How to Retrieve a Wedding Ring Down the Drain

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In 2007, CSI star Jennifer Garner lost her wedding ring down the drain. According to her interview on Live with Regis and Kelly, her insurance could have paid for the ring that her husband Ben Affleck gave her (a $5,000 ring usually costs around $60 to insure against such risks), but she decided to hire a professional to get it back. Certainly, plumbers called out to retrieve rings worth thousands of dollars charge a little more than they do for regular calls. Such expertise isn’t a luxury meant for the rich and famous alone, however. It’s for everyone.

What’s the worst that can happen with a DIY attempt?

Attempting to retrieve jewelry from the depths of a drain isn’t just an unpleasant task, it’s a plan that often goes wrong. People tend to try all kinds of ingenious tricks to do the job themselves, and end up with problems far more serious that they start out with.

  • It’s important to never put one’s arm down a garbage disposal.
  • It’s never a good idea to fashion a retrieval tool out of hangers straightened out and twisted together (because they can come off once they are deep inside).
  • It isn’t a good idea to send water at high pressure down a drain.
  • Using the wrong tools (such as a drain snake in a toilet) isn’t sensible. It can cause serious damage.

There’s a lot that can go wrong. Nevertheless, there are a few things that you can try.


Look in the trap

If you’ve lost your ring down a kitchen or bathroom sink, it’s likely that it’s trapped in the P-trap, J-trap or bottle trap, each a mechanical design meant both to trap heavy objects passing though, and to keep sewer gas from rising up. If you are handy with basic DIY plumbing, it doesn’t take much effort or skill to unscrew the trap and look inside to see if you can find the jewelry that you’ve lost.

If it’s a shower drain

Shower drains have traps, as well. They tend to be placed right at the drain opening, however. You may be able to see your jewelry, as a reason. If it’s washed further down the drain line, however, you will need to find a quality snake or rooter at a home improvement store. It’s never a good idea to use items that are not meant for drain probing.

Be careful when you’re in the bathroom

Rings can expand ever so slightly when exposed to warm water. The expansion is one reason why these items are often lost in bathrooms. It’s important to take off the ring if you can, before you enter the bathroom (you shouldn’t do this if it’s anywhere other than your own home, however). At the very least, you should make sure to carry a rubber band with you at all times. You can slip it on the ring each time you before you enter the bathroom.