There is a certain kind of “uh oh” that happens when something gets flushed down the toilet. Toddlers may say those syllables with an air of surprise as they watch their toy car swirl round and round. Adults, on the other hand, may upgrade that “uh oh” to something a little bit stronger. The point is, that whether you have dropped your wedding ring down the toilet or your child has been taking her dolls ‘swimming’ in it, suddenly you have a big UH OH on your hands.
Flushing materials down the toilet that aren’t meant to be can create large problems. Thankfully, oftentimes that item can be retrieved and some major plumbing issues can be avoided. First things first, you will need to gather materials.
Now that you have everything you need assembled, it is time to get to work.
Turn off the water to the toilet by twisting the valve that is located behind the toilet.
Put on the rubber gloves and attempt to use you hands to fish out the object. If it was caught in the trap (that area where the pipe curves) you should hopefully be able to grab it.
If that doesn’t work, the next tool in the line up is a plunger. Use a plunger to try and dislodge the object and bring it closer to the visible bowl of the toilet. Once you see it, grab it! Professionals suggest running the plunger under hot water first to loosen the rubber and create better suction.
If you still haven’t had any luck after using the plunger, it is time to try a drain snake, or closet auger. While these tools can be found at most hardware stores, it is important to choose the correct one. The snakes with a hook or circle at the bottom are meant to help retrieve items rather than just to break up a clog. If you do not have a drain snake at home and can’t get out to the store right away, a wire hanger can also sometimes be used as a substitute.
If your object is still in the murky toilet depths, it is now time to pull out the big guns–the shop vac or wet/dry vacuum. After using the vacuum to suck out the water in the toilet bowl, stick the nozzle down the drain and use rags around it on order to create a seal. Then, turn the vacuum on. When you hear or see an object come up through the hose, turn off the vacuum.
The next step would be to remove the toilet in order to find your lost object. While this can be a DIY project, a licensed plumber will be able to efficiently accomplish this and make sure that the toilet is re-installed correctly.