Ask PoopReport: Cleaning The Plunger

// // 59 Comments
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Our Brooklyn apartment has its problems. Right now the iron railing is splitting from the front stoop, the result of bad concrete installation. The bathroom door will swing shut unless we stick in a doorjamb, the result of a bad door hanging. The furnace bangs and hisses and rattles all winter long, the result of a bad landlord who doesn't know a goddam thing about how to fix a furnace, although he thinks he does and every time we complained he told us he'd "fix it tomorrow." And our toilet won't flush logs of even mildly impressive girth, the result, we suspect, of our bad landlord buying the cheapest toilet he could find.

And so my wife and I find ourselves reaching for the plunger more often then we'd care to admit. A few times a week is not unusual. It's not that we're prodigious poopers with colossal colons -- rather, it's just that any poop bigger than a Snickers bar is going to get stuck on the way down.

Our plunger is great. I rarely require more than one thrust to clear the mess. I plunge, I watch it go down, and I rinse it off in the bathtub.

This practice, I discovered, freaks the hell out of my wife. When she plunges, she lets the water fill back up in the toilet and rinses the plunger off in there.

I can see her point; but at the same time, I can also see all the brown floaty bits in the toilet water when I'm done plunging.

This disagreement, unlike the other disagreements thus far in our young marriage, can be resolved without kicking and biting and calling Social Services. Reveling in the lack of slap marks fading from my face, I ask you, PoopReporters: what is the best way to clean a plunger after its journey up and down through the poopy water?

59 Comments on "Ask PoopReport: Cleaning The Plunger"

The Big Wiper's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points
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I've actually used both approaches to plunger primping, if you will. Most often, I believe I've used the baptismal immersion method of letting the plunger marinate in a little toilet water and then working it a bit up and down, in and out--gently.

But I can recall a couple of times when I let the bathtub water run over it. Not many, though. I guess I side with your wife about the indelicacy of shaking off "bits" in the tub, where someone may recline from time to time.

I think I would prefer the non-bathtub method, now that I give this issue a little more thought.

Also: the 'slap marks fading from my face' remark: too funny! Another great example of Dave-O's sly sense of humor.

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

Bilgepump's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points
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You didn't mention where you and your wife store your plunger, Dave, but at my "home" (the original mobile home, circa 1937, I think) the plunger sits on the floor right next to the toilet. This being the case, after using it, I'll double flush the toilet, pour in a few ounces of bleach in the now floatie free bowl, and rinse the plunger off in there. One more flush, to avoid chlorine burns on unsuspecting bottoms, and mission accomplished.

"One of the founding members of the Front Page Hyena Pack, and runs as its alpha male when the urge strikes him, which is often." Daphne (one perceptive chick)

AssBlaster2000's picture
PoopReport of the Year Awardj 1000+ points
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Ewww!!! The bathtub? No way! Barf city! The plunger's only proper place is in the toilet. After I'm done plunging, I flush anyway (you have to test your results) and I rinse the plunger off during that flush. Our plunger is one of those deluxe models with its own holder and so any mess that the plunger may have sticking to it gets contained in there; if that were to get dirty I could take it outside and pour some bleach on it and hose it off in the grass. But no way. Not the bathtub. Mr. Blaster's feet stink enough. I don't need him stepping in shit particles.

anonymous coward's picture
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Why don't you check the water level in the tank? I might be low. You might be able to adjust the float and you will never have to plunge again.

C Everett Poop's picture
j 1000+ points
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My house has two toilets and they are both the Champion model from American Standard so I don't own a plunger. These things are amazing. There is a video on their web site of one sucking down a load of bananas, a dozen golf balls, a bunch of big sponges, etc. You have to stand two feet away when you flush it or it will grab your shirt tail and suck you down too. I know this is off topic but I love my new toilets and I don't like clogs so it's a little on topic.

Courier's picture
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If the plunger is drippy and stinking after use, I put it into my stand-up shower and wash. Otherwise a toilet baptism by bleach is the usual sanitation method.

