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Are you using the right plunger for the job?


We’ve all been there before. Maybe it happened because you used a little too much toilet paper or because you decided to eat a SECOND burrito last night. Everyone clogs the toilet and everyone needs a plunger in their home.

But what if you clog the sink? Can you use the same plunger you use in your toilet? (No – don’t ever do that. It’s not ok.) Why does your local plumbing supply store have plungers that look different?

The answers to these questions become clear when you realize there are three different plunger types, and they all have different purposes.

The Cup Sink Plunger

A cup plunger should be used in sinks and tubs

Old reliable. This is what everyone pictures when they think of a plunger. But we find that this plunger to be widely misused by homeowners. Cup plungers are not designed to unclog toilets!

The cup plunger is designed to unclog flat surface drains like bathtubs and sinks. It has a hard time plunging toilets due to the curved nature of the bowl.

To use a cup plunger, simply place the plunger over your clogged drain and move it up and down without breaking the seal. Your sink, tub or shower will be unclogged in no time.

The Flange Toilet Plunger

A flange plunger should be used in your toilet

Flange plungers look like cup plungers except for a rubber flap (flange) beneath the cup. It allows you to completely seal your toilet’s curved opening for an efficient plunge. Once the seal is complete, the flange toilet plunger works the same way as the cup plunger—move it up and down without breaking the seal.

Flange plungers are versatile and can be used on flat surface drains as well. Although, we can’t stress this enough, do not use the same plunger in your toilet as you do in your sinks and showers. It’s gross, and that’s putting it lightly.

The Plastic Accordion Plunger

An accordion plunger should be used in your toilet

This is the plunger people are least familiar with. It features a cup on the bottom and works on toilets and flat surface drains. The plunger’s accordion style design pushes air into your drain to push out the clog.

Be careful though, accordion plungers are made of plastic and could scratch your toilet.

Some Basic Plunging Tips

Now that you know which plunger every situation calls for, we thought it’d be a good idea to offer a few plunging tips for your Northeast Ohio home..

  1. Make sure your water level isn’t too high or low. The water should barely cover the entire plunger cup.
  2. Plug surrounding drains for maximum plunging power.
  3. Add a little petroleum jelly to the rim or your plunger or flange for a more complete seal.

Now you’re ready to take on your home’s clogged drains! Remember – if you run into a clog you can’t seem to plunge, the experts at Superior Drain are here to help. Give us a call at 330-576-5857 or contact us online!