How do you work a toilet plunger?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

Working a toilet plunger is a straightforward process that requires a bit of force and technique. Here is a detailed step-by-step guide on how to effectively use a plunger to unclog a toilet:

1. Prepare the area: Before you begin, make sure to protect the surrounding area from any potential splashes or mess. Lay down old towels or newspapers around the base of the toilet to catch any water that may spill out during the plunging process.

2. Choose the right plunger: There are two common types of plungers: a cup plunger and a flange plunger. For most toilet clogs, a cup plunger is the best option. It has a flat, suction cup-like end that fits over the drain hole in the toilet bowl. Ensure that your plunger has a good seal to create the necessary suction.

3. Position the plunger: Hold the plunger by its handle firmly with both hands. Place the plunger’s cup over the hole at the bottom of the toilet bowl, ensuring that it covers the entire opening. The plunger should be submerged in water, but if the water level is low, add some water to the bowl to create a better seal.

4. Apply downward pressure: Push down on the plunger handle forcefully, using your body weight to provide extra pressure. The aim is to create a strong suction effect. Push the plunger down until the cup is fully compressed, but avoid breaking the seal between the cup and the drain hole.

5. Pull back up: After pushing down, pull the plunger back up quickly while maintaining the seal around the hole. This pulling action helps to dislodge the clog and allows water to flow through the drain. Repeat the push and pull motion without lifting the plunger off the hole five or six times.

6. Remove the plunger: After the last thrust, carefully lift the plunger off the hole while keeping an eye out for any debris that may have come loose. If the water level in the toilet bowl starts to drain or flushes properly, you’ve likely cleared the clog successfully.

7. Test the toilet: Flush the toilet to ensure that the water flows smoothly and the clog is completely cleared. If the water drains slowly or the clog persists, you may need to repeat the plunging process or consider using other methods like a toilet auger or seeking professional help.

Remember, plunging may not always solve the problem, especially if the clog is caused by an object lodged in the toilet or a more severe blockage further down the drainpipe. In such cases, it’s best to reach out to a plumber for assistance.

Personal experience: I vividly remember the first time I had to use a plunger to unclog a toilet. It was during a family gathering at my grandmother’s house, and the toilet in the guest bathroom became completely blocked. Being the handy person in the family, I took on the task of fixing the issue.

I grabbed the cup plunger from under the sink, ensuring it had a good seal and fit over the drain hole. With a bit of hesitation and a deep breath, I plunged the toilet for the first time. I applied downward pressure, pushing with all my strength, and then pulled back up forcefully. To my surprise, the water in the toilet bowl started to swirl, and the clog was gradually clearing.

After a few more plunging attempts, the water finally drained properly, and the clog was completely resolved. It was a satisfying feeling to have fixed the problem myself, and my family was impressed with my plunging skills! Since then, I’ve become the go-to person for any toilet-related issues in our family gatherings.

Working a toilet plunger involves gripping the handle firmly, pushing down forcefully on the cup, and pulling back up without breaking the seal. Repeat this push-pull motion several times, and then remove the plunger to check if the clog is cleared. Remember to test the toilet by flushing to ensure proper drainage.