If you have a toilet, or use a toilet, at some point in your time together, your toilet will experience a clog, and you will experience the frustration of attempting to unclog it. Fortunately for you, almost 90 percent of toilet clogs can be relieved with a toilet plunger and a little pumping power. If you’ve never used a plunger, you may assume it’s self-explanatory and become frustrated when you just start jabbing at the toilet drain and embarrassed that your clog is refusing to be freed. Don’t fret, we know that plungers don’t come with manuals, so we are going to teach you how to plunge your toilet like one of us — your Edwardsville plumber.

Step 1: Get ready.

First things, first, you have to get ready. We suggest wearing a pair of rubber cleaning gloves and, just in case, some safety glasses or goggles if you have them. These aren’t completely necessary if you are willing to risk the toilet water coming in contact with you.

Step 2: Use the right plunger.

To properly unclog a toilet with a plunger, you’ll need to make sure you are using the right plunger. You should be using a flange plunger, which is a cup plunger with a sleeve-like flexible, rubber neck that fits in your toilet bowl drain. Make sure that the flange is completely pulled out from the cup.

Step 3: Position the plunger.

Fit the flanged cup over the toilet drain hole so that the flange neck is inside the hole and the cup of the plunger forms a seal around the outside of the hole.

Step 4: Plunge!

Now the time has come to plunge. Start slow, repeat a push-pull motion gently until you have formed a seal. Once you have confirmed a seal, grip the plunger handle with both hands and push down forcefully and then pull back slightly, making sure not to break the seal you’ve created. Repeat the plunging motion five to six times and then remove the plunger seal. If the clog has been relieved, beware that whatever was clogging the toilet will be thrust back into the toilet bowl. If nothing has changed, from another seal and repeat the plunging steps. The idea is to alternate forceful compression and suction in the toilet drain until the clog loosens. If you have been effective, the water will rush down the drain in a flushing action.

If you think you have relieved the clog because the water goes down and you attempt to flush the toilet and the bowl fills and will not clear, you have not freed the clog and you must plunge again. If the water keeps filling up the bowl, remove the tank lid and shut the flapper (the round rubber trap door at the bottom of the tank).

If you are unable to clear the clog by plunging, you can try an auger or you can call your trusted Edwardsville plumber. Our expert plumbers will be more than happy to help you with your toilet clog, or any other plumbing system issue. Give us a call at Culler Plumbing, anytime day or night!