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How to Plunger a Toilet

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An image showcasing a person wearing rubber gloves, firmly holding a red plunger with a wooden handle

So, you found yourself face to face with a clogged toilet, huh? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. But fear not, because plunging a toilet is not as daunting as it may seem.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process step by step, ensuring that you become a toilet-plunging pro in no time. From choosing the right plunger to troubleshooting common issues, we’ve got you covered.

So grab your plunger and let’s dive into the world of unclogging toilets!

Key Takeaways

  • Choose the right plunger based on the type and size of the toilet
  • Prepare the toilet by clearing the area and using towels or newspapers to catch splashes
  • Use the proper plunging technique, including positioning yourself over the bowl and creating an airtight seal with the plunger
  • Troubleshoot common issues by checking for obstructions and trying alternative methods if necessary

Choosing the Right Plunger

When choosing the right plunger, it’s important to consider the type and size of the toilet. Different toilets require different plungers for effective unclogging.

For standard toilets, a cup plunger with a flat bottom is the best option. This type of plunger creates a tight seal around the drain, allowing for efficient plunging.

If you have a toilet with an elongated or curved bowl, a flange plunger is recommended. This plunger has an additional piece that extends from the cup, fitting perfectly in these types of toilets.

To ensure the longevity of your plunger, it’s crucial to practice proper maintenance. After each use, clean the plunger thoroughly and allow it to air dry before storing it in a clean and dry area. Proper plunger storage prevents the growth of bacteria and prolongs the lifespan of your plunger.

Preparing the Toilet for Plunging

Before starting, make sure you’ve prepared the area around the toilet. Proper toilet maintenance and regular unclogging of drains are essential to keep your bathroom functioning smoothly. To prepare the toilet for plunging, follow these steps:

  1. Clear the area: Remove any objects or rugs near the toilet to prevent them from getting wet or dirty during the unclogging process.

  2. Protect the floor: Place towels or old newspapers around the base of the toilet to catch any water that may splash out during plunging.

  3. Gather your tools: Get a plunger specifically designed for toilets. Ensure it has a flange or an extension to effectively create a seal around the drain.

  4. Check the water level: If the water in the toilet bowl is too high, use a cup or bucket to remove some water until it reaches a manageable level.

  5. Take a deep breath: Remember, unclogging a toilet is a common issue that can be resolved with a bit of patience and the right technique.

Proper Plunging Technique

To effectively unclog the drain, you should position yourself directly over the bowl and firmly push down on the handle of the plunger. This technique creates a strong suction that will dislodge any blockages in the pipe.

Here are some key tips for proper plunging technique:

  • Make sure the plunger’s rubber cup completely covers the drain hole to create an airtight seal.
  • Use quick, forceful plunges rather than slow, gentle ones to generate enough pressure.
  • Keep a consistent rhythm of pushing and pulling to create a strong suction effect.

Maintaining your toilet plunger is essential for its effectiveness. After each use, rinse the plunger with hot water to remove any residue. It’s also a good idea to periodically sanitize it by soaking it in a mixture of water and bleach.

If plunging doesn’t work, there are alternative methods for unclogging toilets, such as using a plumbing snake or a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

If you’re experiencing recurring clogs, it may be helpful to check for any foreign objects that could be obstructing the drain. Sometimes the culprit can be something as simple as a small toy or a wad of toilet paper that got flushed down accidentally. To identify and remove these objects, start by using a flashlight to peek into the drain and see if anything is visible. If you spot any foreign objects, you can try using a pair of gloves and a tool like a bent wire hanger to carefully extract them.

By addressing these obstructions, you can prevent future clogs and ensure smooth toilet operation.

Now, let’s move on to preventive measures to avoid clogged toilets.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Clogged Toilets

When maintaining your toilet, it’s important to be mindful of what you flush down the drain to prevent clogs. Here are some preventive measures to avoid clogged toilets:

  • Avoid flushing non-flushable items: Only flush toilet paper and human waste down the toilet. Items like paper towels, wipes, and feminine hygiene products can cause serious clogs.

  • Watch your water usage: Excessive toilet paper or large amounts of waste can overload the toilet’s drainage system. Be conscious of how much you flush at once.

  • Regularly clean your toilet: Build-up of mineral deposits and debris can lead to clogs. Regularly clean your toilet bowl and tank to prevent blockages.


In conclusion, plunging a toilet may seem like a simple task, but it requires the right tools and technique. By choosing the right plunger and preparing the toilet properly, you can effectively resolve clogs and prevent further issues.

Remember to use a firm, rhythmic motion when plunging and troubleshoot any persistent problems. Just like a skilled conductor directing an orchestra, you can master the art of plunging and keep your toilet flowing smoothly.