Splatterbuns's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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As long as the kids insist on using most of a roll of toilet paper per dump, our plunger will get little rest. When it's done its duty, it gets rinsed in the toilet and any resulting floaties are flushed. If it's a particularly messy job, it might get a second rinsing.

Those that use bleach in the toilet, be careful. A little goes a long way, and too much too often can ruin the porcelain on your bowl (and your butt if you forget to flush).

Pill Pooper's picture
PoopReport of the Year Awardk 500+ points
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We had those big dog American standards in my mother's house. My God, those things were amazing. But anyway, back on topic... I usually do the double flush thing. Let the toilet water wash it off. What if you had a cling on stuck to the plunger and it washed off in the shower? And then got hung up there!! That would be awful...

-Pill Pooper

Logjam's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points
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I use a combined approach. Ordinarily, I'll do the rinse in the toilet, on a second flush as suggested by AB2K. But then every now and then, I'll do an extra wash in the bathtub. I do the same thing with the toilet brush. I can't see what the deal is with washing either of these in the tub. You clean the tub at least twice a year, right?

Logjam

runninggrrl's picture
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Rinsing it in the tub is just plain NASTY. It's a plunger and the only place ours ever goes is in the toilet. So I do what Bilgepump does...flush a couple of times, pour some bleach in the toilet, flush again...and presto, clean plunger.

Fart Poopie's picture
j 1000+ points
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Everyone uses straight bleach to clean their toilets? Am I the only person that uses toilet bowl cleaner?
If I ever need to use the plunger, I just go ahead and clean the toilet afterwards. So, I squirt the toilet bowl cleaner in there and after it sits for a minute I scrub the toilet, dunk the plunger into the water, then rinse it off with a couple of flushes. Weird, but oh well, that's me.

SamDamnit!'s picture
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I've found that the dog is more than happy to lick that sucker clean.

daphne's picture
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I forgot that Dave was married! When I first read this, I thought, 'Oh, this must not be Dave. This guy is married.' Then, I forgot you got hitched. I'm losing it here.

You know, I usually use the toilet to rinse the plunger; and if there's any "floaties", I flush again. If you use the bathtub, then I would think you should just clean the tub. To each his own.

However, I know that my family members are not going to remember to use cleaner after such an incident, so the toilet is the only place our plunger goes......hugging bunnies since 1969

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

Bilgepump's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points
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Fart poopie, I use a little bleach in the bowl water to rinse off the plunger, I use bowl cleaner (with bleach) to clean the toilet.

"One of the founding members of the Front Page Hyena Pack, and runs as its alpha male when the urge strikes him, which is often." Daphne (one perceptive chick)

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points
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No! Don't wash it off in the bathtub. But if it is a plunger that sits on the floor you might keep some bleach next to the toilet (as people have mentioned bleach above). After use and flush, pour some bleach into the toilet water and wash your plunger in that. Tap it dry and set it back in place.

Better yet is the way our plunger is used. We store it in a special container that keeps it from dripping onto the floor and making it filthy. Again, though, we make sure it is clean before setting it in there. A plunger house can stink after a while if you don't.

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

slopjockey's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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The rare times mine is called into action, it`s usually a horrific mess. It is ceremoniously carried upright like the regal secpter it is, mindful of drips, outside. There it recieves a good hosing,and slung dry. I`m not going to let half-diluted shit-water air dry anywhere near where I spend time, if I can help it.

Slopjockey

Fart Poopie's picture
j 1000+ points
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Ah. I see what you mean, Bilgepump. Since I normally just clean the toilet altogether if/when I use a plunger, I was picturing everyone else cleaning their toilet. Since pouring bleach into the toilet was mentioned, I pictured people cleaning their toilets with straight bleach.
Silly me.
Thanks for clarifying.

mott the poople's picture
l 100+ points
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Just a quick rinse and then a good spin in the bowl to remove the clingers. Never the shower, I have a bad enough time keeping the swarf and mold from growing. I guess I could clean it with Sphincterine in my water-pik if I wanted to be really anal. Hmmm....a minty fresh plunger...(!)

