My nieces and nephew are visiting with me this week, and although there are 3 bathrooms in the house, they all want to use my bathroom, of course. Yesterday, the little one came running to me, eyes as wide as dinner plates, totally panic stricken. “Aunt Norma…” then the tears started gushing. I was finally able to decipher through her half words and gasps that she dropped my ring down the sink drain… and not just any ring… my fire opal, amethyst, and diamond birthday gift ring.

I could see she was bracing for my reaction. She must have thought I was crazy when instead of freaking out I started laughing and hugging her. “Don’t worry, baby, the ring isn’t lost, it’s in the P-trap!”

The trap under your sink – called a P-trap because of its shape – is there for two reasons: first and foremost, to prevent noxious sewer gasses from seeping into your home (the water creates a barrier) and secondly to catch objects that may fall down the drain (like my ring!). P-traps are made of metal or plastic, but whatever the material, the function is the same.

The Fix

Here’s how to rescue anything from your P-trap…

Important Note: if the water is running when the items drops, immediately turn it off, then get to removing the P-Trap!

The Tools

  • Tongue and groove pliers
  • Small container or bucket to collect water
  • Alcohol to disinfect (if applicable)

The How To

  • Get under the sink and examine the P-trap. Hand-loosen or use tongue and groove pliers to unscrew the nuts at each end of the loop of the trap, but don’t unscrew completely.
  • Get your bucket, or any container that will fit under the sink, and place under the trap.
  • Slide the trap out – any water in the sink will fall into the container.
  • Empty the contents of the P-trap into the bucket – it will be filled with really funky water and gunk. Retrieve anything that may have fallen down the drain – disinfect the item with alcohol.

P-trap fix

  • Wash out the P-trap (not in that sink – no drain, Silly). Screw the P-trap back in place. Keep the bucket under the trap. Pull up the pop-up or cover the drain. Fill the sink with water then let it all drain out at once. Check for leaks. If the P-trap is leaking, re-tighten your nuts – maybe you didn’t tighten them enough, or they didn’t catch the thread properly and went on crooked. Test again and ensure that the trap remains as dry as a bone.

Now that you have this fix under your belt and sink, have no fear of losing something down the drain, ever again!

Norma sig

Got A DIY Question? Ask-The-Expert!

If you have a DIY home repair, maintenance or improvement question for Norma, now is your chance to ask-the-expert and have her answer. Your burning question may just be the “star” of an upcoming Fix-It Friday column.

Add your question to the comments section below or email it to Women You Should Know.

Fix-It Friday is an exclusive Women You Should Know® editorial series authored by seasoned veteran of home improvement, Norma Vally, the former host of Discovery Home Channel’s series “Toolbelt Diva” and a show on Sirius Satellite Radio by the same name. The weekly column is designed to inspire women – weekend warriors, aspiring handywomen, and even seasoned DIYers – to take on home repairs and maintenance projects with confidence and gusto.