I’ve Dropped It Down the Drain! What Do I Do?


It’s the kind of thing we all think will never happen to us, yet one momentary lapse in concentration and we could all be dealing with it – dropping something important down the drain. Whether it’s a ring down the sink while washing up, or a mobile phone down a street drain, such a simple error can have far-reaching consequences.

So what can be done should such a disaster occur? Does it always require the assistance of professionals? The answer to both of those questions depends entirely on the circumstances. Rest assured, if you find yourself in a spot of bother, contact us at Express Drainage Solutions for more advice.

Nonetheless, here are a few tips to point you in the right direction…

Street Drains

If you’ve dropped your item down a public drain on the street, things get a little complicated.

We’ve all seen stories of people getting stuck trying to fish an iPhone out of the sewers, or experienced the desperation of watching a pound coin roll towards a grate and disappear.

As these drains are part of the public sewer system, and are therefore the responsibility of the local council/water authority, representatives from those bodies will be required in order to retrieve any lost possessions, and will ordinarily charge for the service.

Find out the water authority for your area »

Charges range in price depending on the council, and will no doubt be higher outside of working hours. Unfortunately, this type of work is not considered a priority.

Sink Plughole

Golden wedding ring falling into the water in the bubbles

Logic would suggest that anything dropped down a plughole would have to be pretty miniature in size, so is likely to be jewellery or small screws.

If the distance between the plughole and bottom of the u-bend is relatively short, you may be able to get away with dangling a fairly strong magnet down the pipe on a string.This is assuming your jewellery is magnetic, however – aluminium, gold and copper are not.

Should this not be applicable to your situation, then your only option is to take the pipework apart in order to retrieve your lost valuables. Although this is a reasonably straightforward process, there are a number of steps you will need to take in order to reduce the risk of damage occurring to your sink, or water spilling out over your kitchen floor.

  1. First of all, clear any items from underneath your sink to give yourself sufficient room.
  2. Turn off the water and lay towels or a bucket below the pipes. This is a crucial step, for obvious reasons!
  3. You can now start to dismantle the pipework. Find the u-bend (gravity would suggest that this is the most likely location of your lost item) and loosen the nuts that hold this in place. You may need pliers for this, but try not to be too forceful if your pipes are plastic.
  4. There will most likely be a charming collection of sludge in the pipe, so empty this into your bucket and dig through to find what you’re looking for (rubber gloves may be desirable at this point!).
  5. Reattach the u-bend, tighten the nuts and run the tap to check for any leaks.

If you’re not comfortable with resolving the problem yourself, or if your beloved treasure is too far out of reach, simply contact the experts at Express Drainage Solutions. Not only is it wise to remove the obstruction from the drains, but it’s also important to check that the item is not causing any issues – that’s where we can help. 


Helping customers across London and beyond with pressing drainage issues, the team at Express Drainage Solutions should be your first port of call for any emergencies. Using state-of-the-art CCTV cameras and drain unblocking techniques, we can have your drain up and running again in no time. Simply get in touch to discuss your issue. 

Want more information?Contact us today on 020 3124 1785

EDS unblocked and repaired over 20,000 drains last year for the residents and businesses of London.

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Category: Drainage


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