To Wield a Plunger

Little known fact: The 11th commandment (of the Apartment Dwelling Bible) states, ‘Thou shalt own a plunger.’

Why is owning a plunger so important? Because they are terribly useful in terribly inconvenient situations. Plungers are the only immediate remedy to a blocked toilet and/or drain.

Where do I get a plunger?

Any home improvement store, such as Lowe’s or Home Depot will have them, as well as Target or Walmart. We recommend getting the no-nonsense black rubber plunger with wooden handle.

Your ideal sink plunger, on the left, & toilet plunger, on the right.

Your ideal sink plunger, on the left, & toilet plunger, on the right.

How do I use a plunger?

The art of plunging is simple to master:

  • Turn the water to the toilet off by turning the valve behind the toilet clockwise (to the right).
  • Place the plunger over the drain opening, creating a seal over the drain.
  • With some force and speed (you might get a little splashed, so be ready) push the handle down so that dome shape of the plunger caves in. 
  • Repeat until your drain is unclogged. You can often hear the drain unclog.
  • Turn the water back on by turning the valve counterclockwise (to the left).
  • For more visual advice: Plunging how-to video

But I Don't Have a Plunger & My Toilet Is Blocked

No fear! There is a method of unclogging a toilet called the Water-Gravity Method, which does not call for a plunger. 

How you do it:

  • Grab the biggest container you have and fill it with water.
  • Position your container a few feet above the toilet bowl, poised to pour out the water.
  • Simultaneously flush the toilet while pouring the water quickly into the bowl.
  • The force of the extra water will typically take care small to medium clogs.