Cleaning Tips, Guides & Resources

Have You Been Forgetting to Clean Your Toilet Plunger? That Needs to Stop Now!

Adriana Aziz
August, 17, 2023
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If you asked people to list down things that need cleaning in their home (let alone prioritizing them), there’s a good chance that they will name at least 30 different things before even thinking about the toilet plunger! To be fair, it’s one of those household items that is rarely used and therefore, easily forgotten about. Of course, when you have a clogged toilet, it’s the first thing that comes to mind.

In most cases, this crucial tool does the dirty work for you and, much to your relief, gets the job done. But what happens next? Well, unfortunately, many individuals just stick it back into a corner of the bathroom without giving it a second thought. And why should you when the toilet plunger is intended to be used in the toilet bowl only? Let’s answer that in a little more detail. 

Is It Necessary to Clean the Toilet Plunger

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Considering its purpose, it’s no surprise that toilet plungers (if not cleaned and disinfected) harbour germs including bacteria that cause infections such as E. coli and Salmonella. When left as is, the bacteria from your dirty toilet plunger can spread to other areas or things that it touches. This means the plunger holder (if you have one) or the area where you store it is also crawling with germs.

No one should have such an unsanitary item in their bathroom, even if it is all by itself in one little corner. The good news is, you only have to clean the toilet plunger as often as you use it, and it’s really simple!

How to Clean & Sterilise Your Toilet Plunger

how to clean and sterilise your toilet plunger

Establishing the fact that you NEED to clean your toilet plunger is the first step; now, it’s just a matter of learning how to do it. At this time, it’s also important to note that cleaning and disinfecting are two different things; therefore, you must ensure that you are not just cleaning it but sterilising the plumbing tool to kill the germs.

Today, MaidForYou is sharing two rather simple cleaning methods that should be applied right after using the toilet plunger. Take a look below.

Method #1: Using Bleach or Apple Cider Vinegar

Obviously, bleach is much stronger than apple cider vinegar, therefore,it is the better choice when it comes to both cleaning and sterilising. That said, if you are looking for a non-toxic or natural way to clean and sanitise a toilet plunger, you can do so by substituting 3-4 cups of bleach with approximately 1 gallon of cider vinegar (yes, that’s how much you’ll need if you want the ingredient to be effective). Regardless of the cleaning agent you choose, the process one must follow remains the same. Read below.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  • Rinse off any organic matter on the plunger by submerging it in the clean water of an unclogged toilet bowl, and then pulling the flush 1-2 times, or until the waste has been washed off.
  • Using the measurements mentioned earlier, pour bleach (3-4 cups) or apple cider vinegar (1 gallon) into the toilet bowl. If a part of the toilet plunger that encountered dirty toilet water while being used cannot be submerged in the bleach, simply pour a small amount of the cleaning agent over it to soak the area. Wait for a few minutes before moving on to the next step.
  • Leaving the plunger as it is, flush the toilet 2-3 times to rinse off the bleach thoroughly. Don’t forget to manually rinse the parts that are not submerged.
  • Place the plunger horizontally over the toilet (to drip into the bowl), and pull the seat and lid down to hold it there until dry. 

Method #2: Using a Disinfectant Spray

A reliable disinfectant does not only clean the plunger by cutting through the grime, it truly abolishes germs and bacteria, leaving you with a totally sanitary toilet plunger. It’s also a very convenient process to follow, however, it might take a bit longer than method #1 as it requires a collective sitting time of around 20 minutes. Learn more below.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  • If there is an outdoor area where you can spray the toilet plunger, we advise doing it there. If not, pick a room with good ventilation and more open space to get the task done. Start by holding the plunger away from other items and surfaces; then spray the rubber cup liberally, inside and outside. Don’t forget the shaft as it is also prone to bacteria. It’s important to be extra generous with the disinfectant for 100% efficacy.
  • After approximately 10 minutes, re-spray the plunger and let it sit for another 5 -10 minutes. This ensures that any matter or grime sticking to the plunger is broken down while bacteria is eliminated.
  • The final step is to rinse off the plunger. Hold it over the toilet bowl for this, and pour water over it using a plastic container or basin. Be sure to rinse the tool properly to remove the disinfectant, and then leave the plunger to dry over the toilet with the lid holding it in a suspended position.

How to Store the Toilet Plunger

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Firstly, if you have a toilet plunger holder, it needs to be cleaned and disinfected using either bleach or a disinfectant spray. It is advisable to soak the holder with the product for a few minutes before scrubbing with a cleaning brush. Finish off by rinsing and drying the holder before storing the plunger.

If you simply stand the plunger in one corner of your bathroom, this space must also be washed and disinfected before putting your clean toilet plunger back there. For a cupboard or shelf space, we advise waiting until the plumbing tool is dry, and then placing it into a plastic bag to be stored until next time.

Just because the toilet plunger has a dirty job, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t or doesn’t need cleaning! The bacteria present on the rubber cup and shaft (after using it) can spread and cause infections like Salmonella and E. coli. For these reasons, and more, it is highly unsanitary to have a dirty plunger in the bathroom. Experts therefore advise cleaning and disinfecting the plumbing tool after every use. This can be achieved with bleach, apple cider vinegar, or a disinfectant spray. The methods above are quick and easy, and will ensure to kill all germs and bacteria from your handy toilet plunger. 

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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