How to Clean a Plunger

Matthew asked, “Where do you keep your plunger and how do you clean it off after using it?”

A plunger is one of those household tools we need, but don’t want to admit we actually use. It does not have to be a gross addition to your cleaning supplies; read on for no-fuss cleaning and storage tips.

Cleaning a Plunger

You Will Need:

  • Detergent, such as dish liquid
  • Chlorine bleach
  • All-purpose disinfectant spray
  • Boiling water
  • Plunger holder
  • Small bucket

Steps to Clean the Plunger:

  1. After using the plunger to clean a toilet, flush the toilet a few times and use the water to clean the plunger off.¹
  2. Mix detergent and bleach in the toilet water, and swish the plunger around to clean and disinfect it.¹
  3. If you do not have any chlorine bleach, you can allow the plunger to dry and then spray it with an all-purpose disinfectant spray.²
  4. As a last resort, if no cleaning supplies are available, you can carefully allow boiling water to flow over the plunger into the toilet to sterilize it.³
  5. Flush the toilet when done to rinse away any cleaning solutions.
  6. Tap the plunger on the side of the toilet to remove excess liquid.¹
  7. Put the plunger away in a plunger holder or small bucket for storage.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • A linen or storage closet is a common place to keep a plunger, but there really is no reason to hide a clean plunger. One fun tip is to paint the handgrip white and use it to store toilet paper near the toilet so both are close by.⁴


  1. Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson
  2. Cleaning Plain & Simple by Donna Smallin
  3. Green Clean by Linda Mason Hunter & Mikki Halpin
  4. Handy Household Hints from Heloise



  1. Grayson says:

    Detergents sometimes contain ammonia. Ammonia and bleach combined will create a toxic cloud. Not a good idea. In fact, urine contains ammonia. Bleach in the toilet bowl should be used with caution if there is ursine present. Definitely do not add bleach to a bowl of urine or urinate into bleach water in the toilet….unless you want to breathe in toxic fumes.

  2. Lila says:

    I’m not really sure how to clean plungers, so thank you for that information. But I noticed a few things that should have a caution or warning about: most toilet bowl cleaners should NOT mix with chlorine bleach, so if you use those cleaners, it’s best to be safe and not use the bleach. Another caution is using boiling water over the toilet to sterilize the plunger; the boiled water could crack the porcelain.

Leave a Comment