What to Do if You Drop Something Down the Drain
Did you lose your wedding ring while washing dishes? Maybe an earring fell out in the shower. Don’t panic! Retrieving the item you dropped down the drain may be surprisingly easy if you follow the proper steps. Here’s what to do.
Turn Off the Water
First things first—turn off the faucet. The faster you stop the water flow, the better your chance of getting your lost object back.
Check Whether the Item is Magnetic
If the item you dropped down the drain is magnetic, retrieving it should be a cinch. All you need is a small, strong magnet and a piece of string. Tie the magnet securely to the string and insert it into the drain. With any luck, you’ll be able to pull the object out. Be aware that most jewelry isn’t magnetic, but many other metal objects are.
Remove the P-Trap
If the magnet trick doesn’t work, the next step is to check inside the P-trap. This is the curved section of pipe beneath the sink. Clear a space around the pipe and set a bucket under the P-trap. You may be able to unscrew the slip nuts by hand, or you might need pliers. Once detached, dump the contents of the P-trap into the bucket and see if your lost item comes out. If so, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Clean out the P-trap, reattach it, and your job is done.
Retrieve an Item from the Shower Drain
You need to get a bit more creative if you lost something down the bathtub or shower drain because the P-trap is inaccessible behind the wall or under the floor. Here’s what to try:
- Remove the drain cover and peer inside with a flashlight. You may see your lost item!
- Feel around the drain with a long apparatus, such as a straightened metal coat hanger, chopstick, or screwdriver. It may be helpful to attach something sticky to the end to grab the object.
- If all else fails, use a wet-dry vacuum. Set it to the wet setting and suck up the contents of the drain. After a few minutes, check the vacuum receptacle for your lost object.
Call a Plumber
If your item is not in the P-trap, it may have flowed further down the drain. In that case, you’ll need a plumber’s help to get it back. You may be wondering—what if the item isn’t valuable? Is it still worth retrieving? Yes, because leaving something like a toothpaste cap or hair clip in the drain could cause clogs.
If you’re unable to retrieve whatever fell down the drain or would rather leave the above tasks to an experienced plumber, turn to All Star Service and Repair. We have over 60 years of combined experience keeping our customers’ pipes and drains flowing smoothly. We offer clogged drain repair, trenchless sewer cleaning, sewer line repair, whole-home repiping, and much more. Call us today at (801) 792-2428 to schedule plumbing services in Salt Lake County or Utah County.