Household Plungers

Our Household Plungers: Everything You Need to Know and a lot More!

How many times over a lifetime have we reached for one of our household plungers? This small household tool has saved us time, money, and for some it has saved us from embarrassing situations. It usually sits next to our toilet or a nearby closet. Some plungers are fancy, so it doesn’t look like an eyesore. However, in my house, my dad would cut a portion of a gallon of Clorox bottle out, and it sat right next to our toilet. We had an old-school household plunger that sat in every bathroom. Let’s face it: no tool in our home costs less and is used more, saving us from lots of grief.

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For Those Very, Very, Very Few that Don’t Know What a Household Plunger is: 

A household plunger is a simple plumbing tool designed to unclog or clear obstructions in drains, pipes, or toilets. It consists of a handle and a rubber cup-shaped suction cup at the end. The rubber cup is placed over the drain or toilet bowl opening, and by applying downward pressure and then pulling up forcefully, the plunger creates a vacuum seal and generates a surge of air and water pressure. This action helps dislodge and remove blockages, such as hair, debris, or waste, allowing the water to flow freely again.

Plungers are commonly used in households and are available in various shapes and sizes, including the common cup plunger for sinks and toilets and the flange or toilet plunger, which has an additional flange or extension to create a better seal in toilet bowls. They are a cost-effective and handy tool for addressing minor plumbing issues without needing professional intervention.

What is the History of the Household Plunger? 

The history of the common household plunger dates back to the late 19th century. In 1874, the patent department granted Samuel Prosser a patent for a device known as the “force cup,” essentially the earliest version of the modern plunger. This simple yet effective tool consisted of a wooden handle attached to a rubber cup-shaped suction cup. Over time, the design of the plunger evolved as inventors made improvements. In the early 20th century, a man named John S. Hawley patented a design with a foldable rubber cup, making it easier to store and transport. This design laid the foundation for the iconic accordion-like shape seen in plungers today.

Old Household Plunger

Durability Improved with Advancements in Quality

The plunger gained popularity as indoor plumbing became more common in households during the early 20th century. It was a crucial tool for clearing clogs in toilets and drains, thanks to its ability to create a vacuum seal and generate the necessary force to dislodge obstructions. The plunger’s effectiveness and durability improved with advancements in materials and manufacturing. By the mid-20th century, plastic and synthetic rubber materials began replacing wood and natural rubber, making plungers more affordable and long-lasting.

Today, the common household plunger remains an indispensable tool for homeowners, providing a quick and cost-effective solution for plumbing blockages. Its design and functionality have seen minor refinements, but the basic principles established in the late 19th century continue to serve households worldwide. 

Here are Some Alternative Uses for a Plunger:

The plunger’s purpose is for use in household plumbing, such as clearing clogs in drains and toilets. However, homeowners and DIY have found other uses for the household plunger thanks to their suction and pressure-generating capabilities. Here are some alternative uses for a plunger:

Removing dents from car bodies 

Sometimes, a DIY can use a plunger to pop out small dents on a car’s body. The plunger can help restore the metal or plastic to its original shape by creating a vacuum seal over the dent and then pulling forcefully.

Temporary dent and bump removal on household items 

You can also use your household plunger to remove minor dents or bumps from items like plastic storage containers, buckets, or even furniture by creating a vacuum seal and gently pulling or pushing.

Removing a dent With a Old Household Plunger

The Story of a Man Who’s Family Used a Plunger as a Makeshift CPR Device  

The story of a 65-year-old man who survived cardiac arrest thanks to his family using a toilet plunger as a makeshift CPR device is indeed remarkable. This incident highlights the importance of immediate intervention during a medical emergency and the resourcefulness of the man’s family in a critical situation.

The subsequent study presented at the meeting of emergency medical services directors, which suggests that using a plunger-like setup can increase the chances of recovery for resuscitated patients, is intriguing. However, it’s essential to note that while CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) is a life-saving technique, the use of a plunger or similar improvised tools for chest compressions is not recommended in official CPR guidelines. Standard CPR involves a specific technique, including chest compressions and rescue breaths, to maximize the chances of survival and minimize potential complications.

