It’s happened to almost everybody at some point: You’re doing dishes when your ring slips off in the kitchen sink. You’re giving your son or daughter a bath in the tub when your necklace falls into the suds. Or you’re getting ready for bed and you accidentally knock an earbud into the sink drain.
Most of us have lost items to drains before, but just because something is out of sight doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gone forever. Everything from nascent buttons to diamond earrings can be recovered if you simply know what you’re doing. Check out the top five ways to get lost items out of your drains below, courtesy of our experts at Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.
5 Easy Tips to Get Things Out of Your Drains
- Use a Shower Stopper: Okay, this one might sound a bit obvious, but the fact remains that the easiest way to get items out of your drains is to prevent them from entering in the first place. Many showers/tubs already include some kind of drain guard or stopper, but you should definitely consider putting one in your kitchen and even bathroom drains, too. It’s easy to install a permanent drain guard in your kitchen sink, or you can buy a removable stopper. For your bathroom sink, meanwhile, you may want to purchase a simple net catcher, which you can take out and clean periodically.
- Get a Magnet: For metal items that have fallen down your drains, a magnet can be a great way to pull them out. You can insert a small magnet on a string to do this, or a flexible magnet rod. Make sure to lower the magnet in slowly, as you do not want to accidentally push the lost item even further down. For metallic pieces of jewelry or other valuables, you may need to use a stronger magnet, though for many items, even a small magnet will do.
- Purchase a Four-Pronged Tool: A four-pronged tool is a claw-like appliance designed to help people extract and unscrew items that they cannot otherwise reach with their hands. The tool consists of a long, flexible rod with spring-loaded prongs on the end. Sometimes it can be hard to detect when you’ve actually grabbed something while using one of these appliances, so you should shine a flashlight as you are using this tool to feel around your drain. You should be able to purchase a four-pronged tool at your local hardware store or from a variety of outlets online.
- Remove the P-Trap: If you can’t get that lost item out of your drain using a magnet or a stopper, you may need to begin a slightly more involved process. We could probably spend a whole blog talking about the right way to remove your p-trap, but for now, we’ll keep it as simple as possible. Your sink’s p-trap – the bended, p-shaped pipe under your sink that creates a seal to prevent sewage gasses from seeping into your house – can be removed simply by unscrewing the slip nuts. This may get messy, so wear gloves and place a bucket and/or towel underneath your sink as you’re doing this, to catch any escaping water. Removing parts of your shower drain is a lot more difficult, and will require you to purchase a plug wrench that you can fit into your drain’s crossbars. That said, accessing your shower’s p-trap is virtually impossible without a larger renovation, so instead you may want to…
- Call a Plumber: AtGolden Rule Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, our drain experts are equipped with everything you need to retrieve lost items. While you should try the above approaches first, if all else fails, our licensed plumbers have the latest tools and industry-leading technology to extract even tiny objects from your drains. Nine times out of ten, we can get that item back for you, and if it is an emergency, you can feel free to call us 24/7.