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Retrieving a toothbrush from the sink drain?
April 12, 2011 5:46 PM   Subscribe

How can I get a toothbrush out of my sink drain without taking apart the pipes? The bottom end of the toothbrush is about 5 - 6 inches below the sink. I tried using 2 butter knives: Fail. Any common household items that could be used? Something available at Home Depot?
posted by Bushmiller to Home & Garden (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Med-large crochet hook?
posted by spinifex23 at 5:47 PM on April 12, 2011


How about some ice tongs? Skinny ones, obviously!
posted by hansbrough at 5:47 PM on April 12, 2011


Why? You're not going to re-use it, I trust.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:48 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some stick-like thing with some gum on the end of it? I have used this successfully a couple of times to get things out of drains/cracks they had fallen into. Not sure if the gum would be strong enough for something that heavy, though.
posted by thebrokedown at 5:49 PM on April 12, 2011


You should be able to buy something like this at Home Depot. It's something everyone should have around the house anyway.

However, I would try a few things at home first. Just be careful not to push it further down into the trap.

Speaking of the trap, can you remove the trap train (plug at the lowest point in the trap) and stick a coat hanger up it to push the toothbrush from the bottom?

Other ideas: Duct tape wrapped around a coat hanger so that the sticky side is facing out.

Chopsticks

A meat fork.
posted by bondcliff at 5:51 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can you unscrew the U-bend and use something skinny to make it fall out the bottom?
posted by janepanic at 5:51 PM on April 12, 2011


Unwind a coathanger and dig at it.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:54 PM on April 12, 2011


Here's what I would do: get two long, skinny poles, like chopsticks, and dangle a 5" line of duct tape (cut in half lengthwise, I think). Drop chopstick with duct tape into pipe, sticky side toward toothbrush. Using second chopstick, carefully press duct tape against toothbrush and *extremely carefully* try to lift the whole thing out.

This kind of thing is why I hide my personal roll of duct tape from my family.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:54 PM on April 12, 2011


Vacuum cleaner nozzle? It might get stuck in the vacuum cleaner, but it should be easier to get it out of that.
posted by needs more cowbell at 5:56 PM on April 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'd have a look for a screw grabber. The one I'm linking to is probably too small, but certainly I've seen larger ones.
posted by pompomtom at 5:58 PM on April 12, 2011


I would buy the thing bondcliff linked to. Sooner or later you'll need that for something else. Good to keep in the toolbox.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 5:59 PM on April 12, 2011


(or: what bondcliff said!)
posted by pompomtom at 5:59 PM on April 12, 2011


Is it head first or tail first down? How well do you know its shape? Get a length of coat hanger or similar stiff wire, make a small hook at the end that would fit around a narrow part of the brush but not a thicker part. Bend the hook out horizontal and fish it down around the narrow part and lift.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:01 PM on April 12, 2011


1.) A Chopstick (or similar), 2.) freshly-applied bead of super-glue on one side of the tip, 3.) a steady hand, and 4.) the patience to hold absolutely still for 60 seconds.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 6:03 PM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


a small stick or dowel with a drop of superglue on the end.
posted by tomswift at 6:03 PM on April 12, 2011


Or thread a piece of string through a straw so that the ends of the string come out one end and there's a loop left at the other end. Get the loop down and around the toothbrush, pull the ends of the string to tighten the loop and pull.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:03 PM on April 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Those 4-claw pickup tools are absolutely indispensable. Every home should have one! Go get one now at your nearest hardware store and you'll be pulling all kinds of weird/disgusting stuff out of all kinds of weird/disgusting places. Oh, the stories I could tell ...
posted by Quietgal at 6:22 PM on April 12, 2011


Straighten a coathanger, then bend the end to make a small loop or circle that will easily fit down the drain next to toothbrush so that the little loop is below the toothbrush...place loop underneath the toothbrush, pull up. Easier than trying to grab and hold toothbrush whilst pulling it up.
posted by newpotato at 6:23 PM on April 12, 2011


While you're at the hardware store, get some long (6 inches, whatever they have) tweezers, and a dental mirror. The mirror can help you see wacky small spaces at an angle. Then check out the small magnets with holes in the middle through which you loop string or wire.

Your small-object pick-up needs will be met! And all but the 4-claw thing are usually at the checkout counter.
posted by jgirl at 6:35 PM on April 12, 2011


Seconding vacuum cleaner. I dropped a bottle of eye drops down the drain and the vacuum got it up in no time. If you have a shop vac, use that.
posted by 47triple2 at 6:35 PM on April 12, 2011


Vacuum cleaner nozzle? It might get stuck in the vacuum cleaner, but it should be easier to get it out of that. - posted by needs more cowbell

Vacuum did it! In like 3 seconds! Thanks so much, needs more cowbell!

And thanks to the rest of my fellow MeFites for your fantastic suggestions. I'm going to get one of those 4-claw tools, as recommended by bondcliff. Seems like a good thing to have.

I love Metafilter!
posted by Bushmiller at 6:43 PM on April 12, 2011


Maybe it's just me but it seems like all of these solutions will take much more time and energy than just unscrewing the pipe. Why are you opposed to taking the pipe off? It takes like 10 seconds.
posted by buckaroo_benzai at 6:45 PM on April 12, 2011


On most sinks that means you're removing the trap. The trap is full of water, and it nearly always makes a mess when you remove it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:53 PM on April 12, 2011


The string through the straw is a fantastic idea. I was imagining something more like the end of a fishing pole with a loop (like you might see on those reptile shows where they grab the snake with a loop at the end of a pole).
posted by bz at 7:04 PM on April 12, 2011


A nice wad of Silly Putty and a Pencil
posted by cinemafiend at 7:46 PM on April 12, 2011


Vacuum cleaner nozzle? It might get stuck in the vacuum cleaner, but it should be easier to get it out of that.
Get a coffee sieve and a rubber band, and you'll be away laughing.
posted by doublehappy at 9:56 PM on April 12, 2011


Actually, the rubber band works with my vacuum cleaner because it has a weird appendage in a useful spot. Scotch-/Sello-/Whatever- tape would be a better option.
posted by doublehappy at 9:59 PM on April 12, 2011


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