How to Use a Toilet Plunger or Sink Plunger (Like a Pro!)

First off, if you came here from Google may I say I’m sorry you had to look this up. Because if you’re Googling how to plunge a toilet, today is not a good day for you. If you came here some other way then pay attention!  The day will come that you too are going to need to unclog a sink or a toilet. 

American Standard skirted toilet in bathroom with black and white checked floor.


Skip right to the instructions if you’re currently being chased by poops.

I am picturing, as I write this, what poor soul is possibly Googling how to unclog a toilet.  Whomever it is,  their heart rate is on par with a hummingbird and they’re wavering between fight or flight mode; locked in a strange bathroom with only a smartphone, a plunger and an implausible escape plan. 

Sink Plunger VS Toilet Plunger

Since this is obviously an emergency I’ll get to the most important information immediately.  THIS below is not a toilet plunger.

A flat cup sink plunger being held up in front of a white wall.

Honestly. It isn’t!  So if you have this thing sitting beside your toilet it’s really just decorative.

This happens to be a sink and shower plunger. Meant for clogged sinks and showers, not for a clogged toilet. 

This is what a toilet plunger looks like.

A black flange plunger being held up in front of a white wall.


Here’s the difference between a sink and a toilet plunger.


A Sink Plunger

Close up view of an eraser coloured sink plunger.

  • A sink plunger has a flat bottom and is shaped like a shallow cup. In fact, it’s also called a cup plunger. It’s usually the unappealing colour of a pencil eraser. The flat cup bottom will suction onto the flat bottom of your tub or sink. You can buy a sink plunger for around $3.
  • You should replace your sink plunger every so often because this type of rubber will get dry and brittle over time which causes it to crack. If your sink plunger is cracked you won’t get proper suction from it.

A Toilet Plunger

Detailed shot of the flange and bell on a black toilet plunger.

  • A toilet plunger has a flange at the bottom and it’s shaped like a bell. It’s also called a flange plunger and is black.  The flange gets inserted into the large drain of the toilet while the bell portion rests on the bottom of the toilet bowl. Toilet plungers cost less than $10.
  • When you see a toilet plunger in the hardware store the bottom cup is usually pushed up into the top bell! So you’ll look at it and think … hmm … this doesn’t look like what Karen said a toilet plunger looks like. It is. Just flip it over and pull out the flange.    This is probably why a lot of people don’t even know this type of plunger exists.

Alright, a toilet is burping feces at you. What do you do?  Scream in horror? That’s pointless.  You need to get ahold of yourself and deal with this shit show. You need to woman up and learn how to use a plunger.

How to Use a Toilet Plunger or Sink Plunger (Like a Pro!)

How to Use a Toilet Plunger or Sink Plunger (Like a Pro!)

Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy(ish)
Estimated Cost: $0

How to use and identify a toilet or sink plunger.


  • Toilet plunger


  1. Turn the water to the toilet off. You can find the toilet water supply line near the back of the toilet tank.
  2. If there’s no or very little water in the toilet, add water to the bowl until it’s half full.
  3. Insert your plunger into the offending toilet.
  4. Tilt the plunger so it expels the air and fills with water. 
  5. Once you’ve expelled the air in the plunger,  position it over the drain and press it down slowly to get rid of the last bit of air in it. 
  6. Plunge the toilet with quick, short up and down strokes
  7. Your goal is to break up the clog or bring it back into the toilet as opposed to just pushing it through. Your “up” pull is just as important as your “down” push for clearing the toilet clog. Isn’t this gross?
  8. Once you hear the toilet starting to suck, you’ll know you’ve unclogged it.
  9. Turn your toilet water back on.
  10. Go yell at your kids/husband for clogging the toilet. Even if it was you who did it

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How to Unclog a Toilet With a Plunger

