We have two Toto Drake toilets, which for the most part, I absolutely love. However, at some point after we'd had them for awhile, a strange smell started coming from one of them. It was the oddest thing - it was a distinct urine odor which would actually grow stronger just after the toilet had been cleaned. I finally followed my nose (yuck) and figured out that it was coming from the hinge area. So I removed the toilet seat and hinge covers. It turned out that these clear plastic (rubbery?) pieces in the mounting software seemed to have become soaked in urine (yep, we've a young boy w/ bad aim in the house). They were definitely yellow in color, not clear as when new, and smelled horrific. I tried various things to clean them, even soaking in bleach, but the smell never really went away. I thought that these parts were a key component of the softclose seats and expected the softclose feature to stop working, but that didn't happen, so I just left them out. Eventually the same thing happened with our other Toto. Finally tonight I've remembered to go online to order replacement [thingys] and am surprised and a little bummed to discover (1) nothing online about this problem, which I'd assumed would be commonplace if we'd had it on 2 out of 2 seats; and (2) no available part listing for ONLY the little part I want to replace. The Toto website parts store shows these as one part of something sold as a "MOUNTING HARDWARE SET" (for example, the one for the "COTTON For SOFTCLOSE TOILET SEAT" is part # THU518#01--in the photo, it's the item in the lower right corner; the mounting hardware set for a regular Toto seat looks like it has a similar part - at the bottom of the photo of part #THU 689, or "Mounting Hardware for Toilet Seat."

The softclose set is $7 plus $10 shipping, which seems like a crazy amount of money to pay for these two little plastic or rubber thingys. ("So why replace them at all?" you might ask. Well, one of our two softclose seat lids recently lost its softclosingness & now bangs shut like pretty much any other toilet seat....no idea whether the missing parts could be a factor in that problem, but the banging has reminded me that I'd been meaning to address it. And, either way, I've noticed that the area at the back of the seat on each of the toilets now seems to be eternally yucky, staying clean for increasingly short periods of time--which leads me to wonder whether these parts are actually SUPPOSED to help soak up stray pee, in which case one would expect to be able to order them by the case, not as parts of some larger set.)

So 2 questions: 1) Any suggestions for a way I might get ahold of these parts more cheaply? and 2) Does anyone know why my household might be having this problem (going two for two) when I can't find evidence online of anyone else having it? (Except possibly the originator of this post, though it sounds as though their problem is likely something completely different.) BTW, I do *not* have a particularly keen sense of smell - if anything, the opposite, actually! Help???