Updated: July 21, 2023

little girl dropped something down the sink drainIf you’ve just lived through the heart-pounding moment of watching something important like a priceless piece of jewelry fall down the drain of your bathroom sink, don’t worry. There is a way to get that item back.

In some cases, you’ll be able to retrieve the object from the top down, but if the object has fallen too far into the drain, getting it back will require disassembling some of the plumbing underneath the sink. Below, we’ll cover both methods of how to get something out of the sink drain and talk about when it’s best to involve a plumber.

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The beginner method: reach into the drain opening

In some cases, you can retrieve a fallen item through the drain’s opening, eliminating the need to take apart the plumbing below your sink. First, if the drain has a stopper, you’ll have to remove it so that it won’t get in the way. Next, you’ll need to pick a tool with which to pluck or fish out the fallen object.

  • Use a Magnet: If the object is metallic, you can try retrieving it with a magnet. The simplest tool to use is a telescoping magnet, which is essentially a wand you can extend with a magnet at one end. You can also tie a magnet to some string or a thin rod and fish inside the drain with that. Lower the magnet into the drain, and pull it back up slowly so that it has a better chance of attracting the object. Keep in mind: pure gold and silver are not magnetic, but if the jewelry is only plated in gold or silver, the magnet trick still might work on the metal underneath the plating.
  • Use a Grabber Tool: To get better reach inside the drain than in the previous method, you may need to use a four-pronged pick-up tool. This tool is made of a flexible, wound-metal cable with a handle at one end and four retractable claws on the other. Because it’s bendable, you can work this tool farther down the drain than a telescoping magnet, and you can use the claws to grab onto your lost item. You can also use this device to clear clogs caused by hair.

p-trap under sink

The advanced method: disassemble the p-trap

Have you ever looked underneath your kitchen or bathroom sink and noticed a pipe that curves like the letter P? This is known as a P-trap, an area in your plumbing with a permanent pool of standing water that prevents sewer gases and waste from backing up into your drains. When you drop something small down a sink drain, there’s a big chance that the object will end up in the P-trap.

Retrieving an item from a P-trap requires some prowess with tools. If you have any doubts about your ability to take apart a few pieces of the plumbing under your sink and reassemble them, contact a plumber for help.

  1. Place a bucket or another large container underneath the P-trap to avoid a mess and to catch whatever falls out of it.
  2. Locate the compression nut on both ends of the trap (the curved part of the piping that holds water).
  3. Loosen the nuts with caution.
  4. Gently lower the trap and let the water inside it spill into the bucket. Hopefully, at this point, your lost item will spill out with the water. If not, it might be caught in the muck that can build up inside the trap.
  5. Clean the trap’s interior until you locate your lost item.
  6. Reattach the trap to your piping. Be careful not to over-tighten the compression nuts.

    Need a plumber?

    If all else fails, there’s no shame in calling a plumber to help you retrieve your lost item. Our family-owned plumbing company has been in business since 1959, and trust us, we’ve seen it all. If you need drain & sewer services in Shreveport, contact our team today online or call us at 318-731-9447.

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