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This article is about the plumbing tool. For other uses, see Plunger (disambiguation).
Common household plungers: to the left, a toilet plunger; to the right, a sink plunger

A plunger is a device that is used to release stoppages in plumbing. The tool consists of a rubber cup with an attached stick "shaft", usually made of wood or plastic. A different bellows-like design also exists, usually constructed of plastic. For the common plunger, the cup is pushed down against the drain opening, and either pressed hard into the drain to force air in, or is pushed down until the rubber cup is flattened, then pulled out, causing a vacuum that attracts material. The intent is to loosen or break up a blockage caused by excessive material in the drain.

A kitchen plunger looks like a ball cut in half while a toilet plunger looks more like a distorted ball with a large hole on the bottom.

A plunger is much more effective when there is water in the pipe because water does not compress and will thus transmit more of the applied force than air.[1] When a plunger is ineffective, it is often supplemented by a chemical drain cleaner in the case of sinks and tubs, or in cases of main line, toilet or stubborn clogs, a plumber's snake. [2]


  1. ^ Henkenius, Merle (2006). Ultimate Guide to Plumbing. Creative Homeowner Press. p. 216. ISBN 1580113117. 
  2. ^ Lou Manfredini (2004). Lou Manfredini's House Smarts. Random House. p. 28. ISBN 0345449894. 

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of plunger at Wiktionary
  • Media related to Plungers at Wikimedia Commons