You want to talk embarrassing? I’m on the first over-his-place date with a guy I’m really liking. After the initial “Hello. You look great. Nice place,” I excuse myself to the bathroom. You know you can tell a lot about someone by their bathroom. Is it fresh and clean? What’s the medicine cabinet stocked with? Beware of too many “anti” products – antifungal creams, anti-itch powders, antidepressants, antibiotics. If there are over ten, run!

So I do my bit of casual snooping. He’s tidy, nice fixtures, plush towels, moderate amount of men’s hair and skin products (never date a guy that has more hair and skin products than you do) and only 2 “antis” – antiperspirant and antihistamines. Cool.

“I’m no Superman, but I managed to crack the plastic flush handle right off the toilet!”

I check my hair, refresh the lipstick, use the potty, flush the toilet, and what happens – the handle breaks off. Just cracks right off. So I’m standing there, in his bathroom, with the toilet handle in my hand. Now obviously, I have a decision to make. Do I, (a) leave it on the floor and pretend nothing happened, (b) try to stick it back on with some extra firm hair gel, or (c) climb out the window and change my number?

After careful consideration I chose none of the above. Instead, I confidently march out of the bathroom and say, “Nice bathroom, John, but you should have splurged on a more expensive toilet handle,” and held it up. He laughed hysterically. I discovered he had an excellent sense of humor and what I thought would be a night of embarrassment turned into one a wonderful over-his-place first date.

That date, of course led to another one – a trip to the hardware store and my replacing his plastic toilet handle… with a metal one.

The Toilet Handle Fix… How To Replace or Tighten

You’ll need an adjustable wrench or tongue & groove pliers.

toliet handle fixIf your toilet handle is loose, or if you want to replace it for aesthetic reasons, or if it clear breaks off, here’s what you do:

First you must know this – the nut on the inside of the tank connecting to the handle is threaded in the opposite direction than other nuts. This means, to tighten the nut, you must screw counterclockwise, and to loosen, clockwise.

To remove the old handle, shut off the water to toilet and flush twice. Disconnect the wire or chain from the lift arm (image a).

With wrench or pliers, unscrew the handle nut (turning clockwise) and pull out the handle and lift arm (image b). Note: Bring this to your plumbing or hardware store because handles come in different lengths and shapes so you’ll need to replace it with the same type.

Insert new lift arm through the hole (image 1), then screw in the nut, counterclockwise, onto the handle. Reattach wire or chain to the lift arm. Flush and adjust the wire or chain if necessary.

And voila… you are, once again, free to flush with ease… and confidence!

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Got A DIY Question? Ask-The-Expert!

If you have a DIY home repair, maintenance or improvement question for Norma, now is your chance to ask-the-expert and have her answer. Your burning question may just be the “star” of an upcoming Fix-It Friday column.

Add your question to the comments section below or email it to Women You Should Know.

Fix-It Friday is an exclusive Women You Should Know® editorial series authored by seasoned veteran of home improvement, Norma Vally, the former host of Discovery Home Channel’s series “Toolbelt Diva” and a show on Sirius Satellite Radio by the same name. The weekly column is designed to inspire women – weekend warriors, aspiring handywomen, and even seasoned DIYers – to take on home repairs and maintenance projects with confidence and gusto.