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Thank You And Then Onwards And Upwards to I Ask: What Do You Do With Your Toilet Plunger?

by Alex Iwashyna

in I Ask Advice

I’m not good at transitions, but I am good at disappointing people. So here we go with a new post after Thursday’s extravaganza. An extravaganza that I don’t yet have words to thank you for, but know that your comments made a difference, not just in my life but in the lives of people around this blog.

Anyway, every Friday (except this week), I pose a question to y’all about something I desperately need to know. And there is A LOT so I named the series I ASK to keep you from sending me questions by accident. At the end of the week, I pick one of your answers and the world is saved. Usually.

This week I ask: What do you do after you use the toilet plunger?

I’m not going to go into all our pooping habits (you’re welcome), but let’s imagine that the toilet has gone through some workouts. My kids immediately join me in the excitement of a slowly-filling potty where we all join the WHERE’S THE PLUNGER? WHERE’S THE PLUNGER? chorus and doing that dance where you hop from one foot to the other as though the floor has already flooded with crap. And my adorable dancing yelling children almost always find the plunger first and carry it over to mama USING THE WRONG END.

AAHHHHHHH, DON’T TOUCH!

{drop}

Oh wait, I still need it.

Okay, nobody MOVE.

Once I get my hands on it (the RIGHT way), I win. In fact, NO TOILET HAS EVER THWARTED ME.

I’m Queen of the Plunger!

Alex and a toilet plunger

Why yes, I am wearing QUEEN OF THE PLUNGER gear and pink socks.

But after using the plunger, I find myself standing there with a flushing toilet and the drip drip drip of the offending water.

I look around the bathroom.  Shoving it in the sink seems gross, plus there’s toilet paper to contend with and I’m not as good with clogged sinks — remember I am only QUEEN OF THE PLUNGER. And the idea of drip drip dripping to the kitchen sink while trying to avoid the littles running underneath my feet, is overwhelming at best.

Honestly, I just stick it behind the toilet and run away.

I’m not proud.

So I ask: What do you do with your toilet plunger?

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

liz January 22, 2011 1

We stick it behind the toilet, too. We can a pile of paper plates that it sits on, and those obviously need changing from time to time.
liz recently posted..Dear You Guys&823023

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Brittany January 22, 2011 2

I struggled with this question for years! So here’s the solution that I finally ended up with. After plunging the toilet (and sometimes this involved turning off the water if I was truly worried that the advancing line of water full o’ poo was going to win in our game of chicken and actually overflow), then I would let the plunger portion drip dry in the toilet bowl by putting the plunger itself under the toilet seat. Imagine, if you will, that my toilet then looked like some sort of deranged unicorn with the handle sticking out from underneath the seat and lid. Nonetheless, it meant not having to run through the house with it dripping and not leaving it behind the toilet where the flooring is hardwood (as it is in our guest bathroom where most clogs seem to happen thanks largely to the toilet paper happy toddler who recently made the transition from diapers). Once it was dry I would put it back in our laundry room resting inside an old Tupperware bowl so that it didn’t actually touch the floor or anything else around it.

Most recently, when our old rubber with a wooden handle plunger became to disgusting to keep around, we replaced it with something like this and now I just keep it in the utility closet with my vacuum cleaner, etc.

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?sku=14120041&utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=shopping

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Kathy January 22, 2011 3

Wow I think Brittany just gave the best answer. I love that plunger she linked too. Pretty good idea, except if you ever have to clean that container it sits in. I too am the person that just shoves it behind the toilet. Or you could be gross like my husband and put it in the bath tub and wait for me the wife to clean the tub later. But I do have to give you a thumbs up on your outfit. It looks like you are wearing a adult onsie. Or at least it looks like all one piece outfit and it looks really comfy. I also love how happy you look plunging the toilet. I should be an expert on where to put the plunger because usually I am the offender that caused the toilet to over flow.This is why I hate pooping at friends houses sometimes in fear of overflowing their toilet.
Kathy recently posted..To Be Me

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the Mother January 22, 2011 4

Mine lives right next to the potty voted “Most Likely to Back Up and Ruin my Floors.”
the Mother recently posted..Get Me to the Church on Time