  1. Turn the water to the toilet off. You can find the toilet water supply line near the back of the toilet tank.
  2. If there’s no or very little water in the toilet, add water to the bowl until it’s half full.
  3. Insert your plungers rubber cub into the offending toilet over the toilet drain.
  4. Tilt the plunger so it expels the air and fills with water. 
  5. Once you’ve expelled the air in the plunger,  position it over the drain and press it down slowly to get rid of the last bit of air in it. 
  6. Plunge the toilet with quick, short up and down strokes
  7. Your goal is to break up the clog or bring it back into the toilet as opposed to just pushing it through. Your “up” pull is just as important as your “down” push for clearing the toilet clog. Isn’t this gross?
  8. Once you hear the toilet starting to suck, you’ll know you’ve unclogged it.
  9. Turn your toilet water back on.
  10. Go yell at your kids/husband for clogging the toilet. Even if it was you who did it

How to Use a Sink Plunger (Like a Pro!)

How to Use a Sink Plunger (Like a Pro!)

Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

How to use and identify a sink plunger.


  • towel


  • sink plunger


  1. Cover the overflow drain if there is one. Just pack it with a towel or wet rag. Doing this helps force the air down into the drain where you want it to go.
  2. Place the sink plunger cup directly over the drain and push it down sloly to press out any air from the cup and create suction.
  3. Plunge in short quick bursts for 30 seconds at a time.
  4. Release the suction and check to see if the you’ve unclogged whatever horrifying thing was in the drain.
  5. Continue until the sink drains freely.

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How to Use a Sink Plunger

Sink clogs aren’t nearly as terrifying as toilet clogs, but they still need to be dealt with.

  1. Cover the overflow drain if there is one. Just pack it with a towel or wet rag. Doing this helps force the air down into the drain where you want it to go.
  2. Place the sink plunger cup directly over the drain and push it down sloly to press out any air from the cup and create suction.
  3. Plunge in short quick bursts for 30 seconds at a time.
  4. Release the suction and check to see if the you’ve unclogged whatever horrifying thing was in the drain.
  5. Continue until the sink drains freely.


  • Don’t plunge a toilet or sink right after using a drain cleaner. They have pretty harsh chemicals in those things and if they splash back when you plunge can burn you. If you have no other option, be VERY careful and wear gloves and eye protection.
  • Don’t have a sink plunger? You can turn your toilet plunger into one by just tucking the flange back into it.
  • To help prevent clogged drains in sinks and the bathtub, once a month fill the tub or sink with water completely, then release the drain. This creates a great force of water that helps push away debris.
  • No Plunger?  You can sometimes unclog a toilet without a plunger.

If you have a clogged toilet, and God help you, DON’T HAVE ANY PLUNGER, you can still unclog your toilet. Maybe.  

How to Unclog your Toilet without a Plunger

  1. Fill a bucket, trashcan, or anything you can find several cups of hot water. Not boiling, just hot.
  2. Quickly pour the water into the toilet. The pressure from the water and the heat of it will help the clog release.
  3. You can do this a couple of times, but you might have to remove some water from the bowl in between times to prevent overflowing.

STILL have a clogged toilet?  Try snaking your drain. But if you don’t have a plunger, chances are you don’t have a drain snake.  You should.  You can get this one on Amazon, or actually put on your shoes and support a local hardware store. 

Pick up a plunger while you’re at it.

If you constantly get issues where your toilet doesn’t seem to be flushing completely or it just seems weak, it’s probably the fault of your toilet. It’s not strong enough.  Toto and American Standard toilets are both great and easy to install.

No, seriously, you can install your own toilet.   Read my post about when I installed a new toilet to see how easy it actually is. 

They say before you die your life flashes before your eyes. I can tell you that doesn’t happen when your toilet overflows. Instead, what flashes before your eyes is every possible person that could conceivably appear at your door at the very moment you’re trying to corral poop with a makeup bag. Your neighbour, your mother, a friend, the grocery store clerk who once mentioned 3 years ago she’d like to see your house, Steve Buscemi, the Pope, Madonna. ANYONE COULD WALK THROUGH THAT DOOR.

Now you not only know the difference between a sink and a toilet plunger but you know how to use them. YOU are a rock star.  It’s no wonder Madonna visits you.

Have an overflowing toilet horror story? Tell us all about it in the comment section. Still have feces chasing you across the bathroom floor?  Call a plumber.  And then come back and tell us the story.


