Your guide to household plungers and their different uses
A clogged kitchen sink – or worse, a clogged toilet. Unfortunately, we’ve all been there. Dealing with a clogged drain is not only frustrating, it can also signal an underlying plumbing problem that needs attention before it gets worse.
If you’re like most people, the first thing you do when you encounter a clogged drain or a toilet is reach for the plunger, which is a very good idea. The trick, however, is making sure that you’re using the right plunger for the job, and that you’re using it properly.
Below, we’ll explain different types of plungers and which one to use based on the location of the clog. We’ll also give you some tips on how to use the plunger successfully.
These are the most popular plungers and for good reason – they work quite well on flat drains, or essentially, any drain that is surrounded by a flat surface. You can use a cup shaped plunger on kitchen sinks, bathtubs, and showers. All you need is a little pressure and a solid tug to get things moving in the drain again.
Look for a cup plunger that fits securely around the entire width of the drain. This may mean that you’ll need different plungers to fit over various drains in the home. We recommend having at least one for the kitchen and another for the bathroom.
A beehive plunger looks just like – you guessed it – a beehive. These feature a cylinder-type design that’s wide in the middle and a flange at the end that allows it to fit inside nearly all toilet drains. These plungers work great in toilets and work by getting into the deepest part of the drain and sealing it completely, so you can get great suction to dislodge whatever is stuck in the toilet.
Bellows style plungers
These plungers have an accordion shape along the sides that expand and contract – much like the instrument you play. One of the benefits of these types of plungers is that it can move water quickly and allows for faster release of the clog.
Flanged style plungers
While these plungers look similar to cup plungers, don’t be mistaken. These feature a flange that can open to fill and seal a drain. These plungers work well for toilets because they can reach deep into the toilet drain.
How to use a plunger
This is a tried-and-true method that you can use with all types of plungers – and on most types of drains, as well.
Cover all drains. Start by covering all the drains that are near the one that’s backed up, especially the overflow drain. This helps to create more suction when you plunge by preventing air from escaping. You’re essentially trying to create a vacuum effect.
Place a small amount of petroleum jelly around the ring of the plunger. This will help create even more suction.
Scoop out any excess water. If you’re dealing with, say, a bathtub full of water or a very backed up kitchen sink, remove as much as the water as you can.
Fit the plunger over the drain and push gently on the handle. Make sure you’re able to get a good grip on the handle and guide it easily. Sometimes, a plunger with a shorter handle is easier to control. Once you’ve forced air out and created a seal, press strongly on the plunger several times without lifting the seal.
Pull the plunger away after about 30 seconds. If the clog remains, either repeat or use a chemical drain opener but do not use both at the same time. Drain openers contain harmful chemicals that should not come in contact with your skin or eyes.
When plunging a toilet:
Never continuously flush the toilet handle when your toilet water is overflowing. Instead, close the water supply hose found behind the toilet.
You need enough water in the toilet bowl to create suction, so add water before you plunge until the water fills the toilet bowl to about halfway.
Flange style plungers work best for toilet clogs. Use it like you would other plungers, but make sure that the rubber flange is inserted inside the drain opening.
Still have a clogged drain, even after using a plunger? Give the team at Allied-Reddi Rooter a call. We can troubleshoot the cause of your clog quickly, and maybe even give you a few more helpful plunging tips, too.