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How To Use a Toilet Plunger

Learn to use this common household tool properly!

When you have a plunger with the extended nozzle shape at the base of the bell, you are well prepared for clearing just about any toilet clog made up of anything softer than a rubber ducky. Learn how to prepare the toilet and plunger for use, and pick up tips and hints for quick success plunging your clogged toilet.

Plungers must form a seal, and then work water back and forth in the area around the clog until the blockage can no longer hold itself together and eventually busts apart and flows away.

To achieve this, a water and air-tight seal must be created and maintained throughout the plunging. It is more important and more effective to work a tightly sealed plunger up and down slowly and forcefully, than to try and jab or shove the clog through. You want to break the clog into smaller bits which will not cause any more trouble.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Plungers work best moving liquid, not compressing air to increase pressure above the clog. Again, your goal is to break the clog apart into smaller pieces. Add water to the toilet bowl if there is not enough standing for the plunger to work with. The water level should be as near the top of the plunger bellows as the shapes of plunger and toilet allow.

Slide the plunger into the toilet bowl at an angle to scoop water into the chamber, and then form your water-tight seal. Plunge slowly, using only as much pressure as required to work the plunger. Plunge up-and-down several times before removing the plunger carefully to avoid splashes and drips and checking for success.

Visit the section of the Unclogging Drains 101 dedicated to the equipment involved in do-it-youself drain maintenance to pick up even more hints for successfully using plungers.


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