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Tessa January 22, 2011 5

I flush the toilet and then “rinse” the plunger in the clean toilet water, so all of the “debris” gets off, then stick it behind the toilet and wash my hands like a motha.
Tessa recently posted..Six word Friday-Warmth

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Kristen Burkley January 22, 2011 6

This is amazing that you ask because we have been arguing about this in our house. I have been finding it in the shower and it really ANNOYs the $%@^ out of me!!! Of course I NEVER have to use it, but the hubby and son do. They put it in the shower. If it were ME,I would fush the toilet over it a few times to rinse it, then spray some cleaner on it, flush again (water waster, I know- we DO have a well) then put it in the utility sink by carrying it AWAY from the body while holding a paper towel under it so it doesnt drip on the floor…. i’m SICK, I know!

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Michelle DeRusha January 22, 2011 7

This post and the comments are just cracking me up! Lovely to stop by for a good laugh today?

And my plunger? I “rinse” it in the toilet, spray it with a bleach cleanser a bunch of times, “rinse” again, spray again, and then stash behind the toilet. Not a perfect process by far.

I’m going to check out Brittany’s link — perhaps a good solution to be found there?

In other news…thanks for stopping by Graceful and leaving a comment this week. And it’s great to met you here!

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Kate January 22, 2011 8

We have two with plastic cases. One for each cammode. I rinse it and shove it there.

But, changing to septic safe tp has significantly reduced the plungers work.

BTW. Hee hee great topic.
Kate recently posted..Random missives from the sick house

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Martha January 22, 2011 9

We have three plungers. I don’t have any great advice for what to do with the one that we actually use in the toilet, but the other two get used as horsies by my daughter. In fact, there’s one just for that. (And yes, she has two actual stick horses, but don’t you know that a plunger makes a better one?)

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Jess January 22, 2011 10

Yeah, that’s why ours gets put up high. Plunger that lives behind the toilet would result in stick-horse-plunger or light-saber-plunger or how-do-you-like-my-hat-plunger. All of which would result in my brain exploding in a fit of squeamishness. I can handle all kinds of gore, but not the plunger.
Jess recently posted..gone but not forgotten

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Jess January 22, 2011 11

First, that is an EXCELLENT plunger. Love it .

Our plunger lives in a plastic bathroom waste can in our basement, up on a shelf where no small child can touch it. I’m not a huge germaphobe, but EWW PLUNGER GERMS. So whenever we need it, an adult has to go fetch the trash can. I use it, hold it over the toilet to drip for a sec, pour some clean water over it if I have a container handy, then bring the trash can to it so it doesn’t drip on the toilet/floor. Then back to the basement. Inconvenient, but less gross than the alternatives.
Jess recently posted..gone but not forgotten

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Kat January 22, 2011 12

A trash can! Excellent idea. I get totally grossed out just putting it on the floor. Like you said, EWW PLUNGER GERMS.

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susie@newdaynewlesson January 22, 2011 13
Megan (Best of Fates) January 22, 2011 14

What?

What is this plunger thing of which you speak?

I am confused.

I have never used such a contraption.

Though thinking back to a time in Morocco… and once in Michigan… I can instances where that would have been useful.

Instead of, you know, a hand.

Yes, I do have nightmares.

Thank you for asking.
Megan (Best of Fates) recently posted..Jeff- In 2 Stories

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Kat January 22, 2011 15

I rinse in fresh toilet water, spray thoroughly with bleach water, rinse again, let it drip in the toilet. Though, with a baby around, I now shove it behind the toilet to dry out and then put it in the closet.

I also get really anxious and high-strung about kids coming in during the plunging (doesn’t help that our bathroom is claustrophobic, like your knees will literally touch the tub if you are a tall person and sit on the toilet). And I wash my hands very thoroughly afterwards.

Toilet plunging is probably the only reason I even keep bleach around the house at all. I rarely use it for anything else.

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Katie January 22, 2011 16

First of all is that a space-age plunger?? Mine is brown rubber with a wooden stick attached to it. Second I did not learn how to plunge a toilet until about 3 years ago. So weird- did we not clog toilets growing up? When I was in college Laura use to do it if it happened because I literally did not understand the plunging concept. Third of all how did you become queen plunger? Is Scott King pooper? hahahaha

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AKeo January 22, 2011 17

Same (as you).