Asphincter says WHAT...(!)

Di Uhreea's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorl 100+ points
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I rinse the plunger in the toilet and give it a "spin" like mott said. Have to do the spin.

Ratz's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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The idea of cleaning something that's sole purpose is to suck up shit never really struck me as completely dire. When it does come time to use the plunger, I just use it, and store it in a remote location. Given Dave's situation though, I imagine I'd fashion a special bin of sorts. Said bin could be filled with bleach or some other disinfectant. I'd just toss it in there after each use and change the solution every so often.

eric the great pooper's picture
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You should probably just get accostumed to the idea that your toilet plunger is a contaminated area. I would swish it around in the toilet to rinse off chunks. Hold it above the bowl for a few moments and gently twirl it dry. Then, place it beside the toilet, on some paper towels if you wish, until it dries and then move it to its storage place. Rinsing it in the bathtub simply spreads around the contamination.

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points
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I was wondering about my parents' plunger because I know for a fact that my filthy dad never cleaned it when he was done using it, and he ALWAYS had to use it with our pathetic water-saving toilets. One afternoon I went into the bathroom because I heard a slurping noise. There sat my dog, licking the thing off like a lollypop. Nasty!

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

DIXIE's picture
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I use the bleach in a bucket of water thing to clean off the poop.I was at a local woman's house one day and she was having trouble with a clogged KITCHEN sink. She went into the bathroom and got the toilet plunger to unclog her sink! When she stuck it into the water I almost puked! I turned green and left. I've
told all my family and friends to never eat at her house!! Gross!!

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points
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This is why you have a little plunger for your sink and a big one for the toilet. No mix-ups!

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

SamDamnit's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points
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There are separate plungers for the sink? UH OH. Don't tell Mary Mary that I did not know that.

SamDamnit!
President in Exile
of Poopreportia
http://www.myspace.com/saintcarnivean

SamDamnit!
The Emir of Crapistan

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points
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Haven't you ever seen those really tiny ones in the hardware store? They're only about a foot tall and have this itty bitty head on them. For the longest time I didn't know what they were for and thought it was disgusting that anyone would use one on their toilet. Their hands would get all poopy and stuff. Then a plumber told me the use of the mysterious mini-plungers. The sink!

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

KeepOnCrappin's picture
k 500+ points
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I have to use the plunger every time, no metter what. I spin it and stick it next to the crapper. End of story.

"KOC -- the Cool Crapper" - Rat Droppings

The Dumpster's picture
i 2000+ points
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As usual, Dumpster is with C. Everett. Despite the many, many disappointments of my life, my commodes reliably suck the shit down, so I cannot relate to plunger stories at home (but see my misadventures in Park City).

What I want to know is this: Dave, how is your married life going? Does the Mrs. share your intellectual appreciation of poop humor? Is there a Little Dave on the way? If so, will he be named (aptly) "Dave #2"?

Your fan club wants to know.

Bunghole In the Jungle's picture
l 100+ points
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Plunger cleaning has to be a controversial subject. I clean mine with boiling water mixed with strong white vinegar and set it outside to air before bringing back into the house.

Just realizing that I probably sound like a germ freak to some, my family has suffered less than (four people mind, you) 10 bacteria and virus borne illnesses over the last 10 years. So stick that in your winegar bottle and suck on it!

keeping the whack in tally-ho...
Fartuituos!
Serenshittipy!

Fart Poopie's picture
j 1000+ points
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We've never had to plunge our kitchen sink because of the disposal. It pretty much prevents clogs.

GottaGoGirl's picture
i 2000+ points
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We use the old Flush-Again-And-Twirl. Tap, tap. Done.

Dave's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content Moderatora 10000+ points - Super Pooperb 9000+ pointsc 8000+ pointsd 7000+ pointse 6000+ pointsf 5000+ pointsg 4000+ pointsh 3000+ pointsi 2000+ pointsj 1000+ pointsk 500+ pointsl 100+ pointsm 1+ points - Newb
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Dave, how is your married life going? Does the Mrs. share your intellectual appreciation of poop humor? Is there a Little Dave on the way?

