When a drain is clogged—whether it’s a sink, a toilet, or a tub—the first thing to try is breaking up the clog by plunging the drain with a plunger, also known as a “plumber’s helper.”
Be sure you have one that has an elongated bell shape; the bell—needed to properly plunge a toilet—folds up so that the shape of the plunger becomes flat around the end for plunging sinks and tubs. A plunger always works better if you put enough water into the fixture to cover the plunger.
- Remove the strainer and pop-up (see How a Pop-Up Drain Stopper Works).
- Stuff a rag into a plastic bag, and use this to plug the overflow hole.
- Fill the fixture with enough water to cover the plunger’s flat rubber cup.
- Plunge steadily up and down 15 or 20 times and intersperse a few powerful pushes. Keep the plunger tightly sealed against the fixture.
- Fill the bowl about half full.
- Push the bell-shaped end of the plunger down into the drain.
- Maintaining a tight seal, rapidly pump 10 to 20 times with short strokes.
A plunger doesn’t usually work on shower drains, but it’s worth a try; be sure the water level covers the plunger.
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