How to Clean a Toilet Plunger?

For most homeowners, cleaning a toilet plunger may seem like an unpleasant and difficult task. However, several different methods can be used to efficiently sanitize this often-dreaded household tool.

One commonly recommended method involves simply soaking the toilet plunger in hot water mixed with a few drops of bleach. This allows the dirt and grime to easily slide off the rubber surface without much effort. Other methods involve the use of disinfectants, and even vinegar to neutralize odors and remove stains.

In this article, we will walk you through multiple methods for cleaning a toilet plunger. The key to effective cleaning a toilet plunger is to choose the right cleaning method for your specific needs and preferences.

Purpose of a Toilet Plunger

A toilet plunger is a tool used to unclog toilets. It consists of a rubber cup attached to a long handle. The cup is placed over the drain hole in the toilet and then pushed and pulled up and down to create suction. This suction breaks up the clog so that it can be flushed away.

a person using a toilet plunger to unclog the toilet

Although the toilet plunger is designed to unclog toilets, it can become clogged if it is not cleaned regularly. A dirty plunger can also be a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. So, regular cleaning of toilet plunger is necessary.

Things you need to clean a Toilet Plunger:

To clean a toilet plunger, you will need these things:

  • Gloves
  • Hot water
  • Bleach
  • Bucket (optional)
  • Disinfectant Spray

Since cleaning a plunger is a dirty job, make sure to wear gloves to avoid the risk of getting germs.

Method # 1: With Hot Water and Bleach (inside a bucket)

The first method involves the use of hot water and bleach to disinfect the plunger. You can follow this step-by-step guide complete the task.

  1. Remove the plunger from the bowl and flush the toilet to clear any debris from the bowl.
  2. Fill a bucket or sink with hot water and add one cup of bleach.
  3. Submerge the plunger in the bleach solution and let it soak for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Use a brush to scrub away any remaining dirt or grime on the plunger.
  5. Wash the plunger with clean water and allow it to air dry before storing it.
pouring bleach down the toilet

Method # 2: With Bleach inside Toilet Bowl

Alternatively, you also clean the toilet plunger by pouring the bleach and hot water inside the toilet bowl. To perform this job, follow these steps.

  1. Pour 2 to 3 cups of bleach and hot water directly inside toilet bowl.
  2. Swirl the plunger around in the water several times to allow the germ-killing bleach to do its job.
  3. Then, flush the toilet twice or thrice till the plunger is fully rinsed with water.
  4. Take out the plunger and let it dry.

Method # 3: With Apple Cider Vinegar

If you are not a good fan of chemicals, then this green method might be suitable for you. You can use apple cider vinegar to get rid of antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus and other germs on your toilet plunger. You just have to use a lot more vinegar to get the job done.

  1. Pour a lot of apple cider vinegar into the bowl. The amount of vinegar should be equal to the amount of water in the bowl.
  2. Then, insert the rubber end of the plunger inside the bowl. Let it soak for a few minutes.
  3. Move the plunger into the bowl’s water.
  4. Rinse the plunger several times with running water.
  5. Let the plunger dry, then put it away.
disinfectant sprays

Method # 4: With a plastic bag and disinfectant spray

If you are a lazy one and don’t want to spend a lot of time disinfecting the plunger, you can use this short and effective method.  In this case, you just need a plastic bag and a disinfectant spray.

  1. Wrap the head of the plunger in a plastic bag. It doesn’t matter what kind of plastic grocery bag you have. Any kind of plastic bag will do the job.  
  2. Keep the plunger wrapped up until it is completely dry before you throw it away.
  3. Take the plunger out of the bag and spray disinfectant all over it.
  4. Store it in its place.

Pros and Cons of Cleaning a Toilet Plunger

Since we have discussed some methods of cleaning a toilet plunger, let’s talk about the pros and cons of sterilizing it.


  • Cleaning a toilet plunger is quick and easy.
  • It doesn’t require any special equipment or materials.
  • Bleach can be used to kill bacteria and viruses.


  • If not done properly, bleach can damage the plunger.
  • Hot water can cause burns if you are not careful.
plungers and brushes in plunger caddies

Storage Ideas for Toilet Plunger

The toilet plunger is one of the most essential tools in any household, but you don’t want to see it often. If you are looking for ways to keep your plunger out of sight but still within reach, here are a few storage ideas to consider.

  • Cabinet: You can try storing your plunger in a cabinet or cupboard. This will keep it away from prying eyes but still close at hand when you need it.
  • Plunger Caddy: Secondly, you can invest in a plunger caddy. These handy devices hold your plunger and store it under the sink or in a closet, out of sight but within easy reach.
  • Hook: Lastly, you can also hang your plunger on a hook on the back of a door. This is a great option if you have limited space, as it keeps the plunger off the floor and out of the way.

Whichever option you choose, just make sure to select a location that is close to the toilet so that you can easily access it when needed. With a little forethought, it is easy to keep your toilet plunger hidden away but still within reach.

Overall, cleaning a toilet plunger is a fairly simple process that doesn’t take much time. Just be sure to use caution when handling hot water or bleach. With a little bit of effort, you will have a clean plunger that is ready to use the next time your toilet becomes clogged.

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