Dropped Something Down the Drain? Here’s What to Do Next

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Oops you’ve just dropped something in the drain. It’s a common occurrence but we never expect it to happen to us.

After the initial panic sets in it’s time to plan what to do next. In many cases you will be able to get your treasured item back easier than you thought. It first of all depends on where you’ve dropped it.

Drains in the street

The most common things dropped down street drains are mobiles and car keys, pretty important items you can’t simply walk away from.

As it’s a public drain, the situation is a little trickier. Your instinct will probably be to try and squeeze your arm through the bars but far too many people get stuck in this way and the whole thing becomes embarrassing as well as inconvenient.

Your best move is to phone the local council or water authority in your area to tell them about the problem as that’s who the drains will belong to. They will have to come out and help you to retrieve lost items but they’ll usually charge you for it. As your missing phone isn’t at the top of their priority list, you may also have to wait a while.

Sink plughole

It’s an easy mistake to make, you take off some jewellery in front of the bathroom mirror and the thing ends up rolling down the drain before you know it.

You may be able to use a magnet if the distance between the plughole and the bottom of the u-bend is short. You can do this by dangling a small magnet on a string to try and catch the item, but only if the item is magnetic.

This might work but most of the time you’ll have to take the pipe work apart to find it. Luckily it’s easier than it sounds. Just follow these steps:

  1. Turn your water off

This step is essential as you don’t want the item to be washed away. As soon as you drop it, turn the water off.

  1. Get a bucket

Before taking the drain apart place a bucket beneath to catch excess water still in the pipe. This could also be used to catch the lost item if it falls out.

  1. Dismantle the pipe

Your lost item will most likely be in the pipe’s U-bend so start by loosening the nuts holding this in place. You may need some tools like pliers but be careful not to damage the pipes.

Once it’s free you’ll find a lot of sludge in the pipe that you can tip into the bucket. Now’s the time to begin your search (get some rubber gloves).

  1. Put the drain back together

Now is time to put everything back where it should be. A word of warning, keep a track of how you’re taking the drain apart so you remember how to put it back together again. Make sure you tighten the nuts and check for any leaks when you run the tap.