This project explains how to take apart the drain P-trap to recover an item accidentally dropped down the sink drain, such a piece of jewelry.
How to Retrieve an Item Dropped Down the Sink Drain
Small and sometimes expensive items are easily washed down the sink drain. Metallic items like jewelry will sink and can usually be retrieved from the plumbing drain trap under the sink. Be sure to turn off the water immediately to minimize any chance of the item getting flushed into the main sewer line. Taking apart the P-trap to recover a lost item is simple and can often be done without tools. This job took less than 15 minutes when my daughter lost an earring in the bathroom sink.
The steps shown here also apply to unclogging a sink.
Bathroom Sink Plumbing: P-Trap and J-Bend
A lost item will normally sink to the bottom of the J-bend in the P-trap. The purpose of the the P-trap is to maintain a water seal to prevent sewer gases from wafting out of the sink drain. It’s called a P-trap because it looks like the letter P.
Take Apart the J-Bend
Place a bucket under the J-Bend to catch the water.
Unscrew the slip nut at the J-Bend. Remember, lefty-loosey righty-tighty. No tools are required.
A nylon washer is under the slip nut. Let the slip nut rest loosely when fully unscrewed.
Unscrew the slip nut at the other side of the J-Bend.
Slide the slip nut up and out of the way on to the horizontal section of the P-trap as shown. I’m supporting the J-Bend with my hand here as it’s ready to drop down.
Well – what do you know? The earring didn’t sink to the bottom of the sink trap because it got tangled in a bunch of hair first (yuck!).
Lost earring retrieved from the sink drain.
This repair is continued in How to Retrieve an Item Dropped Down the Sink Drain -Part 2.
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