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How To Retrieve Something Dropped Down A Sink Drain Trap
How to get out a jewelry item that fell in to a sink drain trap such as a ring or earring & also clean a clogged pipe.

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1960's Bathroom Sink
U-Bend Drain Pipe Trap
Turn Off Water Valves
Many of us have experienced that awful feeling of dropping something important down a sink drain such as a ring, earring or any other piece of jewelry.

But luckily almost all sink drains are required by plumbing code to be equipped with a "trap" known as a P-trap or U-bend, which is a curved pipe that prevents sewer gas from passing back in to the building.

The trap also collects heavy things at the bottom of the pipe such as jewelry that is accidentally dropped in the drain.

This DIY plumbing guide will show you how to disassemble the drain trap pipe and retrieve your "precious" item.

The instructions would also be useful if your drain isn't working properly and you need to unclog a pipe full of hair or debris.

No tools are required to complete this procedure.

You might need slip joint pliers to loosen the plastic slip nuts if they are very tight or the trap has old corroded metal slip nuts.

Turn Off Hot Water - Clockwise
White Plastic Slip Nut
Loosen - Turn Counter Clockwise
The first two steps are to turn off both the hot water and cold water supply valves. This will prevent you from accidentally turning on the faucet and flushing your item out of the trap and in to the sewer system.

Close the valves by turning them clockwise until they stop.

Then locate the drain trap pipe below the sink which might be shaped like a "U", "J" or "P".

This curved piece of PVC pipe will have two large plastic or metal "slip joint" nuts holding it in place.

Place a small bucket or towel below the sink to catch any water that may spill out.

Loosen the nut closest to the wall by turning it counter clockwise.

Place Towel On Ground
Drain Slip Nut Removed
Loosen 2nd Slip Nut
Loosen the slip nut that connects the trap to the sink drain pipe by turning it counter clockwise.
Rotate U-Bend Trap
Pull Out Hair Clog
Drain Trap Pipe Removed
Turn the trap to allow some of the water to escape.

If you see a clump of hair or any other clog, pull it out of the trap.


Plastic Toiletry Cap
Face Lotion Cap Removed
Clean Out "J" Pipe Trap
Carefully remove the trap pipe from underneath the sink.

Either pull out your lost item with your fingers or pour the contents of the trap in to a bucket.

Be sure to clean any jewelry that you may have dropped in to the drain with soapy hot water before wearing it again.

The item that I needed to retrieve from our bathroom sink drain was just a plastic cap for a fancy face lotion cream.

Flush out any other debris or gunk from the trap by flushing it with hot water.

You may need to use a wire brush to scrub off greasy deposits on the inside of the trap that could build up and cause the drain to become clogged.

Line Up Drain Trap Pipe
Spin On 1st Slip Nut
Tighten Both Slip Nuts
Line up the trap with the other pipes and spin on the slip nuts by hand.

Tighten the nuts by turning them clockwise to just past hand tight.

Turn On Hot Water Valve
Cold Water - Counter Clockwise
Turn On Faucet - Test For Leaks
Turn on the hot and cold water valves by turning them counter clockwise until they stop. Be sure to open the valves all the way to fully seat the rubber washer inside and prevent the valves from leaking.

Turn on the water faucet and let it run for a minute to check for leaks. If the drain trap pipe has a water leak, tighten the two slip nuts a bit more.

For more, check out my Home Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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