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How to Use a Toilet Plunger or Sink Plunger (Like a Pro!)


  1. carole says:

    I am printing this today to give to my staff. It is incredible how many people don’t know how to plunge a toilet. What do they do at home? Always call a plumber??? Anyway, thanks for providing the staff education this week. (I own an assisted living residence with many toilets.)

  2. Leslie says:

    Not once, not twice, but three times my senile upstairs neighbor has clogged her toilet. It then overflows and poo water comes thru the ceiling into my bathroom. It’s just great. And our HOA isn’t doing much about it. Moral of this story? DO NOT BUY A CONDO ON THE FIRST FLOOR !!!

  3. LS Nelson says:

    Yuge public service post! Yuge!
    I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t know how to use a plunger until recently and even then didn’t realize the bit about filling the thing with water. And thank you for suggesting we buy at a local outlet instead of buy it/anything on Amazon. Isn’t he rich enough???!! Smart yes, nice no.

  4. Pippa says:

    If the toilet isn’t completely blocked and you can flush without overflowing, try lots of washing up liquid and a bucketful of hot water (or as much as you can get into the toilet)… let it sit for a few minutes so the poo warms up and is flexible again… when the water level in the pan is low enough, flush. It sometimes takes a few cycles of this but it’s never let me down.

  5. Vic says:

    Hey, Karen.

    I had a nasty toilet experience this past November 1. I call it The Great Sewer Upchuck of 2019. The day after Halloween night and a massive wind and rainstorm, I woke up early, toddled down the dimly lit hall and went into the bathroom, only to discover the bathtub was full of poop water, the toilet was overflowing and all hell was about to break loose. (Guess the squishing underfoot at the end of the hall was a hint of the bad things to come.)

    As it was only 5:30 a.m., I whipped open the window and started bailing. We live in the basement apartment of a raised duplex so that meant stoop, scoop, lift, shove over the windowsill, and fling. And repeat. Luckily I had a cheap (bendable) plastic bucket handy to use as a scoop.

    I also had a proper toilet plunger. Not that the plunging, whenever the level of the water dropped low enough to pause the SSLS&F action, had any impact on the situation at hand. The problem wasn’t in our pipes, it was a result of the plugging of the storm drain on the street. So, all the plunging did nothing, other than make ominous gurgling sounds in the bathtub. It also meant that all the houses and businesses on the upside of the plug were emptying into my bathroom.

    I couldn’t get the screen out of the window, so that added a level of difficulty to the flinging portion of the SSLS&F action. Eventually I managed to pop it out with punch. Don’t know where it went, the windstorm was still in full force. I also lost the bucket. It was sucked out the window after I set it down to plunge.

    After an hour and a half of SSLS&F action the emergency plumber arrived. He didn’t have a pump so he left for 20 minutes to go back to the office and get one. Once he returned (with the pump and reinforcements) I got to go to my sister’s, shower and have a nap.

    The pump remained in action for another 8 hours. The town had to send to Ottawa for a sewer-sucking truck and then the cleanup began. I don’t want to talk about that.

    Last summer a business across the road added a drive thru, and now it appears that water and leaves and whatever else is in the parking lot can flow down onto the street and into the drain. To block it up again. Side note, the town checked it again a couple of weeks after The Great Upchuck and it was partially plugged.

    It has been raining for a couple of hours. I. Am. Afraid.

  6. Bruce says:

    Someone may have posted this, but here it is anyway.
    What are the five words you never want to have to say at a party?

    Do you have a plunger?

    Good article, by the way.

  7. Joe Dingli says:

    ho!ho!ho! Don’t let Santa near your toilet, unless you like dealing with the aftermath.

    Seriously, here is a true story I experienced as a young teenager. we moved to the outer suburbs and Dad built us our first house. This was in 1955. The new suburb was a grassy paddock, subdivided into building allotments and that’s it. The developer, (more than likely a farmer owning broad acres) did nothing except survey the land and got boundary pegs put in separating the lots.