But enough about your plunger…. you keep your precious, and breakable, kitty collection in the BATHROOM?!!!?
AKeo recently posted..Buggy Dictionary of Toddler Talk

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barbarag0rd0n January 22, 2011 18

Hahaha! I was thinking the same about the kitty collection.
Also, I once read about someone cleaning a plunger in the dishwasher! AAAHHHHH OMG I Know! Yikes! I guess you could run the wash with your toilet brush and baby potty? (fyi: i don’t do this)

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Jules January 22, 2011 19

I have that same issue. Ours goes into the closet which is still gross….

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Elspeth January 22, 2011 20

I am getting some much better ideas from other replies, but here goes. My three year old single handedly fuels Costco’s Miralax supply, so we run into this a lot. Like, every time she poops. So, I have gotten into the habit of turning the tub water all the way to hot and rinsing the plunger (this also works for a toilet brush… I think.) Then I spray some Scrubbing Bubbles on the offended area of the tub and follow it up turning on the hot shower water for a couple minutes. The plunger just sits behind the toilet after that. Costco does have a brushed stainless plunger, toilet brush, and holder combo that I am totally coveting. If I were you, I would try other people’s suggestions first, since I just just made this routine up to do something to make me feel like I am being sanitary without having to do much in the way of actual work. I figure the plunging is enough work in and of itself :-)

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Martha January 22, 2011 21

Totally off topic, Elspeth, but we dealt with Miralax for months here too. So I wanted to suggest that you switch to a daily probiotic for your child. It’s working wonders with mine.

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Elspeth January 22, 2011 22

Thanks, Martha. We will definitely give that a try. Of course, part of the reason for her Miralax need is the fact that she only eats a small selection of really binding foods, so hopefully she will consider the probiotic (yogurt, right?) to be acceptable :-)

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Martha January 22, 2011 23

Yes, yogurt is a probiotic, but we use a tablet made by American Health. It is chewable and strawberry flavored. She calls them her candy. My daughter is a super picky eater too. She also likes yogurt, but using the tablets is more consistent.

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Tracie January 22, 2011 24

I do the “flush rinse” and then stick it behind the toilet. Then I try to ignore how that grosses me out while I wash my hands a dozen times, close the door and walk away.
Tracie recently posted..Orange Couch Conversation

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The Sweetest January 22, 2011 25

omg HATE the plunger AND the toilet brush. why must my child always want to play with the toilet brush? if and when we must use the plunger (all too often, thanks to the males of the house), after the plunging i let all excess grossness drip off into the toilet and then carry it swiftly and carefully, to avoid drippings, OUTSIDE where i use the faucet/hose to clean it off. it stays in the garage until we need it again.
The Sweetest recently posted..Butternut Squash Lasagna

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Late Enough January 22, 2011 26

I KNEW you’d hate them! And I’m not surprised yours gets cleaned outside…

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The Sweetest January 22, 2011 27

oh, and you are the cutest person ever in this picture.
The Sweetest recently posted..Butternut Squash Lasagna

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Chara January 22, 2011 28

Queen of the Plunger! Oh you crack me up. Who else would follow up a moving blog post yesterday with Queen of the Plunger? Well, this too is moving…in a different way (snort snort). We do the same thing! Do they sell fancy plunger dishes?! Oh! That could be my stay at home mommy money maker! Did I tell you I had a similar title such as that at camp one summer? Yes, that was my job. For a whole week. I cleaned the camp toilets.

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Stay At Home Babe January 22, 2011 29

Yeah, same as you.

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mimi January 22, 2011 30

I couldn’t even read this post, or comments because even indirect poop talk makes me super nervous. It’s a good question and I’d like the solution in my inbox without any of the having to research or admit to pooping at all. Which is sort of typical of me anyway. So yeah. *backing out of this post*
M

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Walt January 22, 2011 31

I do notice you are equipped with the Master Plunger. No old fashioned orange rubber one for you. As it should be. Once you’ve used one of these babies you ain’t going back. Always remember to tilt it and let it fill as you submerge it that way you don’t overflow the potty yourself.

