Plunger Tips to Unclog a Toilet, Sink or Tub

There’s plenty of clogs you can encounter in your home. Whether this be in your toilet, sink or tub, a clog can cause a lot of frustration, in addition to a mess!

When you encounter a problem like this, your first thought may be to call a plumber immediately, but if you have a plunger handy, you may be able to do the job on your own. Before you battle it out with a clog, here are some helpful plunger tips:

Basic Plunger Tips:

Use the right plunger for the job. Not all plungers are created equal. There are two kinds of plungers– the cup plunger and the flange plunger. The cup plunger is the classic style that you are probably the most familiar with. These are ideal for sinks, bathtubs and showers. The flange plunger has an extended rubber lip, which provides a better seal for toilets.

Keep your plunger in good shape. This may seem obvious, but any sort of tears in the cup or bell of the plunger lessens the seal, as well as weakens the pressure. Always keep your plungers clean and dry when you’re not using them, as this will prevent cracking or ripping.

Never use drain cleaning chemicals when using a plunger. Doing so may spatter harmful chemicals onto your clothing or skin. Use chemicals only if a plunger fails to complete a job for you.

The tighter the seal, the better! You can easily tighten the seal around your plunger by adding some petroleum jelly to the rim or lip of the plunger. This will increase the plunger’s suction, in addition to preventing any drying or cracking of the plunger.

Plunge vertically, in a straight up-and-down action. By keeping a plunger handle straight and perpendicular allows for a strong and efficient seal. Tilting the plunger at an angle will not provide you with the proper force or seal.

Tips for Plunging a Clogged Tub, Shower or Sink

  • Always use the classic cup plunger for the job
  • Cover the overflow drain with a wet rag or cloth to strengthen the suction
  • Completely cover the drain opening with the plunger
  • Plunge with quick and forceful thrusts. Doing so will direct the pressure down the drain, toward the obstruction. Repeat for 15-20 seconds

Tips for Plunging a Clogged Toilet

  • Use a flange plunger when plunging toilets
  • If the bowl is empty, be sure to add some water so that the bowl is half-full. Conversely, if the bowl is full, remove water until bowl is half full
  • Place a towel around the base of the toilet to soak up any back-splash
  • Plunge with quick and forceful thrusts. Doing so will direct the pressure down the drain toward the obstruction. Repeat for 15-20 seconds

Evaluating the drain

After plunging the drain, evaluate the drain to see if the water is moving. If the water is moving, you have successfully unclogged the drain. If the water has still not gone down the drain, repeat plunging. Things like paper, food or hair may require several attempts.

What if plunging doesn’t work? 

If you still have water not moving, there are options like chemicals or using a snake device. While both of these techniques can work, chemicals can damage skin, clothing and pipes and snake devices run the risk of compressing a clog.

Your surest way of battling a nasty clog is to enlist the help of a professional. The professionals at Tom Drexler Plumbing, Air and Electric can quickly help you out and get your drains flowing again!


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