Facing a stubbornly clogged toilet and not sure where to start? No worries! I’ve got a simple, step-by-step guide that’ll turn you into a toilet bowl-plunging pro in no time. Let’s dive in (figuratively, of course).
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A simple plunger will make you the family hero! Learn how to plunge a toilet:
Step 1: Choose the Right Plunger
First off, grab the right tool for the job. What you need is a flange plunger, not the flat kind you use on sinks. The flange plunger has an extended lip, which is perfect for sealing around the toilet’s curved bottom drain hole.
Step 2: Prep the Area
Before you start, make sure there’s enough water in the toilet bowl to cover the plunger – but not so much that it’s likely to spill over. If the water level is low, add some from a bucket. Also, lay down some old towels or newspapers around the toilet to catch any splashes.
Step 3: Get a Good Seal
Insert the plunger into the clogged toilet bowl and press down gently. You want to expel the air from inside the plunger to get a good vacuum seal. This seal is what makes the plunging action effective.
Step 4: Plunge Away
With a firm grip on the handle, push down and pull up vigorously without breaking the seal. This action creates a force in both directions that often dislodges the clog. Remember, it’s not just about the downward push; the pullback is equally important.
Step 5: Patience and Persistence
Be prepared to spend a few minutes on this. It might take several plunges to clear the clog. The key is to maintain that steady, forceful motion.
Step 6: The Moment of Truth
After several plunges of hot water in, lift the plunger to break the seal. The water should rush down the drain. If it doesn’t, it’s time for another round of plunging.
Step 7: Test and Clean
Once the water drains, give your toilet a test flush to make sure everything’s flowing smoothly. It’s also a good idea to clean your plunger and the surrounding area with a disinfectant to maintain hygiene.
Don’t Force It:
It’s crucial to know when to stop and seek professional help. If your plunger isn’t making any progress after several attempts, persisting can do more harm than good. You might be dealing with a deep, solid blockage that’s beyond the reach of a standard plunger. This is where tools like a plumber’s snake, also known as a drain auger, come into play, designed to reach deeper into the pipes and break up clogged drains or retrieve tougher clogs. Sometimes, the issue might be even more complex, requiring the expertise of a professional plumber. Trying too hard can also damage your toilet’s plumbing, leading to costly repairs, so if in doubt, it’s always wise to call in the pros.
Be cautious if you’ve poured chemical drain cleaners into your toilet. These chemicals are designed to break down clogs, but they can be hazardous. When you plunge after using them, there’s a risk of causing the chemicals to splash onto your skin or into your eyes, which can be dangerous. These substances can also be harmful to your pipes, especially with frequent use. If you must use them, always follow the safety instructions, wear protective gear, and try to avoid plunging afterward. If the chemicals don’t do the trick, it’s a safer choice to consult a professional who can handle the situation with the right tools and safety measures.
Regular Flushing Habits:
The best way to avoid clogs is to be mindful of what goes down your toilet. Stick to human waste and toilet paper, which are designed to break down and flow easily through your plumbing. Avoid flushing items like wipes (even those labeled as “flushable”), feminine hygiene products, paper towels, cotton balls extra toilet paper, or anything non-biodegradable. These items don’t disintegrate like toilet paper and can quickly lead to blockages. Also, be cautious with the amount of toilet paper used per flush. Educating household members, especially kids, about what shouldn’t be flushed is a simple yet effective way to prevent many clogging issues.
What kind of plunger is best to use?
Types of Plungers
Choosing the right plunger can make all the difference when tackling a clogged toilet. Here’s a quick rundown on the types of plungers and which one is best for your toilet:
1. The Flange Plunger: Your Best Bet
For toilets, the flange (also known as a toilet plunger) is your go-to tool. This plunger has a rubber cup similar to the standard sink plunger but also includes a soft rubber flap (the flange) that folds out from inside the cup. This design allows the whole plunger cup to fit snugly over the toilet drain, creating a strong seal needed for effective plunging. The flange can also tuck into the cup, allowing it to be used on sinks and tubs, making it a versatile tool in your plumbing arsenal.
2. The Cup Plunger: Not Ideal for Toilets
The classic cup plunger, often seen in movies and cartoons, is actually designed for flat surfaces like sinks and tubs. Its flat rubber cup is perfect for sealing against these flat surfaces but not for the curved bowl of a toilet. While you can use it in a pinch, it won’t be as effective as flange plungers for your toilet woes.
3. The Accordion Plunger: Powerful but Tricky
Then there’s the accordion plunger, made of hard plastic with an accordion-like design. This type can generate a lot of force, which can be effective for tough toilet clogs too. However, they can be more challenging to use. They require a good seal to be effective, and the hard plastic can sometimes be awkward to maneuver and create a seal compared to the softer rubber of flange plungers.
4. Bellows Plunger: An Alternative Option
A less common but effective type is the bellows plunger, which looks a bit like an accordion but is made of softer material. It’s designed to push a large volume of water down the drain with each plunge, which can be very effective. However, like the accordion plunger, it may require a bit of technique to master.
Remember, plunging a toilet is often a quick and easy fix, but sometimes those stubborn clogs need a professional touch.
Don’t hesitate to call us at Chase The Plumber if you’re in over your head (figuratively speaking!). We’re here to help with all your plumbing needs in Oklahoma, ensuring your home runs smoothly – one flush at a time!