Tips on How to Use a Plunger Correctly
Is there anything more convenient about your home than your plumbing? It’s almost magical how water appears straight to your hands out your sink, toilet, bath, coming from who-knows-where, while just as easily vanishing your waste down your drains! But convenience doesn’t come without its persisting problems, and one all-too-common and all-too-real is the dreaded drain clog.
Calling your local plumbing professional for every common clog you face – and you’re bound to face plenty – will pile up and certainly weigh heavily on your wallet. Fortunately, your common clog is usually fixable on your own if you’ve got both the right plunger and plunging technique.
How To Use A Plunger?
No matter the kind of plunger you’re using, you’re trying to create a perfect seal around your problematic drain so that no air escapes, making your plunger more effective in removing the clog.
But some plungers are made for different kinds of clogging, ranging from your toilet, sink, and tub.
Choosing The Right Plunger
Consider how different your drains are throughout your home, including your toilet, sink, and shower drains. How can you face all the different kinds of clogging coming your way? Well, there’s plenty of versatility when it comes to your plunging options for fending off different types of clogging. The most common plungers available are the standard, flange, accordion, and beehive plungers.
The most universally known household plunger is the standard rubber cup, best used for flat-surfaced drains such as those found in your sink or bathtub.
Since it is the most commonly owned plunger, it isn’t surprising that people try to use it just as much for their toilet clogs, but it isn’t quite built for it. The simple, rubber bell of the standard plunger isn’t narrow enough to create a perfect seal around the likes of toilet drains.
Most effective for the inevitable toilet clog are the flange, accordion, and beehive plungers, designed with a narrower rubber cupping than the standard bell plungers, better allowing for an air-tight seal.
Flange plungers have a narrower rubber cupping beneath the standard bell shape, which is inserted into the toilet drain, allowing for the suction needed to clear toilet clogs.
Bonus Tip: A flange plunger can be doubled as a standard plunger by folding the flange inward, thus recreating the bell shape of a sink plunger.
Accordion plungers similarly have a narrow flange cupping, but are made of hard plastic and contribute much more suction force with their accordion-shaped body. Bear in mind, its plastic body may make it more difficult for an air-tight seal in contrast to a rubber plunger.
Beehive plungers are quite similar in function to the flange plunger but are more of a rounded cylinder, wide in the middle, representing a beehive-like shape. These are very good for accommodating different toilet shapes and depths.
How To Use A Plunger To Unclog A Toilet
When plunging a toilet:
- If you think you’ve got a clog, DO NOT continue to flush it. Let it sit for 10 minutes to slowly drain back down.
- Close the water supply hose on the wall behind your toilet by turning the valve clockwise, preventing water overflow.
- Make sure the bowl is about halfway full; this aids with suction while plunging (add or remove water as needed).
How To Use A Plunger To Unclog Your Tub, Sink, and Shower
Whether you’re tackling a clog in your tub, sink, or shower, here are simple ways to ensure there’s less air leakage as you’re plunging:
- Sealing your overflow drain in your sink with a wet towel
- Plugging nearby drains
- Coating the rim of your plunger with some petroleum jelly to tighten your seal
When plunging, submerge the rubber bell entirely in standing water and create a perfect seal over your drain (if there’s too much, making it difficult and messy to plunge, remove some of the water). Push down gently on your plunger to push out the trapped air remaining. Then, plunge with quick thrusts, directing the pressure down into your drain for about 20 seconds. This should be enough to clear a typical clog.
Maintaining and Cleaning Plunger
In order to sanitize your plunger, you’ll need some rubber gloves and liquid chlorine bleach. Remove any nearby towels, mats, or anything you don’t want to be bleached in the process.
- Pour three caps worth of bleach into your toilet bowl.
- Insert your plunger into the toilet bowl and swirl it around in the water for a couple of minutes.
- Flush the toilet and rinse the plunger in the fresh toilet water.
- Finally, place it in your bathtub and let it dry. Now you’ve got a clean plunger!
The safest practice for preventing and eliminating germs is to repeat this process after every time you use your plunger.
What If A Plunger Doesn’t Work?
You may find yourself with a drain line clog too severe for your typical household plungers, requiring professional help and specialized equipment.
We at Deer Valley Plumbing offer emergency services and same-day scheduling so that we can clear those clogs once and for all. We offer drain-clearing methods such as hydro jetting, which ensures you a powerful, long-lasting solution for handling any drain clogging you might be facing. Call us at 602-832-8418 and schedule your next service with us today!