Once I’m done and toss it the under the sink cupboard where ironically it lives with the Liquid Drano.
Walt recently posted..NEWS BLOOPERS AND FLUBS

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Drano January 22, 2011 32

It would be nice if you showered after work before coming to bed.
Drano recently posted..NEWS BLOOPERS AND FLUBS

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Master Plunger January 22, 2011 33

If you did your job, I wouldn’t have to get all dirty.

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Late Enough January 23, 2011 34

Best series ever. It’s like Toy Story — Toilet Story!

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Mom on the Verge January 22, 2011 35

Plunge, flush, rinse the plunger in the clean water. Add toilet cleaner, swish and spin the plunger around a few times to disinfect both the plunger and the toilet. Flush, rinse, stash behind the toilet. Voila! (yer welcome!)

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Jana @ An Attitude Adjustment January 23, 2011 36

This is a really good question. I do the same thing. When you find the answer, do let me know. PLEASE!

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Kelly January 23, 2011 37

I **knock on wood** haven’t had to use a plunger for a long time… But the times I have, I just toss it right back behind the toilet… I figure that’s where it lives…. haha
Kelly recently posted..10 Reasons Why I Could Never Be Friends with Alexander Skarsgard-

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Jess C. January 23, 2011 38

Your Majesty, I’d like to invite you to come to my house for a Royal visit, because, currently there is a mess upstairs that I am avoiding dealing with. Ugh. I do have a plunger, and my husband has informed me that he put it on the shelf in the bathroom cabinet. The shelf where I store towels. Excuse me while I put on my hazmat suit, grab the bleach and prepare to do laundry.

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Late Enough January 23, 2011 39

I just died of laughter. I’m dead. But it was totally worth it.

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Kristeen January 23, 2011 40

We put ours behind the toilet as well. We first wash it off in the tub to get all of the ilck off of it, and in result wash out the tub. Luckily it doesn’t happen very often anymore (since buying this house), but it is nice having it right where we need it.

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Angela January 24, 2011 41

Ok so depending on your perspective – my method isn’t exactly earth friendly. After the offending clog and water is gone I flush the toilet 2 or so more times while plunging and swishing so wash off the plunger. This way when I stash it behind the toilet it’s a little cleaner. I also “plunge” the toilet so the water gets up inside the plunger thereby cleaning it (not just the outside).

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Melissa January 24, 2011 42

We keep our plunger outside. Almost like a patio ornament (KIDDING….maybe). After it is used, we too do the clean water rinse, let drip for a few minutes and then use a plastic grocery bag to cover it on the trip back outside. This whole topic makes me want to scrub my bathroom from top to bottom.

Ewwwww.

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Kensington January 24, 2011 43

I just move.

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Leigh Ann January 26, 2011 44

So, this is wicked gross, but I feel compelled to share. I usually keep ours in the vanity beneath the sink. Waaaaaayyyyyy in the back. But my sister came to help out for a week after I had my youngest, and lo and behold, she needed a plunger. So the next week I was cleaning the bathroom and noticed it sitting in the corner behind the toilet. I had to move it so I could sweep and mop, and as I went to grab it, IT WAS STUCK TO THE FLOOR. WITH POOP GLUE. Girlfriend had plunged the toilet and just set it on the floor WITH POOP STILL ON IT. Oh my gawd I have never been so disgusted. I still had to clean it!!!!!
Leigh Ann recently posted..Fewer clowns- but just as much crazy

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jen @ a little barefoot blog January 27, 2011 45

We’ve got old pipes and go through phases during which the ol’ plunger gets quite a workout. These phases, in conjunction with a very curious toddler, have necessitated a plan.

Here’s what I do: I rinse the plunger under the bath faucet and then keep it in a little plastic trash can (specifically and ONLY used for this purpose) in the laundry room. Then I clean the bathtub. But it avoids the poop glue.

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mommyk8 January 31, 2011 46

I put mine back and run away too. However, I have a friend who just throws it away and buys a new one. Every time. It’s so wasteful but sooo enticing.

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SHERRI April 3, 2011 47

Keep a bucket or container behind the toilet drop it in there then you can pour bleach or whatever cleaner you want in there with it and swish it around and then dump the water back in the toilet flush and spray the plunger with lyesol and put it back in the bucket until next time.

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