Whoops! What to Do When You’ve Dropped Jewelry Down the Drain

Woman stressed about dropping jewelry down the drain

Plumbers get called for all sorts of plumbing emergencies, from an overflowing toilet to a ruptured pipe. But there’s nothing quite like the crisis that results when an item of jewelry gets dropped down a drain.  It’s a helpless feeling when a cherished and probably expensive keepsake takes an unfortunate bounce and disappears down the drain.

What Not To Do

First, resist the urge to freak out. Your household plumbing isn’t a black hole that swallows matter and conveys it into another dimension. Items that go down the drain often don’t go very far and can usually be retrieved—if not by a simple DIY procedure then by a plumbing professional.

Second, don’t make things worse. Running water into the sink, for example, won’t help. Jewelry doesn’t float. In fact, running water only increases the odds that the valuable object is washed even further down the drain pipe, greatly complicating the chances of retrieval.

What To Do First

Jewelry that falls down a kitchen or sink drain is often caught by a “trap” directly beneath the sink. This U-shaped segment in the drain pipe is perfectly designed to catch small hard objects that don’t belong in the drain pipe. If you’re a little bit handy, you can remove the trap and fish out the fallen object yourself:

  • Place a pan beneath the drain trap under the sink.
  • Unscrew the big slip nuts that secure the trap segment. Often they can be loosened by hand; if not, use a pair of slip-joint pliers.
  • Rotate the trap and wiggle it, pulling downward, away from the drain pipe that leads up into the sink.
  • When the trap’s removed dump out the contents—it may include more than your lost jewelry, including gross clots of hair, food particles and sludge.
  • Replace the trap in reverse order and hand-tighten the slip nuts.
  • Run water into the sink and check for leaks.

What Now?

If the lost item isn’t in the trap or you don’t feel qualified to remove it, contact a plumber. Any experienced plumber has retrieved all sorts of stuff from drains and is familiar with the procedure.

Loose items of jewelry and other small valuables are an accident waiting to happen when placed near an open drain. Avoid disaster by keeping them a safe distance from the sink. If an “ooops” moment occurs anyway, give us a call. Professional plumbing services are here to help.

If you found this blog helpful, you may want to check out our post “3 Signs Your Water Heater Needs Maintenance.”

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!

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