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April 29, 2024

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How to Use Plungers to Clear Blocked Drains

Have you ever experienced the frustration of a blocked drain? 

The water slowly draining or not draining at all can be a major inconvenience. 

Thankfully, there's a cost-effective and easy solution to unclog a blocked drain – the old good plunger! 

In this comprehensive blog post, we guide you through the process of effectively using plungers for blocked drains, providing step-by-step instructions and valuable tips along the way.

At Sewer Surgeon, we understand the annoyance that comes with clogged drains, and we're here to help. As experts in unclogged blocked drain plumbing services, we want to offer you an effective solution that won't break the bank. 

Using a plunger for a blocked drain is a tried-and-true method that has been used for generations. 

So, let's dive in and discover how you can become a DIY plumbing hero in your own home!

Types of Plungers

When it comes to plungers, remember that not all plungers are created equal. There are different types available, each designed for specific purposes. The two most common types of plungers are sink plungers and toilet plungers.

Sink plungers, also known as cup plungers, feature a flat rubber cup attached to a handle. They are primarily used for unclogging sinks, bathtubs, and other flat surfaces. The flat design of sink plungers allows for effective suction on these types of drains.

Toilet plungers, also called flange plungers, have an additional soft rubber flap that extends from the cup. This extra feature makes them ideal for tackling toilet blockages. The flange on toilet plungers fits into the curved shape of toilet drains, creating a better seal and maximising the plunging action.

When choosing the right plunger for your blocked drain, consider the type of drain you're dealing with. 

A sink plunger is your best bet for sinks, bathtubs, and other flat surfaces. If you're dealing with a toilet blockage, opt for a toilet plunger. Using the appropriate plunger will increase your chances of successfully clearing the blockage.

How to Use a Plunger to Clear Blocked Drains 

Now that you have the right plunger for a blocked drain, it's time to put it to use and clear that pesky blockage. 

Follow these step-by-step instructions to effectively use a plunger for blocked drain in sinks, showers, and toilets:

  1. Create a Seal: Start by placing the plunger over the drain opening, ensuring the entire cup covers the area. For sinks and bathtubs, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly around the rim of the plunger cup. This will help improve the seal and enhance the suction power.
  2. Add Water: If the drain is dry, add enough water to cover the plunger cup. The water creates a seal and improves the plunging action. However, skip this step if the drain is already partially filled with water.
  3. Plunge Away: Hold the plunger upright and use vigorous up-and-down motions. Aim for about 15-20 plunges, maintaining a steady rhythm and applying firm pressure. The plunging action creates pressure and suction, dislodging the blockage.
  4. Check for Drainage: After plunging, remove the plunger and check if the water starts to drain freely. If the blockage is cleared, congratulations! If not, repeat the process several times until the water flows smoothly down the drain.

While using a plunger, there are a few precautions to keep in mind. 

Avoid using chemical drain cleaners with a plunger, as they can react with the material. If you've recently used a chemical drain cleaner in your toilet, do not plunge immediately afterwards, as it can create hazardous fumes. Always prioritise your safety when using any plumbing tools.

Other Tips for Clearing Blocked Drains 

A plunger is a powerful method to clear blocked drains, but you can enhance its effectiveness by incorporating a few additional tips. 

Consider the following suggestions:

  1. Hot Water: Before plunging, try pouring hot water (not boiling) down the drain. The heat helps loosen debris and makes it easier for the plunger to dislodge the blockage. Hot water can be especially effective for grease or soap scum buildup.
  2. Natural Drain Cleaners: Combine the power of a plunger with natural drain cleaners for even better results. One popular option is to use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. Start by pouring half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by one cup of vinegar. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes, then flush it with hot water. This chemical reaction helps break down stubborn clogs.

You can also try using enzymatic drain cleaners or a combination of vinegar and lemon juice. These natural remedies can work wonders when combined with a plunger.

For more detailed information and additional natural ways to clear blocked drains, check out the blog posts on the power of vinegar and bicarbonate in soda solutions on our website. These natural remedies are safe for your pipes and the environment.

When to Call a Specialised Blocked Drain Plumber 

While using a plunger is an effective DIY method for clearing most blocked drains, there are situations when professional help becomes necessary. If you've tried using a plunger and other DIY methods without success, it's time to call a specialised blocked drain plumber.

At Sewer Surgeon, we offer specialised blocked drain plumbing services that cater to stubborn and complex blockages. Our expert plumbers have the knowledge, experience, and specialised equipment to diagnose and resolve even the most challenging drainage issues. Whether it's a recurring blockage or a particularly challenging clog, our team is here to help.

When faced with a drain blockage that seems beyond your capabilities, don't hesitate to contact our specialised blocked drain plumbers for professional assistance. We're just a phone call away, ready to tackle drain blockage and ensure your plumbing system runs smoothly.


Using a plunger for a blocked drain is a cost-effective and easy solution every homeowner and property manager can benefit from having in their toolkit. Follow the step-by-step instructions in this blog post and incorporate the additional tips we've shared to become a DIY plumbing hero and confidently tackle most blocked drains.

However, if you encounter persistent or complex blockages that cannot be cleared with a plunger, don't hesitate to reach out to a specialised blocked drain plumber like Sewer Surgeon. 

Our team of experts is equipped with the skills and tools to resolve even the most challenging drain blockages. Don't let blocked drains disrupt your daily life – take action and restore the flow in your plumbing system today.