When facing a clogged toilet most of us will reach for a toilet plunger to get the blockage cleared. Of course if you can get your hands on a toilet auger, that will also be highly effective at unclogging the toilet, but most of us don’t keep an auger under the kitchen sink.
The best toilet plungers have the following characteristics:
- A standard sink plunger is little more than a rubber cup attached to a handle. A specialized toilet plunger on the other hand will have an additional rubber lip or flange – making it look a little more like a misshapen ball than a cup. This flange section is inserted into the toilet drain (the entrance to the trap way) to create a solid seal. With a standard sink plunger you’ll find it harder to grip onto the curved surface of the toilet bowl and it will have a tendency to slip about.
- The best toilet plunger designs have a plastic handle, ideally with a non-slip coating. Plastic is better than wood (even painted wood) as this will soak up water (plus contaminants in the water), making the whole process more unpleasant and less hygienic.
- You’ll also notice a range of ‘power plungers’ on the market that have a bellows section just above the rubber cup or ball. This is designed to help you exert a maximum amount of pressure per plunge.
- Finally it’s a good idea to purchase a plunger that comes complete with a plunger holder. Check out the Oxo good grips round toilet plunger and canister. Many would argue that it’s the best plunger on the market.
Speak to enough plumbers and you’ll hear a variety of opinions on the best way to plunge a toilet. Some will argue that you need to focus primarily on the “pull back” as it’s this motion that most often clears the clog. Others will explain that the “push down” is key. In fact it’s the combination of the two – the alternating pressure and suction force – that most often dislodges the clog.
But one thing most plumbers will agree on is that it’s important to have some water in the pipes when you start to plunge. If you’ve only got air, this will compress under pressure so the full force of the plunge wont go into clearing the clog. Water does not compress under pressure, so you’ll have more force exerted on the clog each time you plunge.