    There were no roads, no sewerage, no gas, no telephone, no fences, no footpaths no drainage (save for a trench between the dirt track footpath and the street), so we had toilets, and showers, sinks and baths emptied into the drain in the street. This was an “outer” suburb, less than 6 Km from the CBD (Center of town).

    The open street drain was often red, because some people had to empty their excess toilet goods into it at night (you weren’t supposed to). and touching with a stick caused a mass wriggling to take place because of the thousands of worms in it, a bit like boiled spaghetti.

    We had a system called “Cash and Carry” , whereby, each week a beautifully decorated tray truck would arrive and the toilet cans picked up by sturdy men from an outside toilet and replaced with clean empty ones .

    This particular day, the usually C & C man walked into our backyard and headed to the toilet. My brother and I looked out the kitchen window into our backyard through a slit below the blinds. The C & C man went into the toilet and pulled out the overflowing can (holds 20 ltr) and put a tight lid on it. It overflowed because of the [party the night before. Any way, it took some brute strength for the C & C man to lift and sit it on his well worn hat Akubra hat.

    Then he started to walk towards the house, balancing the can on his head. On the way, he saw the clothes line and tried to duck, but a little too little as he was a tall man. Then all shit brook loose. The can must have had a rusted bottom, because next thing, he was wearing it on his shoulders, his head had punctured a hole through it. We nearly died laughing so hard, but that’s not all, drenched in piss and shit. he stood up, wiped his face and pulled out a sandwich since it was his lunch time. To our horror, he bit the sandwich and smiled. He picked up what was left of the can and repeated his action at next door’s place. I swear to God that was a true storey, exactly as it happened.

    I examined the “new” can and wondered what the cleaning process was. it seems after rinsing the can, it was dipped in a bath of molten bitumen, so it came out shiny and new. It also covered years of rust, hence why the bottom collapsed with the jolt. The C & C man came next week and this time avoided the clothes line, so we couldn’t laugh again, not so hard anyway.

    This memory has been with me for 64 years, and If I’m feeling sad or down, five minutes recollection has me in bouncing spirits and laughter and I snap back to life.

  8. SuzNKton says:

    Nobody else using a poopspoon?!

  9. susang says:

    I HATE the new toilets that are no smooth at the side. dust, cat hair and everything else seems to collect on the “exposed” drain configurations. I know i’m not making total sense but if you have a newer toilet you know what I am talking about.
    the toilet in my bathroom is only 4-5 inches away from the side of the tub and cleaning the rear side is almost impossible. Who’s brilliant idea was to put all kinds of turns and kinks at the rear side of a toilet? a man right!
    karen, where did you get the toilet you showed?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Susang. If you follow the link to my post on how to install a toilet, I tell you all about including which model there. It’s an American Standard and it’s been GREAT. ~ karen!

  10. Vikki says:

    I hereby award you a “B.S.” degree–cum laude–in Plunger Physics.

  11. Karin says:

    I immediately thought of this hysterical video of a wife listening to her son and husband clean a hair clog out of the shower. I haven’t laughed so hard ***Do NOT drink coffee while watching***
    “Father and Son clean shower drain”

    • Scout says:

      OMG! I laughed ’till it hurt. My father owns rental units and we grew up helping Dad do just that…….maybe the grand kids should try building some family memories too.

  12. Jay says:

    Hi Karen, I think your site is great and thoroughly enjoy reading your articles… ONE BIG WORD OF CAUTION: In your story, you mention if your toilet is still clogged that you can use a snake, which is very true, but the one your linked to on Amazon is the wrong kind and will permanently damage your toilet’s porcelain inside. Just as there are different types of plungers for sinks and toilets, there are different kinds of snakes to use. What you’re after is called a closet (like water closet) auger – something similar to this:

    These have a curved rod/handle that goes into the toilet so as to not scratch it, THEN have the snake after that.. .they work great and won’t damage your toilet’s enamel like a normal snake would.