The P Stands For Plumber’s Helper

The lead doctor’s letter to the Journal of the American Medical Association, titled “CPR: The P stands for plumber’s helper,” likely emphasizes the importance of quick action in emergencies and highlights the extraordinary circumstances that led to this particular outcome. However, individuals must receive proper CPR training and follow established guidelines for the best chance of saving a life during cardiac arrest.

While these alternative uses for a household plunger are helpful in certain situations, it’s essential to thoroughly clean and disinfect the plunger. This also includes non-plumbing purposes before using it for its primary function in toilets or drains to avoid cross-contamination.

Household Plungers Come in all Shapes and Sizes

Yes, plungers come in different styles and designs, each tailored to specific plumbing needs and preferences. The two most common plungers are the cup plunger and the flange (toilet) plunger. Here’s an overview of these styles and some additional variations:

Cup Plunger:

  • This is the standard plunger commonly used for sinks and flat-bottomed drains.
  • It has a flat, straight-sided rubber cup that can create a good seal over flat surfaces.
  • Cup plungers are versatile and used in various plumbing applications.
Cu Plunger

Flange (Toilet) Plunger:

  • Specifically designed for use in toilet bowls.
  • It features an extended, narrow flange or bell-shaped extension at the bottom of the rubber cup.
  • The flange-design plunger will fit snugly into the toilet drain opening, creating a better seal to unclog toilets effectively.

Taze Plunger:

  • Also known as a “ball-shaped” or “accordion” plunger.
  • This household plunger type has a flexible, accordion-like rubber cup that can conform to different drain shapes and sizes.
  • Taze plungers are versatile and can contribute to various plumbing tasks.

Sink and Drain Plungers:

  • These plungers are for specific sink and drain types, such as flat-bottomed or curved drain plungers. 
  • Sink and drain plungers may have slightly different cup shapes and sizes to suit their intended applications.

Decorative or Aesthetic Plungers:

  • Some plungers have two purposes: decorative or aesthetically pleasing features.
  • These household plungers may have patterned or colored rubber cups or handles to match bathroom decor. Some even use a stainless steel handle and holding container. 

Industrial or Heavy-Duty Plungers:

  • These heavy-duty plungers can withstand more rigorous use, especially in commercial or industrial settings.
  • They tend to have larger, more durable handles and thicker rubber cups for added strength.

Air Pressure or Bulb Plungers:

  • These plungers use air pressure rather than the traditional suction method to clear clogs.
  • They have a bulb-shaped component that you squeeze to expel air forcefully into the drain, dislodging the obstruction.

Miniature Plungers:

  • Smaller plungers are designed for narrow or confined spaces, such as in RVs, boats, or small bathrooms.

Understand the Importance of Having the Right Tools for the Job

When selecting the right household plunger for your plumbing needs will ultimately hinge on the nature of the plumbing task at hand and your personal preferences. For typical household usage, we generally recommend keeping both a cup plunger and a flange plunger readily available, as these two types are well-suited for addressing a wide range of clogs in sinks, drains, and toilets. This versatile combination ensures you’re adequately equipped to handle your home’s most common plumbing issues.

At Big B’s Plumbing, we understand the importance of having the right tools for the job. That’s why our team of experienced professionals is always prepared with various plumbing equipment to ensure efficient and effective solutions for our customers. Whether it’s a minor drain blockage or a more complex plumbing problem, you can count on Big B’s Plumbing to provide top-notch service and the right tools for the task at hand. Your satisfaction and peace of mind are our top priorities, and we’re here to assist you with all your plumbing needs.

Brandon and Family, Licensed plumbing contractor

Family Owned & Operated

My name is Brandon Mageno. I'm the founder, President, and CEO of Big B's Plumbing Company. As the founder, I never thought about being average or good. My passion for being the best plumbing company in Southern California has always been the same. Providing plumbing services to this great county is simply in my DNA. Nothing makes me happier than to see a satisfied customer. Learn More About Us

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