1) Great. 2) She is very supportive, although she doesn't participate. 3) God, I hope not.

Poop Shooter's picture
k 500+ points
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This is odd, I've never thought of washing off the plunger. I never see poo poo sticking to it, so I usually just stick it back in the closet after the customary tap tap on the side of the bowl.

Providing I did clean it, no way in hell I would stick it in my tub. That's gross. I would not want to stand in a tub or lay in it knowing there are shit particles showering or bathing with me. That's just gross.


_______
Regional POWER POOPING CHAMPION 1988-2006
Poop Shooter!

Poop Shooter!

The Dumpster's picture
i 2000+ points
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Dave, the profits from JOAP II will enable you to buy a five-bathroom home in the Hamptons.

Anonymous Coward's picture
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After reading some of the comments about plungers, I think it would be wise to direct all that plunger and toilet hate toward the Toiletta. I love the Toiletta. Toiletta is the toilet tool that is drip-less, comes in 20 colors, opens drains before, during and after you flush, while saving water, chemicals, and labor. A plugged toilet makes my day. I just grabe the Toiletta, and use the force of nature (rotation inertia) and give it a couple of quick stirs and down it goes. I then tap it on the edge of the toilet and hang it up. Hey, it comes with its own hanger. This Toiletta is a "No Brainer". It is frustration free. It will do 100 feet of toilet paper in one flush.

GottaGoGirl's picture
i 2000+ points
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Wow. That thing looks pretty handy!

I smell a test drive!

Double Flush's picture
k 500+ points
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"...eliminating that water wasting double flush" Eeek! They want to get rid of me and my signature double flush! Noooo!

Even with that, I'd still like to give that thing a try. My old toilet really needs some help, and plungers don't always do the job. Toiletta might just be what I'm looking for.

_______
Damnit, someone stole my signature!

[Insert witty banter here]

Anonymous Coward's picture
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Dave,
I want to hear about the ones that can't "be resolved without kicking and biting and calling Social Services."

Hairy Pooter's picture
l 100+ points
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I'm also of the "Twirl in the whirl" school of plunger cleaning. Then I'll spray it with whatever cleaner I see first... toilet bowl cleaner, windex, whatever, then Twirl again in another flush.

healthy 1's picture
j 1000+ points
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I never thought of cleaning a plunger. It never gets dirty, I just put it back in my cabinet. I usually use my "ultra turd chopper" in favor of the plunger most of the time anyhow.

Since I have put in a new toilet, I haven't needed a plunger or the turdchopper. This thing flushes anything (and it was on sale for $69):-D.
_______
Jammin' lo'flo's since 1977.

"Two percent of the population think; three percent of the population think they think, and 95 percent of the population would rather die than think."

Nine Inch Log's picture
k 500+ points
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This just reminds me. What ever happened to the adventures of Plunger Man?

_______
Number One . . . I order you to take a number two.

Number One . . . I order you to take a number two.

SamDamnit's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points
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Dave, if you don't have a dog, you need to get one, they are great for cleaning up poop.
_______
Sir SamDamnit!
The Emir of Crapistan
Join The Poop Reporter's Lounge

SamDamnit!
The Emir of Crapistan

shawn's picture
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If you think about it..it's kind of ironic..no one ever thinks about cleaning a plunger.

I do! so what I do is this...I used to rinse it off with bleach in the bathtub...and I clean that about once or twice every week..but this is what I really do now: I usually have some bleach and water mixed in a spray bottle, or some clorox cleanup (or even lysol disinfectant)..use the plunger..rinse clean once in a fresh flush..then spray with the bleach/water and rinse again in a fresh flush. the bleach will kill the germs. and if you're really worried, after that..spray the plunger with some disinfectant spray and put it aside..and clean the area.

Anonymous Coward's picture
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If my plunger is going to take up valuable real estate in the bathroom next to the toilet, im not going to plunge bare turds with it! Once I set a new record for flushes*, I add some tp as a barrier and plunge it. Then the fresh water twirl will doo.

