May 2, 2023

How to Properly Use a Plunger

If you remember PBS’s superb home improvement program, “Hometime,” Miriam Johnson will be no stranger. She hosted the series over a ten year run that included an extensive renovation of her 80-year old home. 

Today, we’ve got Miriam walking you through the unpleasant but all too necessary process of unclogging a toilet with a plunger. Watch the video below. For more detailed instructions, read on after.

How to Unclog a Toilet with a Plunger

A plunger should be your go-to solution when faced with a clogged toilet. It’s the most simple means of loosening up whatever has your toilet stopped. Plunging a toilet isn’t complicated but there are a few key steps you should keep in mind.

1. Choose the right plunger for a toilet.

Black flange toilet plunger

There are three main types of plungers: the sink (or cup) plunger, the flange plunger and the accordion plunger. Of these, you want a flange plunger or an accordion plunger with a flange. 

The flange is the additional flap that sticks out from the cup of the plunger. This flange helps your plunger seal around your toilet’s drain to give you a more effective plunge. 

2. Shut off the water supply.

Until you can get your toilet flowing again, you don’t want to add more water to the bowl or risk overflowing. Find the water shut off valve on the wall behind your toilet. Tighten it clockwise to stop new water from refilling in the tank. Additionally, if you have excess water in your bowl, you may want to bail it out before you begin so that it doesn’t slosh around. Be sure to leave a few inches of water to submerge the plunger and create a vacuum. 

3. Position your plunger over the drain.

Tip your plunger to allow some water to enter the flange. Then, position the flange in the drain and seal the cup part of your plunger around the drain opening.

4. Plunge your toilet.

Using a sturdy grip, firmly press your plunger handle down and release it quickly. Make the first few strokes gentle so as to not splash water out. You may have to repeat this several times to fully loosen your clog.

5. Flush your toilet.

Once you think the clog has loosened, flush your toilet to make sure everything clears the bowl.

6. Turn the water back on.

Don’t forget to turn your water back on, otherwise your tank won’t be able to fill up for the next flush.

Prevent Toilet Clogs

To avoid the unpleasant task of having to plunge your toilet, keep these tips in mind:

Cross section of the water flow of a toilet.
  • Flush only toilet paper and waste. Don’t put anything else in your toilet, especially not wet wipes
  • Keep your toilet jets (the little holes underneath the rim) clean and clear. 
  • Consider installing a bidet to reduce the amount of toilet paper you use.
  • Have your sewer line cleaned annually to keep things moving. 

Toilet Not Flushing?

Hopefully we’ve demonstrated how to plunge a toilet and you’ve resolved your clog. Unfortunately, a plunger is a great tool but doesn’t always work. If you’ve got an extra difficult clog or a jammed sewer line, call in the pros from Applewood. We’ll make sure your toilet functions properly and that all your wastewater has a place to go. It’s easy to schedule your appointment today.

Call  303-328-3060

Schedule Now