How to Use a Plunger the Right Way

Have you ever experienced the frustration of a clogged sink, shower, or toilet? It’s a common household problem that can be quite bothersome. Thankfully, there’s a simple and effective tool that can come to your rescue the plunger. Not all plungers are created equal, and using them properly is crucial for achieving successful results. 

To keep reading this article, we will explore the different types of plungers, step-by-step instructions on how to use a plunger correctly for various scenarios, and what to do when a plunger doesn’t quite do the trick.

Types of Plungers

Types of Plungers

Before delving into the plunging techniques, it’s essential to understand the different types of plungers available and their specific uses. There are two main types of plungers: cup plungers and flange plungers. Each one has a different design and purpose.

  • Cup plunger: This is the most common type of plunger, and it has a simple wooden handle attached to a rubber cup. It is best suited for flat-surface drains, such as those in sinks and bathtubs. It works by creating a vacuum over the drain and pushing the water and air back and forth to dislodge the clog.
  • Flange plunger: This is a special type of plunger that has an extra ring of rubber around the cup, called a flange. It is designed for toilets, as it can fit into the curved drain and create a better seal. It works by forcing water and air into the trap and pushing the clog out.

It is a good idea to have both types of plungers in your home, as they can handle different kinds of clogs. You can also use a flange plunger for sinks and showers by folding the rubber ring back into the cup, but a cup plunger will be more effective.

how to use a plunger for Sink, Shower, or Tub

how to use a plunger for Sink

If you have a clogged sink, shower, or tub drain, you will need a cup plunger to clear it. Plunging a sink, shower, or tub is a straightforward process that can effectively remove most blockages. Follow these steps for optimal results:

Step 1: Prepare the Area: Before starting, put on a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands from any potential mess. Clear the area around the drain, removing any debris or obstacles that might interfere with the plunging process.

Step 2: Choose the Right Plunger: Select the appropriate plunger based on the type of drain you are unclogging. Use a sink plunger for sinks and an accordion or taze plunger for shower and tub drains.

Step 3: Add Water to the Basin: For sinks and tubs, fill the basin with enough water to cover the rubber cup of the plunger. This water will help create a better seal and improve the plunging efficiency.

Step 4: Position the Plunger: Place the plunger over the drain, ensuring that the rubber cup fully covers the opening. Make sure there is no air trapped beneath the plunger to create a tight seal.

Step 5: Plunge with Precision: Push the plunger down firmly and steadily, then pull it up quickly to create suction. Repeat this motion several times, maintaining a consistent rhythm. The suction and pressure created by the plunging action should dislodge the blockage, allowing it to move down the drain.

RELATED ARTICLE: Why Does Your Toilet Keeps Clogging? and How to Fix It

Step 6: Test the Drain: After plunging for a minute or two, remove the plunger and test the drain by running water. If the water flows freely, the clog has likely been cleared. If not, you may need to repeat the plunging process a few more times.

how to use a plunger For Toilet

how to use a plunger For Toilet

A clogged toilet can be a more challenging issue to deal with, but with the right technique, you can avoid potential disasters. Here’s how to use a plunger a toilet correctly:

Step 1: Stop the Overflowing: If you notice the toilet bowl is close to overflowing, avoid flushing it again, as this could worsen the situation. Remove the tank lid and push down on the flapper valve to stop more water from entering the bowl.

Step 2: Create a Good Seal: Insert the toilet plunger into the bowl, ensuring that the flange is fully inside the drain opening, creating a tight seal. The plunger should be partially submerged in water for better suction.

Step 3: Plunge with Care: With a firm grip on the plunger handle, push down and then pull up in a gentle but forceful manner. The goal is to create suction to dislodge the blockage, rather than pushing it further into the pipes.

Step 4: Repeat as Needed: Continue plunging until you feel the water level in the toilet bowl start to recede. Be patient, as it may take a few attempts to clear a stubborn clog.

Step 5: Test the Flush: Once the clog has been dislodged, remove the plunger and test the flush by allowing the water to drain completely. If the water goes down smoothly, congratulations – you have successfully unclogged the toilet!

What to do When a Plunger Doesn’t Work

Sometimes, a plunger may not be enough to clear a stubborn clog in your drain or toilet. In that case, you may need to try some other methods before calling a plumber.

1. Dish soap and hot water

This is an easy and cheap way to try to dissolve some types of clogs, especially those caused by grease or oil. Simply squirt some dish soap into your drain or toilet bowl and pour some boiling water on top of it.

Let it sit for a few minutes and then try to flush or drain it. Repeat as needed.

2. Baking soda and vinegar

This is another natural and inexpensive way to try to break up some types of clogs, especially those caused by hair or organic matter. Simply pour half a cup of baking soda into your drain or toilet bowl and follow it with half a cup of vinegar.

The mixture will fizz and bubble, which may help loosen the clog. Let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes and then flush or drain it. Repeat as needed.

3. Drain snake

his is a tool that you can buy or rent from a hardware store, and it consists of a long flexible wire with a hook or coil at the end. It is used to manually reach into the drain or toilet and pull out the clog.

ALSO READ: What Are Some Common Plumbing Issues?

To use it, insert the end of the snake into the drain or toilet until you feel some resistance. Then, twist and push the snake until you hook the clog and pull it out. Be careful not to damage your pipes or scratch your porcelain with the snake.


  • How do I clean my plunger after using it?

    You should rinse your plunger with hot water and disinfect it with bleach or rubbing alcohol after each use. You can also spray it with some vinegar or lemon juice to remove any odors. Store your plunger in a dry place away from direct sunlight.

  • Can I use the same plunger for both sinks and toilets?

    While it is technically possible to use the same plunger for both, it’s best to have separate plungers for sinks and toilets due to hygiene reasons. Toilet plungers, in particular, come into contact with potentially harmful bacteria and should be kept separate.

  • How can I prevent clogs in the future?

    Regular maintenance can help prevent clogs. Avoid flushing anything other than toilet paper and waste down the toilet, and use drain guards in sinks and showers to catch hair and debris. Additionally, perform routine cleaning with natural drain cleaners to keep pipes clear.

  • Are chemical drain cleaners safe for the environment?

    Chemical drain cleaners can be harmful to the environment, especially if used excessively. Consider using natural drain cleaners or seek professional assistance to avoid environmental damage.

  • When should I call a professional plumber?

    If you’ve tried plunging and other DIY methods without success, or if you suspect a more serious plumbing issue, it’s time to

Final Word

A plunger is a handy tool that can help you clear most clogs in your drains or toilets. However, you need to know how to use a plunger properly and choose the right type for the job. A cup plunger is best for flat-surface drains, while a flange plunger is best for toilets.

You also need to create a good seal, use enough water, and apply even force and speed when plunging. If a plunger doesn’t work, you can try some other methods, such as dish soap and hot water, baking soda and vinegar, or a drain snake. If all else fails, you may need to call a professional plumber.

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