How to repair a broken off toilet handle with a zip tie and key ring

This can be a temporary or permanent fix.

After 16 years, the cheap, plastic chrome handle on this Gerber toilet we have finally snapped off.

My guess is since we replaced the flapper valve and stuck the chain on, giving it too much slack, using it like that likely contributed to the handle’s increased wear and tear and inevitable breaking.

Toilet handles and the accompanying rod it comes with are cheap, I eventually got one from Walmart for $4.10.

However, I couldn’t make it to Wal-Mart just yet and needed a temporary fix ASAP.

Thankfully, I came across a post from Apartment Therapy (linked below) that explained how they used a zip tie and key ring to repair their broken toilet handle permanently.

They, however, did not provide photos.

That being said, photos weren’t really necessary as what makes a toilet work is fairly simple, and it was easy to assume what they did.

I zip-tied on a key ring to a zip tie and punched a hole into said cable tie with an eyeglass screwdriver I had lying around.

This is what I ended up with.

I’ve since repaired my toilet with said Walmart handle and don’t want to put this temporary one back on but, all you do is remove what remains of your broken toilet bowl handle.

If the plastic frame holding your handle in is still intact, you can leave that part in as long as there’s a hole that goes through to inside the bowl


you can take the part out entirely. It’s reversed threaded on so, using a set of pliers or just your hands, unscrew that plastic part holding the handle frame in.

If you want, before you punch a hole in your zip tie, you can hold the end of the chain to where you’d normally attach your permanent toilet handle rod to and mark with a pen (I bent my zip tie) to where you’d like the hole to be so there’s no slack.

I made a hole at the end before I took it out and punched another hole closer to halfway so there’s no slack.

After you’ve made a hole in your zip tie, thread in your zip tie in the direction of the arrow, as illustrated below.

Then, attach the chain to the hole in your zip tie (highlighted in a red square,) and you’re done!

Try pulling on your key ring/zip tie gently to engage the flapper as, without the handle, you can pull too strong, potentially breaking your flapper chain off.

If you don’t want to repair your toilet handle properly or money is tight atm, this can technically work for as long as you like.


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