How to Retrieve Items that Disappear Down the Drain

Posted on December 15th, 2015 by carrolladmin

It’s a common household tragedy—accidentally dropping something down the drain.  One of the most frequent items to slip into a wet, mucky oblivion is jewelry.  Whether it’s an engagement ring, wedding band, earring or other sentimental, valuable and oftentimes expensive piece of jewelry, the initial reaction is pure panic.   Unfortunately, this mishap happens easier than one might think.  Jewelry is small and slippery when wet making it a target when near a sink.

Common scenarios

Perhaps you removed a ring to wash the dishes only to find it was somehow knocked into the sink, disappearing along with soap and dish scum down the drain.  Maybe an earring lost its back and fell out as you combed your hair at the bathroom counter. Or that dainty bracelet slipped right off your wrist while washing your hands.  These are all scenarios for how within seconds jewelry can end up washed down the drain.

Don’t let panic take hold—take action!

  1.  Turn off the faucet immediately.  Allowing water to continue running once the item is lost poses a greater chance it will rinse further down the line.  If you stop the water in a timely manner the piece of jewelry should stay in the trap under the sink which is where you want it!
  2.  Check to see if the lost item is magnetic.  Take a magnet and tie it tightly to a piece of string.  Insert it down the drain moving around to see if anything takes hold.  While most jewelry is not magnetic, it’s worth a shot.
  3.  Locate the P-trap under your sink; it resembles a U-shaped valve.  Place a bucket or large bowl underneath to collect the soap scum, hair, food debris and anything else that has accumulated in the drain.  It will serve as a catch all for the junk (and hopefully your jewelry!) in your drain when you remove the trap.
  4.  Using pliers or a wrench, gently unscrew the two slip joints at both ends of the P-trap.  Pull off the trap and clear it out—with any luck the lost item will be found. Replace the trap and screw the joints back on tightly.
  5.  If you’re uncertain about any of these steps, contact Carroll Plumbing & Heating Inc. It’s never a bad idea to trust in a drain expert to take care of retrieving items lost in a plumbing line.  Even if you’ve successfully retrieved the item, but are unsure about properly and tightly putting it all back together, just give us a call!

Remove the item even if it’s not of value

Unfortunately more often than not, items lost down the drain are important and expensive.  However, in some scenarios they’re of little to no value. Make no mistake it’s still important to remove them.  Over time the item poses as a breeding ground for hair, soap scum and food debris to accumulate. This creates a serious drain clog no drain, or homeowner, should have to tolerate.

Related:  How to unclog a drain

Helpful tips to prevent drain disasters

  • Always remove jewelry before washing dishes, hair or doing anything over a sink!
  • Don’t leave loose jewelry in the kitchen or bathroom.
  • Place a jewelry holder near the sink.  Don’t use a bowl or dish that look like the rest of your tableware, rather get one that’s made for this purpose.  There are ring holders equipped with tall stems to hold unworn rings.
  • Make sure to close the drain stopper when putting on jewelry over the bathroom sink.
  • Use a drain guard or grate with holes sizeable enough to allow water to drain, but just small enough to keep jewelry from getting through.  Mesh guards are an inexpensive option for preventing disappearing acts.

Emergency service for emergency situations     

It’s easier said than done when someone says not to panic in the event your diamond earrings or wedding band has gone down the drain.  Carroll Plumbing & Heating Inc. understands the magnitude of this dreadful situation, and it’s one of many reasons we offer 24 hour emergency service.  Our recommendation is to immediately turn off the water and schedule service.   One of our expert technicians can properly disassemble your drain in attempt to retrieve the lost valuable.  We’ll even clear the drain for you while we’re at it.

To schedule plumbing maintenance or emergency service contact Carroll Plumbing & Heating Inc. today.