certain shape, but keep in mind it will eventually lose form. Think of this toilet seat as your favorite pair of jeans and how they fit you nicely. Through continued use, it will eventually adjust to the contours of your body.

That shift in shape is not really dramatic in such a way that you end up with a curved seat. Nevertheless, you can see a drastic difference when you compare it to when you first bought it and after using it for a month. Definitely, this makes for a more comfortable sitting experience.

Toilet Seat Material Conclusion

List of Toilet Seats by Material:

  • Plastic

  • Resin

  • Thermoset

  • Thermoplastic

  • Medium Density Fiber

  • Bamboo

  • Solid Wood

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 one. Protect your family and yourself from cuts, splinters, and even exposure to bacteria and hazardous cleaning chemical residue by getting a new one. 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're looking for an eco-friendly bathroom, purchasing one made from bamboo is your best bet. If you're looking for something funky that will go with your bathroom or home aesthetic, go for one made of Resin. The Resin variety are fun and can have a variety of flair that comes with them. Today is a good day to upgrade and try a different type of toilet seat for your family's bathroom.

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