How to Clean a Toilet Plunger in 4 Easy Ways + Storage Ideas

The toilet plunger has the all-important role of unclogging your toilet each time there’s a clog close to the toilet bowl. It’s a bit magical that it can help you go from a state of panic to using your toilet as usual. Cleaning it should be a part of the normal bathroom routine since it easily soaks up germs and dirt which can lead to contamination in the bathroom.

Cleaning a toilet plunger is quite easy given the right ingredients and procedure. You can clean the plunger using chlorine bleach, apple cider vinegar or even an aerosol disinfectant. While some of these cleaning solutions require simply dipping the plunger in them, others may require scrubbing the plunger.

Below, we take a look at some of the methods you can use to clean your toilet plunger. Keep in mind that most plungers are made of rubber and wood which can be easily damaged. Avoid strong cleaning agents or extreme temperatures.

Method #1 Using apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar at 5% acetic acid is a great disinfectant and will kill off the germs on your toilet plunger in no time. The procedure for this cleaning process is as follows:

  1. Pour a large amount of apple cider vinegar into the toilet bowl. Heinz is a good option.
  2. Dip in the plunger and swirl it in the vinegar several times over.
  3. After that, flush the toilet then rinse the plunger in the now fresh water.
  4. Dry it then store it away.

This procedure is quite simple and doesn’t even require you scrub the plunger.

Cleaning Vinegar White
Heinz Cleaning Vinegar

Method #2 Using chlorine bleach

Chlorine bleach is quite strong and will help you deal with the dirt on the plunger on no time. You need to follow this simple procedure:

  1. Pour about 3 caps of chlorine bleach into the toilet bowl.
  2. Swirl the toilet plunger in the toilet for about 5 minutes.
  3. Flush the toilet then swirl the toilet plunger in the toilet bowl to rinse off the chlorine bleach.
  4. Let the plunger dry then store it.

Again, you don’t need to scrub the plunger in this process. You can repeat the process of you don’t feel happy with the results.

Cleaning a plunger with chlorine

Method #3 Using an aerosol disinfectant

Another method is to use an aerosol disinfectant to clean the toilet plunger in a few steps. This step also doesn’t require any scrubbing and it’s among the easiest to use. The steps are as follows:

  1. Completely dry the toilet plunger either by air or by putting it in a plastic bag.
  2. Spray it with the aerosol disinfectant of your choice making sure it touches every inch of it.
  3. You can then store it away.

This method is quite simple as seen from the steps above.

Method #4 Using dish soap and scrub brush

The last major method to use when cleaning a toilet plunger is using dish soap and a scrub brush to clean it up. For this method, you will need warm water and a pair of rubber gloves then follow these steps:

  1. Put on the rubber gloves.
  2. Warm some water then add the dish soap to it.
  3. Warm some water then add the dish soap to it. Mix them up to form a soapy mix.
  4. Dip the plunger in the soapy water then give it a good scrub with the brush.
  5. Rinse the plunger in clean water then let it dry.

You may need to repeat the procedure if the results aren’t satisfactory.

How to Dry

Once you’ve cleaned the plunger, you can dry it in one of these ways:

Air dry it

Simply putting the plunger in a place where it can drip off the water and dry is a good solution to drying the plunger. You can turn it several times to ensure every part of it is dry enough before bringing it back indoors.

Wipe it with a piece of cloth

If you have a dry piece of cloth, you can wipe the plunger dry with it. Just make sure the cleaning process for the plunger is complete and thorough before using the piece of cloth on it. Even then, the piece of cloth will still need to be cleaned properly.

Blow warm air on it

If you have a blower, use it to quickly dry the plunger. Make sure the air blown on the plunger is just warm and not hot. Hot air can melt the rubber on the plunger and char the wooden part.

Storage Ideas

To store the plunger, you can use the following ideas:

Plunger holder

Some plungers come with a plunger holder with holes to keep the plunger aerated and dry at all times. If yours came with one or has an option you can buy from the store, use that one.


Some plungers come with a hole at the end of the handle where you can attach a hook then put it in a location of your choosing. This hook helps keep the base of the plunger off the ground and thus allow it to dry when not in use. You can hang the plunger on the side of the toilet tank or on the wall in the bathroom.

Raised platform

Keeping the toilet plunger on the floor isn’t advisable as it’ll be hard keeping it dry and free of germs. As such, if there is a section of the bathroom that is well off the ground, you can put the plunger there to keep it dry.  

Toilet Plunger
Toilet plunger

Is there Automatic/ self-cleaning plunger?

Currently, there are no plungers that clean themselves. However, there are plungers that, to some extent unclog toilets automatically.

Some of the auto plungers use pressurized gas to blow away the clog, while others use a vacuum to suck then blast the clogs. Others cut up the clogs then push them down the drain automatically.

Further Reading: Plungers & Plunging

More on Toilet Cleaning

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