    Just my $.02

    • Joe T. says:

      I’ll add another $.02 for those that do want to buy the auger/snake that Karen linked for use on sink and tub drains. Pay a few dollars more for one that can also operate when attached to a drill. It looks the same with a similar handle for hand-cranking, but also offers a protruding piece in the middle to which you attach a drill, for the cases where you can’t successfully turn it by hand to penetrate the bends in the pipes. Here’s an example:

  13. Susan says:

    Karen, I had a PhD in plunging when my son lived at home but when I moved east without him, I gifted him my plungers. So when my kitchen sink plugged, I was caught plungeless. I tried all the old tried and trues, the baking soda and vinegar and hot water, and then a ton of boiling water. To no avail. So I put on my thinking cap and came up with the stupidest idea I’ve ever had in all my years of DIY. My old Filter Queen has a top thingy for the hose that you can use as a blower. Lots of pressure. So I hooked up the hose to the blower, set it snugly into the drain and turned on the machine. Did I tell you it’s a double sink? And did I tell you I didn’t seal the second sink? In the time it took me to scream and bend down to turn off the vacuum cleaner, a geyser of water soaked me and about 80% of my kitchen. When I dried off, I put my shoes on and went to the local hardware store and bought a snake. About an hour later, I finally gave in and called a plumber. It was a very humbling experience.

    • Karen says:

      I think everything you did was smart! Keep in mind that’s coming from me, and sure in hindsight, blocking that second hole was a bit of an oversight. But all in all I think you handled the situation perfectly! ~ karen

    • carswell says:

      I have to apologize but I am laughing. I have disabused myself of using alternate solutions to simple problems that require simple tools – that I don’t have – through a couple of experiences like yours.

      Sometimes we are too smart for our own good.

  14. amanda sti says:

    the first time i know that i need to put water in the plunger i think i was doing it wrong all the time thank you for sharing this useful tips

  15. Rena Yong says:

    hahaha Karen you scared me with that $137 price …. and yelling must be so funny theyll be shocked…. is that last plunger a toy ?

    we just love our plunger its good for big boys who really love to eatt a lot… prize is really afforadble only $14 … its a Neiko plunger thanks for this really helps a lot especially on special occassions

  16. Rebekah says:

    I propose that rather then tilting the plunger to fill with it with water, air in the bell is actually advantageous because air is compressible, like a spring. By compressing air in the bell you can briefly store and then release more energy then just moving the same volume of water, hence the awesomeness of the accordion plunger above. Air in your plunger may also let you use a lower stroke rate, improving the splatter situation in the mildly upsetting first comment. (A small amount of internal water may improve the seal, though.)

    • Karen says:

      Rebekah – That’s very impressive and obviously took a lot of thought, so I hate to tell you that … it’s also wrong. LOL. Sorry. You fill it with water. The spring plunger, (which I’ve never used) may in fact be designed for using with air, but the other plungers are not. They work best when filled with water. Logical or not … that’s the way it is. But if you have the time, you seem to be good at research … I’d like to know why Paul Shaffer always plays “Cult of Personality” by Living Color, in between commercial breaks on David Letterman. Seriously. They play that 80’s song at LEAST once a week. Lemme know! ~ karen

      • Rebekah says:


        Fairly seat of the pants actually, although I am an engineer. Can’t say about Paul Schaffer…. David Letterman is still on?

        You need a little water in the plunger for a seal, but even so the impulse of the air on the water causes a shockwave the likes of which can’t easily be achieved by moving a water-filled plunger. Also, I think you probably have air trapped in the bell no matter what you do, unless you’re working really hard to fill the bell.

        There’s a party trick that demonstrates this: Note the empty neck – this won’t work with a full bottle. Also, brown glass bottles are thicker, so go with clear or green.

        PS – Your blog is seriously awesome. Even though you made fun of me. Now, please pardon me while I go shop at your various advertisers’ websites.

  17. Jan says:

    When we built our house (late 1994), the US had just passed the law about low-water-use toilets, so we had to buy the first generation of these new-fangled depositories. What a nightmare (still!). I became so incensed about the frequent use of plungers–by my husband, it was certainly never my job–that I just kept one in each bathroom. To add flair, I had my young girls paint the wooden handle before first use. So each bathroom still has a multi-colored plunger next to the toilet. Yes, I do remove them for big parties!

