Tips on How to Retrieve a Valuable Item Down the Sink
We've all had that "Oh no!" moment after dropping something down the drain. Earrings, contact lenses and even toothbrushes sometimes manage to make their way into the pipes. When this happens, what do you do? Here are some tips:
Try a coat hanger
It seems silly, but if you are able to remove the drain catch, try and feel around in the pipe with a bent coat hanger. For smaller items, this may not work, but you can remove toothbrushes and other larger things with this method.
Take the sink apart
Anyone can take their sink apart to find a lost ring or earring. The first thing to do is turn off the water. Then, put something under the sink plug (what keeps gunk from going into the pipes) so it doesn't close. Place a bucket under your sink plumbing (usually under the sink cabinet) so water will fall into it. Unscrew the J-pipe from the end near the sink and the side closest to the wall. Dump the water (and hopefully your lost item) into your bucket.
If you don't see your item, it may be stuck in the P-trap (J-shaped pipe). This means you'll have to reach into the drain from the top. The best device for the job? A magnetic retrieval tool (if what you are trying to retrieve is not silver or gold) or a pronged retrieval tool. These tiny lifesavers look like the antennae on your radio and often telescope so they can be made longer or shorter as necessary. You can purchase one at a hardware or plumbing store. Just slip it into your drain and use a flashlight to spot the item and grip it with the magnet or tongs. Pull the item out and give it a good scrub.
Call a plumber
If the above methods don't work, call Roto-Rooter. Don't use the sink, or your item may be swept away into your water system. Instead, keep the water off and let a professional do the job.