First off, may I say I’m sorry you’re here. Because if you’re Googling how to plunge a sink or a toilet, today is probably not a good day for you.
So you need to learn how to use a plunger. Maybe your sink is clogged or worse – your toilet. I am picturing you, your heart rate on par with a hummingbird, locked in a bathroom with only a smartphone, a plunger and an implausible escape plan.
If this happens a lot you might want to look into replacing your toilet by the way. And if you’re replacing your toilet but your floor isn’t level it could lead to disaster so in case you need it, this is how you level a floor with self leveling concrete.
I’ll start off with how to plunge a toilet first, because if you’re being chased by poops right now, it’s the most important information to get to.
Alright, a toilet is burping feces at you. What do you do? Scream in horror? That’s pointless. You need to get a hold of yourself and deal with this shit show. You need to woman up and learn how to use a plunger.
STUFF YOU WANT TO KNOW
How to Use a Toilet Plunger
If you’re lucky today you’re learning how to unclog a toilet with a plunger. If you’re unlucky and don’t have one you can skip to the next section about how to unclog a toilet without a plunger.
- Toilet plunger
- Turn the water to the toilet off. You can find the toilet water supply line near the back of the toilet tank.
- If there’s no or very little water in the toilet, add water to the bowl until it’s half full.
- Insert your plungers rubber cup into the offending toilet over the toilet drain.
- Tilt the plunger so it expels the air and fills with water.
- Once you’ve expelled the air in the plunger, position it over the drain and press it down slowly to push out the last bit of air.
- Plunge the toilet with quick, short up and down strokes (push and pull) trying not to break the seal of the suction.
- 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?
- Once you hear the toilet starting to suck, you’ll know you’ve unclogged it.
- Turn your toilet water back on.
- Go yell at your kids/husband for clogging the toilet. Even if it was you who did it
How to Unclog a Toilet without a Plunger
- Fill a bucket, trashcan, or anything you can find several cups of hot water. Not boiling, just hot.
- Quickly pour the water into the toilet. The pressure from the water and the heat of it will help the clog release.
- 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 toilet auger. 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.
Now onto the decidedly less terrifying, clogged sink issue.
How to Use a Sink Plunger
- Sink plunger
Sink clogs aren’t nearly as terrifying as toilet clogs, but they still need to be dealt with.
- 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.
- Place the sink plunger cup directly over the drain and push it down slowly to press out any air from the cup and create suction.
- Plunge in short quick bursts for 30 seconds at a time.
- Release the suction and check to see if the you’ve unclogged whatever horrifying thing was in the drain.
- Continue until the sink drains freely.
Sink Plunger VS Toilet Plunger
Most people don’t even realize there’s a difference. Sink plungers are flat on the bottom and made specifically for sinks and showers.
Toilet plungers on the other hand have a flange that fits into the drain of the toilet.
A Sink Plunger
Meant for a flat surface like the bottom of showers and sinks
- 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 $10.
- You should replace it every so often because this type of rubber will get dry and brittle over time which causes it to crack. If it’s cracked you won’t get proper suction from it.
A Toilet Plunger
Meant for toilets
- 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 usually black. The flange gets inserted into the large drain of the toilet while the bell portion rests on the bottom of the toilet bowl. They cost less than $10.
- When you see one 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 it should look 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.
- 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 one into a sink plunger 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.
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.
When your toilet dies what flashes before your eyes are all the visitors that might show up at your door.
Your neighbour, your mother, a friend, Steve Buscemi, the Pope, Madonna. ANYONE COULD WALK THROUGH THAT DOOR while you’re trying to corral poop with a makeup bag.
Not only do you know the difference between these 2 plungers now, but you know how to use them. YOU are a rock star. It’s no wonder Madonna visits you.
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