How to Retrieve Your Wedding Ring From the Sink Drain

by Michael Franco
Golden wedding ring falling into the water in the bubbles

Down-the-Drain Ring Retrieval at a Glance

  • Step 1: Turn off water
  • Step 2: Grab bucket
  • Step 3: Remove pipe
  • Step 4: Put it back together
  • Step 5: Clean it up

Nooo! That sinking feeling when something precious makes a slow lazy roll around the sink basin and straight down the middle. Something precious, indeed — like, say, your wedding ring. Don’t panic. You can probably execute the rescue (of both the ring and possibly your marriage) all on your own.

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Read on for a step-by-step guide to getting that ring outta the drain and back on your finger.

Faucet   nd washstand in different perspective ----------------------------------------

1. Turn Off the Water

If the water is running when your ring tries to make an escape like a runaway bride, turn off the faucet immediately. This will prevent the ring from flowing farther into the pipes. Take a deep breath.

2. Grab a Bucket

Now go get a bucket or other receptacle that can catch water. You might want to get an old towel or some paper towels or newspaper to soak up any spillage that might occur, as well as some rubber gloves. Look under the sink and you’ll see a pipe called the P-trap. It looks like a sideways letter P, while the part of it that looks like the letter J is called the J-bend. Both kitchen and bathroom sinks have this type of pipe. Place your bucket under the P-trap and get ready for step three.

pipes under sink -------------------------------------------

3. Remove the Pipe

Depending on the type and age of your P-trap, there are different ways of removing it. If your pipe has an access plug or drain plug, simply pull it out. Water sitting in the pipe will pour out — and, ideally, with your ring along with it.

If your pipe doesn’t have an access plug, it may have a pipe connector. Some pipes will have a pipe connector at both ends, some only at one end. Either way, you need to unscrew the pipe connectors and pull down. Again, water will drain out and, with it, your ring. You may be able to unscrew the slip nuts, fasteners or other connector with your hands, but you might need a wrench. Once the fasteners are off, hold the J-bend in your hand, as it’ll fall off.

4. Put It Back Together

Getting the sink back in working order is as quick as taking it apart. If your P-trap has the access or drain plug, simply put it back in. If your pipe has the connectors, you’ll need to reattach the P-trap. Screw them back in again, turning in the opposite direction in which you removed them. Make sure they’re tight. Before removing the bucket or calling out “Job done!” test your pipe. Turn on the water and make sure there are no leaks. If water is dripping out, retighten the screws and test again. To be extra sure no future leakage will occur, fill the sink with water and let it drain.

No Ring?

If, for some reason, your ring doesn’t flow out with the water when you remove the P-trap, it might not have reached the J-bend. Before you reattach the pipe, take a wire coat hanger or other long, thin item. Push it down from the drain from the sink basin and the ring should come out.

If you still can’t find it, the ring may have gone further into the pipes and it would be best to call a plumber at this point. They’ll be able to navigate your particular pipes and ensure everything is put back together properly. Don’t worry that it’s a silly reason to call, as plumbers are used to retrieving a variety of items that get stuck in pipes.

5. Final Clean

This is when those rubber gloves come in. When the water drains out of the P-trap, you may notice it’s a bit dirty. You may also be greeted by some toothpaste, soap, hair and other gunk, along with your ring. Use this opportunity to give your pipe a nice clean. Wash it with a disinfecting soap and hot water before replacing it.

You’ll probably also want to sanitize your ring — but, in any case, congratulations! You performed the ring rescue on your own and remain happily married.

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