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How to Retrieve Items Dropped Down the Drain (You CAN Get It Back!)

How to Retrieve Items from the Drain

While I was working on my Goodwill sweater, I accidentally dropped one of the pins down the drain.

Now, I could have just left it there, but my “Ms. Fix-It” brain knew that I couldn’t do that. If I left it, I would be dealing with a clogged drain in a month since it would trap all kinds of hair and unmentionable gunk. So, I did the “right” thing and set about retrieving it myself. (And, blogging about it so you know what to do as well.)

Here’s How to Retrieve a Item Dropped Down the Drain

IMPORTANT! If you do happen to drop anything down the drain, turn off the water IMMEDIATELY! You don’t want the water to wash the item beyond the drain, because then it is gone forever (unless you want to explore your city sewer lines.)

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1. Put on your rubber gloves (who knows what’s hiding in your drain!)

2. Set the basin under your sink’s P-trap.

3. Then grab some channel lock type pliers. Irwin recently sent me this quick release Irwin GrooveLock Pliers
that are a snap to open and close the jaws. Just push the button, slide the handle up or down and release. Super quick and easy!

4. Loosen the lower slip nut ring.

Then slide it up to release one end of the P-trap.

5. Loosen the upper /upper slip nut ring (pay no attention to the slip nut I’m loosening, I actually had to loosen the one above it to free my P-trap.)

6. Then pull down on the P-trap to remove it (you will see in this picture that I had loosened the slip nut higher up to release the drain assembly.) Ewww, gross, don’t look at that string of hair hanging from the drain.

7. (Here comes the next disgusting part.) Turn your P-trap upside down to empty the contents into the basin. Oh and be sure you are wearing your rubber gloves (do as I say, not as I do!)

8. Remove your object. Luckily my pin fell out immediately. If your drain is really gunked up, you may need to run some water or use an old bottle brush to clean out the P-trap and release your object from the yuckiness. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to clean it out anyway while you have it off (if you can stomach it.)

9. Reverse the steps to re-assemble the P-trap. With plumbing I usually hand tighten the nuts and then use the pliers to give it an extra 1/4 turn (but I’m a weakling. If you battle me in arm wrestling YOU WILL WIN!)

10. When your spouse comes home, brag about how you retrieved something from the drain all by yourself!


18 replies
  1. Gloria
    Gloria says:

    Great tutorial! I haven’t visited in quite a while, so I forgot how talented you are! 😉
    Thanks for the info, I need this as I dropped a lipstick down my bathroom drain!! (I stupidly had the stopper out, so I deserved it!)

  2. Susan
    Susan says:

    I have used an extendable magnet (I got mine at an auto parts store) to pick metal things out of drains. It is easier than taking the trap off but if this item down there is plastic, you don’t have a choice.

  3. daisy
    daisy says:

    Hey Handy Girl – just wanted to say you are soooo coooool – I wouldn’t have had a clue how to retrieve that pin but now I do – thanks heaps

  4. Alice
    Alice says:

    When I drop something that small and metal I try using a magnetic craft strip tied to a string to retrieve it first. Then if that doesn’t work bring out the plumbing tools and basin. I’m so glad you shared this with everyone so they can see how easy it really is.

  5. ColleenwithMurals&More
    ColleenwithMurals&More says:

    Great tutorial. But I’d rather just have you as a neighbor 😉

    Seriously though, we just moved into my childhood home, circa 1930. To turn off the main water supply, you have to get in your car, drive down the driveway, drive down the street, onto another street, and shovel about 2′ of mud.

    No lie! We just had a plumber do just that!

  6. Amy J
    Amy J says:

    A trick I recently learned is to take a shop vac and put an old pantyhose on the end, stick it down the drain and turn it on. You can plug up the overflow holes on the sink to get even more suction. I luckily haven’t had a need to try it out yet to see if it works!

  7. Sandi Preuss
    Sandi Preuss says:

    OMGosh! You reminded me of the day my DD#2, dropped a plastic dealie bob between the 2 patio doors – in a snow storm! (don’t even ask) It wouldn’t open – it wouldn’t shut and the snow was STREAMING in! My DH went by on the highway and saw the door MISSING – I had taken the door apart to get out the thinga majig out, and hadn’t got it put back before he got home. The funny part was – he didn’t even know the doors would come apart like that, until I took them apart! Ha! Aren’t we just awesome? Good job! Sandi

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] mooning you while trying to fix your leaky sink. He just has a little more knowledge and experience at tightening slip nuts and p-traps (sorry, I didn’t mean to throw out the technical jargon.) However, when that […]

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