How to Retrieve an Item Dropped Down the Drain

Retrieve an Item Dropped Down the Drain: Don’t panic! If you want to know how to retrieve an item dropped down the drain, we have the tips and instructions that will wake you up from this nightmare!

It’s never a good feeling when you hear that dreaded clink as you watch your beloved wedding ring — or anything of sentimental or monetary value — slide down the sink drain.

Spare yourself the heart attack. Recovering that lost earring, bracelet, or ring doesn’t always require the help of a plumber. Next time you lose something down the drain, just follow these simple steps!

First Things First: Turn Off the Water

When you first notice you’ve lost something in the sink, immediately shut off the faucet. Keeping the water running may make the item harder to find. You should also turn off the water supply by turning the shutoff valve on the fixture clockwise.

Next: Try the Magnet Method

This is a clever way to retrieve an item dropped down the drain. If you happen to have a strong magnet nearby, tie it to a string and attempt to catch your lost jewelry. Some items may not be magnetized, but it’s always worth a try before getting your hands dirty.

Also, there are tools you can purchase that have magnets attached to the end of them. Mechanics use them all the time to retrieve screws that fall into unreachable places by hand.

Magnetized pickup tools to retrieve unreachable or lost items
You can find a magnetized pickup tool like the above in various sizes. Get a telescoping model that is long enough to reach from the drain entry to the bottom of the P trap.

Retrieve an Item Dropped Down the Drain

Watch our Retrieve a Lost Ring Down Your Drain video here or on YouTube. This method is the safest bet for retrieving your ring or other item and it’s pretty darn easy too. Just remove the P-trap.

More than likely, the item you are trying to retrieve is in the P-trap. The P-trap is the funky, U-shaped valve (or a sideways P shape) underneath your sink basin. If it’s accessible, use a set of large Channellock adjustable pliers or a wrench and loosen the two slip nuts on either end of the P-trap.

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Also, it’s best to have a bucket underneath the trap to catch any excess water, gunk, and hair that could be in there (gloves are always a good idea!). Hopefully, your jewelry will fall out among the filth so be sure to sift through the yucky stuff.

how to retrieve lost item down the drain - use channellock pliers
Use a channel lock adjustable plier on the P trap to help you find your lost item. Remember to turn off the water first!

Other Options to Retrieve an Item Dropped Down the Drain

Here are a couple more options on how to retrieve an item dropped down the drain.

  1. Similar to the telescoping magnet but with four prongs instead. These four-pronged tools are easily found at most hardware stores and work wonders when it comes to locating and retrieving any small, valuable item. For extra help when retrieving an item dropped down the drain, have someone shine a flashlight down the drain while you go fishing.
  2. To prevent future mishaps and nightmares, consider installing a drain guard on your sink drains.
Pick up tool with 4 prongs - how to retrieve an item lost down the drain
Consider purchasing a pick-up tool with four prongs. If it’s long enough to reach your lost item, you’ll be able to retrieve it easily.


Losing a precious item down a drain is no fun. Scary at first. More so, the first thought is that it’s gone forever. Fret not. Most times, that’s not true.

Just stay calm, you’ve just learned how to retrieve an item dropped down the drain. Additionally, you know that your first step is to simply turn off the water. After that, just follow the above options and instructions.

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