DIY Repairs You Can Make with a Toilet Plunger

A toilet plunger is one of the ugliest tools around but a necessity for anyone who has indoor plumbing in their home. While most people use a toilet plunger to unclog a clogged toilet, I keep a “clean” plunger under my kitchen sink for a number of other household repairs and needs. Here are a few of the different ways that we use a toilet plunger for simple DIY repairs:

Clear out a clogged garbage disposal trap. When one of our renters clogged their garbage disposal waste trap recently, it was a toilet plunger that helped me unclog the trap in a matter of minutes. This was done by alternately plunging both sink drains until the blockage worked its way through.

[Read the complete tutorial for this repair at How to fix a clogged garbage disposal drain. ]

Remove dents. If your washer or dyer has a dent in the side, a toilet plunger can be used to pull out the dent. This neat little trick also works on pulling dents out of cars.

Unstick a jammed garbage disposal. Has your garbage disposal stopped working? Before rushing out to buy a new one, unplug the garbage disposal and try moving the blades clockwise with the wooden end of the toilet plunger. It doesn’t take much of an obstruction for the disposal to turn itself off; by using the plunger to move the blades along, the obstruction will usually plop out where it can be easily removed.

Unclog a sink drain. Toilet plungers aren’t just for clearing out clogs in toilets. They are also ideal for unclogging sink drains in the bathroom and kitchen. I have to plunge the drains in my kitchen sinks at least once a month using a plunger. Once the obstruction has been moved through, I pour boiling water down the drain to clean out the rest of the clog and kill any bacteria lurking down there.

To lift glass. Our old house has single pane glass in the outbuildings that do need to be repaired from time to time. The last time we had to replace and reglaze an old window, I used a toilet plunger to safely lift the glass and hold it in place while my husband handled the glazing. To break the seal once he was finished, I merely slid a fingernail under the lip of the plunger.

More by this contributor:
5 home repair strategies that won’t strain your budget.
Rooftop maintenance tasks for the homeowner.
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