There are many products out there that promise to unclog a drain for you – but not one is as effective in an emergency as a plunger. Not only is a plunger a simple and efficient tool, but it can also be used on any drain that’s experiencing a problem.
Just remember, your handy plunger is not the end-all be-all of plumbing tools. If you have a drain or drains that consistently back up and cause problems, you should call in the professionals and find out what the root of the backup is.
Using a Plunger in an Emergency
While the next section will tell you how to use a plunger in the optimum situation (where the clogged drain isn’t actively about to flood the room), we are going to quickly go over the process of using a plunger in an emergency situation first.
Ideally, you have the plunger positioned right next to the area that’s backing up – and you have a separate plunger for your toilet than your sink or tub. However, in an emergency, you have to work with what you have.
First, if you can stop your water from running, do so. You may not be able to do this – and that’s ok. Then grab your plunger and create a seal between the rubber bellows of the plunger and the drain you are trying to unclog.
Next, begin to push and pull at the stick end of your plunger. This takes some elbow grease – and you have to keep the seal between the rubber bellows and your drain intact. After a few good pumps, release the seal. This should unclog whatever is stuck in your pipes and allow the backed up water to drain out. If it doesn’t, reseal and pump again. It may take several tries to get all of the water to flow down the pipe.
After you’ve unclogged your drain, be sure to rinse out the detritus, clean the area, and clean your plunger. Then stow your plunger in a convenient location for use next time.
Finally, if you had to use a toilet plunger to unclog a sink or tub, be sure to disinfect the area you’ve unclogged – and get a sink plunger as soon as possible. They aren’t expensive and having the two sets of plungers will help you to keep your sinks and tubs clean and germ-free.
How to Use a Plunger on a Minor Drain Clog
If your drain isn’t actively overflowing (for example, if you managed to turn the water off), then you have time to use all of the plunging techniques at your disposal.
First, put on waterproof gloves and select the right plunger for the job. There are two types of plungers – a flange plunger (used for toilets) and a cup plunger (used for sinks and similar drains). The system for plunging a toilet is largely the same as above; you just have to get in there and plunge until all the water and detritus is on its way down the drain – then flush the toilet to rinse anything else out of the toilet bowl.
However, when you have a little time to deal with sink clogs, you can take a few extra steps for a more effective experience:
- Put on those waterproof gloves and gather petroleum jelly, a rag, and a cup-type plunger.
- Remove the pop-up drain from the sink.
- Use a wet rag to stop up the overflow drain in your sink.
- Put petroleum jelly on the bottom lip of the plunger; this will help to create an airtight seal against the sink bottom.
- Place the plunger over the drain, using pressure to create the best seal possible. Then, plunge up and down a few times.
- Release the seal and see what happens. If things begin to drain, let them. If not, repeat the plunging process.
- Finally, when your sink is un-clogged, rinse or throw away any debris. Then, be sure to clean the sink and your plunger.
If none of these techniques get rid of your clog or your drain regularly backs up, it’s time to call in Clog Busters LLC. We are available 24/7 for emergencies – so contact us anytime.