You know those “light bulb moments” when you realize that you’ve been using a common household product improperly for your ENTIRE life? Yeah, we know all about those feelings too, and though these instances can be rough on the ego, we also like to think they can be quite enlightening!

Take this common, plunger-related misconception, for instance. For eons, the unlucky soul who was made to clear the drains in their home was probably just grabbing the first plunger that they saw and hoping for the best, right?

Now, we don’t want to jump to conclusions by accusing you or your loved ones of using the wrong at-home plungers, but experience tells us that most out there are not giving their amateur plumbing skills the chance they deserve.

Here’s the deal: There are 2 types of plungers that you can find at any hardware or big box store. One is made for the toilet, and the other is made for the sink—got it?

When placed next to one another, the two look practically identical, save for the varying shapes located at the heads of the two plungers.

If you take a gander at the image that sits at the top of this article, then you will see that the red plunger on the left has a simpler suction device on its head. THIS is the one that performs best on sinks.

The flat bottom is built with a sink, or sometimes tub, in mind. For this one to work its best, all you need to do is place the rounded lip of the plunger over the drain of the sink—this will form a tight seal, forcing the clog to get sucked out like a vacuum. Easy, huh?

sink plunger submerged in waterSlate

On the end of the spectrum is the more complex plunger represented below. This sturdy guy is aptly titled the “toilet plunger”—hey, plumbers don’t need to be wordsmiths, ok?

toilet plunger with explanationsSlate

Toilet plungers look similar to sink plungers, except for the jutting extra piece found at its head, which is called the “protruding flange”. OK, so it doesn’t necessarily have the nicest ring to it, but it works!

The protruding flange works similarly to the sink plunger in the way that it’s meant to suction directly over the toilet drain’s unique shape. The only technical disparity here is that, before you start plunging the toilet, you will need to fill the head (or the bell) with water first. See! They’re not so different after all.

Now, that you know how to properly pick out your plumbing tools, be sure to spend some time getting your plunging moves down. Just check out Slate’s video below for even more info on this easy bathroom and kitchen fix! We swear, you’ll never have to call your plumber for a simple clog ever again.

What do you think of these plumbing techniques? Do you use a different type of plunger other than the ones featured in the video? Do you know of any tricks that help you perform basic plumbing duties on your own, at home? Tell us all about your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!