It’s inevitable. Something’s gonna fall down the drain. And when it happens, you’ll need to know how to retrieve items from a drain.

We use our sinks constantly while cooking, cleaning, and drinking water. We’re often hovering over or near the sink drain. So it stands to reason that at some point, we’ll lose something down the plughole.

Here’s how to retrieve items from a drain

First things first: What exactly fell down the drain? If you were doing handiwork around the sink and a screw or washer or similar item fell in, then all you might need is a magnet to gather it back up.

Tie or otherwise attach (tape works!) a magnet to the end of a string or rod that will fit in the drain. Then go fishing! Be careful as you pull upwards. Slow and steady wins this retrieval race.

If, however, it’s another item — especially something of sentimental or monetary value — then you may need to be a bit more careful and selective about how you retrieve an item from the drain.

Regardless of what’s fallen down there, there are a few mandatory steps you must take before your rescue and extraction attempts. If you aren’t comfortable with any of this — and many people aren’t, so don’t worry about it! — then call the Portland plumbing experts at Meticulous Plumbing.

You may want to put the sink in question out of order for the time being until we can get there and rescue your valuable item for you. Get in touch with Meticulous today, and we’ll help you out of this predicament.

Overview of Steps to Retrieve Items from a Drain or Drain Pipe

  • First, turn off the water. This can be done beneath the sink by shutting off the valve or by cutting off your home’s main water supply. It’s more likely that all you’ll need to do is shut off the water at the drain itself. This is to prevent any wet and flooding-style mishaps. It also removes the threat that your item will get flushed farther down the drain.
  • Next, clean out space beneath the sink. That’s where you’ll be working.
  • Grab a bucket big enough to capture whatever water and sludge pour from the p-trap pipe. The p-trap looks like this. You’ve probably seen one before. It includes the overflow pipe, which is where your item may be located. But first …
  • Remove the drain plug. This will require several additional steps, including separating the pivot arm that’s attached to the plug.
  • Snag your item from the drain with thin pliers, grasping tool, flexible rod, or other tool and replace the drain plug. Some folks also use a vacuum cleaner but be very cautious when operating electric machines around water. Of course, this nab-it method only works if you can see the item in the drain itself. Otherwise …
  • Put on rubber gloves and a facemask.
  • Remove the p-trap and overflow pipe. Get ready for a flush of water and possibly gook and other items when you unscrew the slip nuts. (That’s what the bucket is for!) Check for the item you dropped. Is it in the material extracted from the overflow pipe or the p-shaped pipe? Find it? Great! Replace the overflow pipe securely. If not …
  • Call Meticulous Plumbing. And don’t despair. We can still probably locate the item for you.

For the tools needed here, most hardware stores can help you find what you need to secure the item lost down the drain of the bathroom sink or shower.

Give us a call with any questions about this topic or any other plumbing service issues. Retrieving items dropped to the bottom of the drain can be frustrating and worrisome. But if you call a plumber, they can usually retrieve your lost item.

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