Making Construction Easier

Retrieve That Ring You've Dropped Down The Drain

You took your wedding ring off to wash your hands in the bathroom sink. Your sleeve catches the ring and knocks it into the sink and before you can stop it, down the drain it goes. There's no need to panic because you can get your ring out of the drain with a few minutes of plumbing work. Here are the steps to get your ring back before anyone has to know what happened.

Looking Under the Sink

Open the cabinet and look under the sink. You'll see a plastic drain pipe coming down from the bottom of the sink, a curved piece of drain pipe that looks like the letter "P", and a straight piece of pipe going out of the cabinet. Collectively, this is called the P-trap. It is shaped like this so the bend will hold a bit of water to prevent annoying gases from coming up out of the drain. Your ring is likely sitting at the bottom of the bend.

With a few simple tools, in a few minutes, you'll have the plumbing taken apart and your ring on your finger. If you have any reservations about doing this yourself, don't touch the sink or run the water and have a plumber come out to do the work. If you run the water, you risk forcing your ring down further into the drain than the plumber can reach.

Disconnecting the P-Trap

You'll need a bucket and some rags to do this project.

  1. Place the bucket under the P-trap.
  2. Find the large plastic nut on the top of the piece of pipe with the bend and unscrew it counterclockwise as if you were looking down at the part. It is only hand tight so you can loosen and unscrew it with your hands.
  3. After unscrewing it, just let the plastic nut rest where it is.
  4. Find the large plastic nut at the other end of the curved section of pipe.
  5. Unscrew this counterclockwise while holding onto the curved section.
  6. Now that the curved section of pipe is disconnected from the other two pieces of pipe, slowly wiggle it loose from those pipes.
  7. Dump the water out of this pipe into the bucket and look for your ring.
  8. If the ring doesn't fall out, it may be stuck against a clog in the pipe. Inspect the pipe for any blockage and your ring.

Once you've retrieved your ring, this is a good time to clean out the P-trap.

  1. Take the piece of pipe to another sink and rinse it out well.
  2. Use a little chlorine bleach or ammonia and water to dissolve any debris stuck to the sides of the pipe.
  3. Once it's clean, go back to your bathroom sink to reinstall it.

Reassembling the P-Trap

  1. Look at each of the pipes under the sink where you disconnected the P-trap. At the end of each pipe, under the large plastic nut will be a nylon washer. Push this almost to the end of each pipe.
  2. Attach the curved piece of pipe to the horizontal piece of pipe and push it against the nylon washer.
  3. Slide the large nut down and screw it clockwise onto the curved pipe. Tighten the nut until just snug.
  4. Slide the curved piece of pipe onto the straight piece of pipe that goes up into the sink. Push it up against the nylon washer.
  5. Tighten the large plastic nut clockwise until just snug.
  6. Now tighten both large plastic nuts another quarter of a turn to make sure you have a good seal against the nylon washers.
  7. Turn the water on and look for any leaks. If you find any, take the P-trap apart again and wipe off the ends of each pipe carefully to remove any dirt or grease that may be preventing a good seal.

If you have metal plumbing instead of plastic, it may be rusty or corroded and difficult to remove. Call on a plumber such as Ziegler Plumbing & Sewer, INC. to take apart the P-trap, retrieve your ring, and replace the metal with plastic parts. Plastic is the current standard for drain pipes and they will be easier to work with if any maintenance is required in the future.