The average residential bathroom encompasses about 40 square feet of floor space. The toilet occupies only about four square feet. So what are the odds that jewelry dropped in the bathroom would wind up going down the toilet? Actually, it happens all the time. An open toilet bowl seems to exert a gravitational force of its own, defying the laws of nature and drawing in all sorts of valuables that disappear with a distressing splash. Now what?
Remain calm and think before you act and you’ll probably get that lost item back again. Here’s what to do if jewelry or other precious items go into the toilet:
Don’t Flush the Toilet!
This ought to be a no-brainer, but people sometimes panic and take irrational actions that only make things worse.
Can You Still See the Item?
Many valuables including watches and others may actually be buoyant enough to remain afloat in the bowl, for a while at least. Others may sink to the bottom of the bowl, yet still remain visible and within reach. You may be able fish these out yourself with a coat hanger.
Get Professional Help
Toilet design incorporates a trap within the internal structure which generally keeps hard, solid objects like jewelry that get past the bowl from passing all the way down into the sewer pipe (as long as you don’t flush the toilet, that is.) While a skilled, determined do-it-yourselfer may be able to handle this task with assistance, the services of a qualified plumber are usually recommended.
This is what’s involved:
- Shut off water to the toilet and disconnect water supply line.
- Remove all water from the tank and bowl.
- Loosen the fasteners securing the toilet to the floor.
- Lift the toilet up off the floor. They’re surprisingly heavy—especially the older ones—so this is usually a two-person job.
- Invert the toilet and shake it to dislodge the lost item from the trap.
- Reinstall the toilet, including a new wax seal to ensure that the unit doesn’t leak around the floor.
- Connect water supply line, check for leakage and verify proper toilet operation.
An experienced plumber has “been there and done that” many times to retrieve valuables of all sorts from toilets. For qualified help to rescue dropped jewelry and other items that end up in the bowl, contact us now.
If you found this blog helpful, you may want to check out our post “Whoops! What to Do When You’ve Dropped Jewelry Down the Drain.”
North County Plumbing is located in Vista, California and has been in the service business since 1970 providing quality plumbing services including leak detection and drain service in northern San Diego County. Our qualified technicians are available 24 hours a day to help with emergency plumbing repair services…with no overtime charges!