Teach Your Teen the Right Way to Use a Plunger  The Plumbing Team You Like Best
plunging a sink

Teach Your Teen the Right Way to Use a Plunger

Using a plunger is rarely something that anybody wants to do (unless you get paid to, like we do). Even so, knowing how to use a plunger is an essential life skill. While it may not be easy to convince your teenage kids of this fact, you can let them know how embarrassing it can be to not know how to use a plunger, especially if you’ve clogged the toilet at a friend’s house. Remember: embarrassment is the mortal enemy of any teenager.

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Below, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions for plunging a toilet, sink, and bathtub, including which plunger to use for each situation. Pass these tips along to your teen so that they’ll be well-equipped to handle an average household clog.

How to Unclog a Toilet

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What to Use

To unclog a toilet, use a flange plunger. Flange plungers differ from traditional cup plungers in that they have a longer rubber lip and pleats that shrink and expand like an accordion. This allows flange plungers to create suction more easily in a toilet's irregular shape than a cup plunger.

What to Do

1. Make sure there is enough water in the toilet to cover the flange plunger’s rubber lip--otherwise, you won’t be able to build up enough suction to remove the clog. You may need to pour some additional water into the toilet bowl. If you’re faced with the opposite problem, and there’s so much water in the toilet that inserting the plunger will make it overflow, remove some of the water first with a bucket.

2. Once you have enough water to cover the lip of the plunger, form a seal with the plunger over the hole in the bottom of the toilet bowl. Make sure there are no gaps between the plunger and toilet bowl.

3. Push down on the plunger’s handle gently to avoid splashing yourself. This step gets the air out from under your plunger.

4. Next, start to plunge forcefully by pushing down and pulling up without breaking the seal between the plunger and the toilet bowl. This pumping motion will build up suction that’s going to help push and pull the clog loose.

5. Keeping moving the plunger up and down as long as it takes to remove the clog. It might take even 20 times depending on how tough the clog is. Stay determined!

Note: If bubbles come up each time you plunge, that means that the seal was broken or did not form properly. Repeat steps 3-5.

How to Unclog a Sink or Bathtub

What to Use

To unclog a sink or bathtub, use a cup plunger. This type is simpler in design than a flange plunger and is usually what people picture when thinking of plungers. The cup plunger’s design makes it ideal for plunging on relatively flat surfaces.

What to Do

1. To create adequate suction, you’ll need to complete this step before plunging.

  • For Two-Bowl Sinks: seal the drain on the side of the sink you will not be plunging. You can do this with a plug or a second plunger.

  • For Bathtubs: seal the tub’s overflow drain. Use a plug or a wet rag.

2. Make sure there is enough water in the sink or tub to cover the plunger’s lip. Add more water as needed.

3. Push down on the plunger’s handle once gently to push out excess air and form a seal between the plunger and the sink or tub.

4. Start to plunge by pushing forcefully up and down on the plunger’s handle without breaking the seal.

5. Keeping moving the plunger up and down as long as it takes to remove the clog. Similarly to plunging a toilet, it can take quite a long time to remove a tough clog, so keep at it!

Note: If bubbles come up each time you plunge, that means that the seal was broken or did not form properly. Repeat steps 3-5.

If Plunging Doesn’t Work...

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Plunging will remove a large number of clogs you’re likely to encounter at home. However, if plunging isn’t doing any good, it’s important to remember these things:

  • Keep calm.

  • Don’t flush the toilet. No matter what.

  • You can always call a plumber.

Some clogs occur deep down in your home’s plumbing pipes, and professional tools may be required to remove them.

If you’re facing plumbing troubles in Shreveport/Bossier, you can give Bobby L. Greene Plumbing & Heating a call at (318) 771-7551. We offer same-day appointments and 24-hour emergency services.

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