*I had a bare turn survive ten flushes before I surrendered and used the plunger. it took over forty five years to doo that!

Wynn D. Bottom's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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I remember my mom cleaning the plunger in the bathtub when I was a child. It was one of those cup-type, not an open-ended plunger.

One time, after she unclogged a very hefty stoppage, she flushed, twirled the plunger, then brought it out of the toilet, moving it over to the bathtub for a final rinse.

On the short flight over to the tub, guess what fell out? Yep - right on the bathroom floor. A huge log! To say she was mad is an understatement.

After cleaning it up, she came into the living room and demanded to know who had stopped up the toilet with an elephant turd. The only response she got was laughter.

Anyway, I learned from that incident to always check the plunger before removing the plunger out of the toilet.


_______
Wynn D. Bottom
ps - it was me! lol

Wynn D. Bottom

Hamster's picture
k 500+ points
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WDB - I think I guessed who the culprit was!!! Very impressive! How old were you??

Ryan D's picture
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Am I the only one who throws away the plunger each time I use it, and then buy a new one??

GottaGoGirl's picture
i 2000+ points
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Yes.

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points
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Uh, yeah Ryan. That's a bit odd. Unless you happen to have incredibly clogging sulferic acid shits each time. That I could understand!

_______
Beware the shitticane. Election, 2008.

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

Hamster's picture
k 500+ points
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GGG - how is it that you can make me smile with one single commonplace word?

GottaGoGirl's picture
i 2000+ points
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Wit.

Hamster's picture
k 500+ points
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Bugger me - you've done it again!!

Anonymous Coward's picture
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HTP wants to thank you for your industry wide support. Here is a letter form one of your readers and now our satisfied customer. I though you should read this. It just came in today. Keep spreading the word!

Dave, we thank you.
Home Town Products, Talmage California

As to how I learned about the Toiletta -- well, I already own one from a while back. I bought this one for my son, who is going off to college in a couple weeks. He will be sharing a bathroom with three other boys, so I think it will come in handy.

Again, the one I already own was purchased quite a while ago. At the time, I was trying to figure out the best way to clean a toilet plunger. I did a google search, using a phrase like "how to clean a plunger." I came upon a message board where one of the posters suggested the Toiletta. I'm not sure, but I think it was this message board thread.

The Toiletta is great!

M.B. NY

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points
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Neat concept and snazzy black toilet on your site. It looks like Batman's bathroom, in fact. I bet that bathtub gets up to at least forty miles per hour when it's on the road.

My only question is this - when the little toiletta stick is hanging on the wall, what catches its drips on the floor? It looks as if the drips will just fall unattended.


_______
.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

prarie doggin's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatorg 4000+ points
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I usually rinse the plunger in hot water under the bathtub faucet. When I'm so inclined I will use some shampoo and follow with a coat of Turtlehead wax and a chamois buffing.

house boy's picture
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On this dairy farm I take care of the farm hand house, 14 guys 10 bathrooms and one plunger that I always have to try and find when I am cleaning the bathrooms. I don't think any one here cleans the toilet plunger but me.. Every week it soaks in a bucket of dawn and bleach for ten minutes.
It stays shiney and black..

The one for the kitchen has Kitchen in magic marker written on the handle...
Another red on is for the tubs and showers used often and that one is soaked every week.

Now the ones in the barn for the floor drains are another story...

And I have had to teach several guys in their 20's how to use one.

Anonymous Coward's picture
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My hubby rinsed the toilet plunger in the bathroom sink after he used it
to unclog the toilet... He didn't
think anything of it! Can't someone contract an illness from this sort of thing?!

Anonymous's picture
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Ive decided, (since the plunger is so insanely GROSS, I will straighten out a metal hanger and use the hook part to dislodge whatever may be the "clog". Then, with a garbage bag open, i drop the hanger in and ALL DONE. My husband stores the plunger (he refuses to use the hanger method) in a garbage bag next to the toilet..there it sits, in its own little bag of brown drippy water. Blech.

Anonymous's picture
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Your way makes lot of sense! Thanks for sharing.