    • gloria says:

      But a big party may be just the time you will need one the most. I know.

    • carswell says:

      Yanno – I have heard that kind of horror story about low flush toilets but it has never been my experience.

      I originally had two of the cheapest ones going when my ex and I were renovating my house – they were a mere $60 each. They both worked exceedingly well. In fact they worked far better than several 13L flush toilets that I have been acquainted with (the worst being the one I am forced to use at work).

      When I replaced them with more upscale models one of them went to replace the annoying inefficient 13L flush toilet in my SIL’s bathroom.

      My experiences lead me to believe that the efficiency of the flush has less to do with the amount of water used than the design of the toilet and its throat.

  18. Beauty Jackson says:

    THANK YOU! When I moved into my place, they had one of those mamby pamby sink plungers, and I just wanted to swing it around in righteous fury. I bought this nifty accordion plunger ( that really has made my world a brighter place. It works even faster than the old standard REAL toilet plunger, and I think it only cost a dollar or two more.

  19. Weaving The Web says:

    I love what my cheese shop did with the red plungers:

  20. Janelle says:

    Um….is there anything you can write about that won’t absolutely thrill and delight your readers, myself included? I mean, honestly…last time I checked in you were on about a pig’s nipple. Now toilet plungers! Way to be fearlessly helpful.

    • Karen says:

      Janelle – *laughing* … Thanks. It’s hard to be anything *but* fearless after the Frozen Yogourt Tampon post. ~ karen

  21. Sharon says:

    Note to hosts: always make sure your bathrooms are stocked with toilet paper AND a plunger (your guests will appreciate it).

    • billy sharpstick says:

      and a toilet brush. I found myself in need of one when visiting someone. I had to go ask for one and was asked, “What do you need that for?” It was embarrassing.

  22. Chau says:

    I probably shouldn’t read this during lunch hour. Duh!

  23. Ange says:

    Fun fact, did you know that you can successful unclog a toilet with saran wrap?!

    I used to work with a guy who hosted a pair of Korean boys for six weeks. One night when my coworker and his wife were in bed, the kids clogged the toilet. Being very very polite Korean kids they stayed up half the night researching ways of unclogging the toilet on the internet (they obviously did not find this post).

    And what they came up with was placing a perfect saran wrap seal over the bowl of the toilet (I’m assuming with the lid up) and then pressing down on the centre of the wrap, which then cleared out the clog! I’ve never tried it myself, but boy were those kids excited the next day when they told their host parents all about it!

    Maybe not so polite after all?

    • Karen says:

      Ange – Now you definitely have my curiosity peaked! ~ karen

    • billy sharpstick says:

      I must research this one. Here ya go:
      I had a similar idea once. One time we had a toilet back up. I thought it was just a clog. I went out to the garage and manufactured a device to solve this. It was a piece of plywood with stiff foam glued to it with a hole in the middle. I brought in the heavy duty shop vac, inserted it tightly to the hole and turned it on. (IF YOU DO THIS, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE TO HOSE IN THE BLOW, NOT SUCK PORT!!!) It did not work, but mainly because it wasn’t a clog, the entire septic tank and drain field were full and not working. I think this thing will work and will try it next time we have an actual toilet clog. I will probably have to go out and make another one because I have no idea where the first one is.
      BTW, never ever flush the toilet the second time if the first time didn’t work and the level is higher than normal. We had a drunken friend who did this. It spilled out all over the floor. I never asked how he clogged it up in the first place!

  24. Norell says:

    Thanks so much for your post. I needed a laugh this morning and you “hit the nail on the head”!! I too, used that orange one for years and could never figure out why it didn’t work. The black one works great, but I didn’t know about the filling it water. Now I can be a plunger Queen. We have a rule in our house, only one bathroom can be used for “certain things”…………..

  25. Alisha says:

    I’m REALLY curious how (and why?) you acquired a tiny little plunger. It’s adorable but there has to be a story behind it.

