How to Clean a Plunger

Here on Lockdown Loo we discuss the best methods for cleaning your toilet bowl and other areas of your bathroom, but what about your toilet accessories?

A toilet plunger is an absolute necessity for every bathroom. Although it is possible to unclog a toilet without one.

Your toilet plunger is one thing in your bathroom that you will definitely not want to forget to clean. Since toilet plungers can harbor plenty of nasty germs and bacteria including E. coli and salmonella, cleaning your toilet plunger is important. That dirty toilet plunger can spread those germs and bacteria to everything it comes in contact with. But how often should you clean it and what’s the best way to get rid of the germs that it could be harboring? Let’s find out! 

A bottle of bleach held in front of a toilet bowl that will be used to clean a plunger.

Time needed: 5 minutes

How to Clean a Plunger

  1. Bleach

    Pout about three cap-fulls of liquid chlorine bleach directly into the toilet bowl.

  2. Submerge the plunger

    Place the plunger in the bowl and let it sit in the bleach water. Give it a few swishes.

  3. Flush the toilet

    Rinse the plunger by flushing the toilet and letting the fresh water run over the plunger.

  4. Let it dry

    Remove the plunger from the bowl and let it air dry in a convenient location.

Plunger being cleaned by being submerged in a toilet bowl full of bleach water.

Germs can live on a plunger for weeks

Remember, cleaning simply means that you’ve removed the dirt and potentially some germs from the surface, but you likely didn’t remove them all. Norovirus can survive being dried out and can live on surfaces for up to 2 weeks! E. coli can remain contagious through fecal matter for up to 9 days.That’s why you need to disinfect your plunger after cleaning it. You should clean your plunger thoroughly every time it’s used. You can start off by flushing the toilet and using the running water to give the plunger a first rinse. Then, do a bleach soak as outlined above.

Toilet brush and plunger next to a toilet.

A Plunger Should Be Replaced Every Few Years

Like your toilet brush, you’ll probably get a few years out of your plunger, but it will be a bit more obvious when to replace them. A plunger works by creating a vacuum so once it starts to lose it suction, its time to get a new one.

How do you store a plunger?

Toilet accessories like brushes and plungers are best kept close to where they are used. If your bathroom does not have an under the sink cabinet to store these items or you don’t want to place them there I recommend keeping them right beside the toilet for easy access.

How do you clean a toilet plunger holder?

The toilet plunger holder (if your plunger has one) should be cleaned on a regular basis. Spray the exterior with a bathroom spray that contains bleach, let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse it clean in the shower or tub.

Should you keep a plunger in the guest bathroom

Always keep a plunger in the guest bathroom and put it in an obvious place that guests will be able to easily find it. Make sure there is a discreet, sanitary way for them to put it away after they use it too.

Who invented the toilet plunger?

The toilet plunger was invented in 1874 by a New York confectioner named John Harley. In 1876 he added a flattened rim to his invention. It was referred to as a “vent-clearer” and marketed as a “force cup”

Adrienne Carrie Hubbard
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