How To Retrieve An Item Dropped Down A Sink Drain With Infographic
Many of us have experienced that sinking feeling when you lose something down your sink drain. Whether it’s an earring, a ring, or even something as small as a button, there is an indescribable feeling linked to the drain: a place where things go but never return.
Or so you might think. Retrieving something from a sink drain is easier than you’d expect.
All you need is patience, and the determination to retrieve the thing you lost.
The job itself doesn’t take more than 15 minutes and most likely you will only have to take the P-trap apart. Occasionally it will be necessary to remove the pop-up drain pivot rod as well. Here is how you can retrieve an item dropped down a sink drain.
The first thing you’re going to do is to turn off the water if it is on when the item disappears. This will minimize the possibility that the item you have lost ends up being flushed away completely into the main sewer line. The lost item has most likely fallen into the J-bend which is the lowest curved pipe in the p-trap below the sink. These pipes are called as such because of the resemblance they share with the alphabet letters.
Before you start taking anything apart, place a bucket underneath the J-bend. The P-trap acts as a water sealant to prevent any sewer gasses from escaping into your sink. The J-bend holds a cup or so of water in it, so without the bucket you make a bit of a mess. If necessary use an old towel that you don’t mind messing up.
You will find a slip nut around the J-bend. Unscrew this to take apart the pipe. If the pipes are plastic then you won’t need any tools to do this as it comes off quite easily. Just use your hands! If the pipes are metal then a pair of channel locks may be necessary.
As soon as you have loosened the slip nut, you will find that there is a nylon washer resting underneath it. Leave it as is and let the slip nut rest on the washer.
Proceed in unscrewing the slip nut on the other side of the J-bend exactly the same way as in step 3.
Slide the slip nuts up to the horizontal side of the P-trap so that it is out of the way. You will see that the J-bend is now loose and ready to be removed. Execute step slowly so that you don’t cause any damage to your pipes. You may need to wiggle it loose depending if there is any dirt buildup.
As you remove the J-trap you will most likely find your lost item inside.
Now all that is left to do is for you to reassemble the J-trap in exactly the same way as you took it apart. Be careful to not over tighten the slip nuts. If the pipes are plastic, then hand tight is sufficient. Also, make sure to clean your pipes before you assemble them. You may find that there are bits and pieces of hair or debris stuck inside, and it is best to remove them to prevent further blockages in the future.
Finally, run the water and do a visual inspection to make sure there aren’t any leaks coming from the drain pipes.