  26. kathy says:

    I come from a family of 8 kids and every toilet in the house had a plunger and all of us knew how to use it. When I married my second husband 15 years ago, he thought the way to clear a clogged toilet was over time (meanwhile using the other toilet!) and lots of flushing. I had to teach him (an only child) how to use the plunger. Alas, he still reverts back to his ancient ways occasionally. I did learn something from your post though… I thought the plunger should be full of air rather than water. I guess both ways work, but I will try the water way next time. Thanks!

  27. jjjordan says:

    Hands in air..did anyone get an instruction manual with their plunger? (looking around room) I see, that no one has their hands up. Therefore, I propose that a) we are absolved from any plunger guilt and b) we owe Karen a round of applause for illuminating us on this very important task! I nominate Karen as “QUEEN OF THE BOWL!” show of hands?

  28. Bobbie in Oregon says:

    Karen, Thank you so very much for this post! I may sound deranged by my appreciation of the plunger but…..…..I have one of those black ‘toilet’ plungers and I honestly had no idea the bottom popped out like that. I could not, for the life of me, figure out why I could not get all of the water out of the inside of the think, nor why it was even made in such a way. Now I know! It is because I did not pop the bell part down. I am much relived! I am quite the handy woman myself and was bringing to seriously doubt said handywoman skills and all because of my confusion over a plunger. Each time I have tried using the blasted thing it would bring up feelings of confusion and remorse. But no more! Thanks to you (bopping my head that I didn’t know this already, my father would be so ashamed, you see, he raised me as though I were XY and not an XX). Thanks Karen, love the blog by the way. It is part of my coffee/music/blog, first-person-in-the-office, and morning ritual. Cheers!!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Bobbie in Oregon! I still think it’s hilarious that people around the world are sitting at work reading my blog. Glad I could help with the plunger pandemonium! ~ karen

  29. Jacque says:

    HA!! My husband is a Marine… and they love to eat… and poo.. We have a giant black plunger… but I *didn’t* know it was supposed to be full of water…. Thanks for that! Next time we have to pull it out (which is usually weekly at least) I’ll have to tell them to fill it with water!

  30. marilyn says:

    so much for my breakfast…

  31. deborahinps says:

    What kind of diet do you have to be on to use that last plunger Karen? Just wondering :)

  32. Amy Schmucker says:

    Ok, there is one idea I never thought writing about. But your just the type of girl who would. Just love it.
    The only time I have ever needed a plunger… is when guests come.. They are the culprit.

  33. jo says:

    I have a girlfriend who is into the art of rubber stamps, so thanks to Canada Post, I mailed her a plunger with a note that said, wood on the top, rubber on the bottom, must be a stamp! LOL, Thankfully the post office let me mail it without packaging, it was pretty funny.

  34. Nancy says:

    Oh my GOD. When my roommates and I moved into our apartment, the stupid low-flow toilet basically clogged immediately, and two of us accidentally both bought plungers. The *red* plunger that we got didn’t seem to do anything so we’ve been using the *black* heavy-duty looking plunger BUT APPARENTLY the bottom part has been PUSHED IN the entire ten months we’ve been here. I never even knew something was supposed to pop out! And THEN we’ve been trying to figure out why all this nasty TOILET WATER was getting trapped inside the plunger. Uuuuggggghhhhh…. Thank you, Karen, thank you for writing about plungers.

  35. Jamieson says:

    Thanks for distinguishing between the two plungers! I have one of each and had no idea why they were different.

    I also bought one of these fancy plungers once:

    It’s the kind where you pull on a handle and you’re supposed to get incredible suction from very little effort – lauded as the first great advance in plunging technology since before WWII, the Big One.

    I used it once. It shot putrid water in my face and I was no longer in such an experimental mood. I didn’t have the nerve to return a used plunger. I reverted to my trusty old toilet plunger and dislodged “the big one”.

  36. Rebecca says:

    I’m already a plunging expert (one useless toilet + one low-flow toilet + two young children who use a giant amount of TP in proportion to their tiny bums = phD in plunging) Now, if you could tell me how to do it without the sh*t splatters I’d be endlessly grateful!

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