Is it gone forever?
January 16, 2011 6:17 PM   Subscribe

I dropped my roommmate's necklace in the toilet... now what?

I used a cup and got most of the water out of the bowl, so there's only some in the bottom part above the actual drain for the toilet...

We've made sure the water to the toilet is off, and no one has flushed the toilet since I dropped it in (luckily there was nothing gross in the bowl when I dropped it!).

We have tried tweezers, wire bent into a hook, a magnet on some wire, and no luck. Sometimes we can see the necklace glinting at us, but we don't know how to get it out!

I feel terrible-- it's something her boyfriend bought her and I would really like to get it out of the toilet so I'm not a terrible roommate.

How do we get this out?
posted by lockstitch to Home & Garden (22 answers total)
reach in and pluck it out? If you can see it "glinting" at you why can't you grab it?
posted by FlamingBore at 6:20 PM on January 16, 2011 [4 favorites]

Plummer. Unless you're prepared to start taking pipes apart.
posted by allthewhile at 6:20 PM on January 16, 2011

Just put some rubber gloves on, fish around with your hand, and pull it out. Wash your hand with disinfectant after. You'll be fine.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:20 PM on January 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Assuming you are passably handy and the toilet was installed reasonably properly you make sure the tank is empty, undo the water inlet, undo the bolts on either side of the toilet holding it to the floor, and take it off of it's wax ring.

You will have to replace the wax ring but it's a straight forward job for those who are reasonably handy or an hour long job for a plumber.
posted by iamabot at 6:20 PM on January 16, 2011

We've tried to grab it, but the actual drain for the toilet is about the size of a penny, so our fingers don't fit too well. When we try to use tweezers, we can't really be accurate since visibility into the drain is zero.

aeschenkarnos, We've been mucking around with our hands in the toilet for a while now. Being grossed out is not the problem. The problem is that we are physically unable to get to the necklace.

And imabot, we're both college students and not passably handy. We're hoping not to call a plumber since budgets are small...
posted by lockstitch at 6:24 PM on January 16, 2011

Do you have a set of sockets? shut off the water at the wall, take off the tank, pop the caps on the floor-mount bolts, and break that puppy loose.

There HAS to be an engineering student that can figure this out.
posted by notsnot at 6:28 PM on January 16, 2011

I'm trying to visualize this... is it the angle that is the problem? Could you potentially take the piece of wire and fold it in half and then bend it so that it's a bent pair of tweezers?
posted by geegollygosh at 6:29 PM on January 16, 2011

Wet dry vac?? can you ask around for one.
posted by beccaj at 6:34 PM on January 16, 2011

I'm guessing that the water left would make it a bad idea to use, like, a canister vac... but maybe a plunger to try to draw it up out of the drain? (Although I guess you risk shifting it lower...)
posted by Stormfeather at 6:35 PM on January 16, 2011

What it sounds like you need is a plumber's grabbing tool. It looks like a bit of cable, but with a sprung push-lever like a syringe that opens and closes grabbing "fingers" on the end. A local hardware shop might have one.

When my dad had a hip replacement his surgeon gave him one to use to pick up things from the floor, and it can honestly pick up anything from a pencil to shoes to hardback books---they're brilliant things.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:36 PM on January 16, 2011 [4 favorites]

I'm not sure what drain it's gone down but if you put an elastic band between the tines of the tweezer and around the palm of your hand, that'll keep it from getting lost down the drain as well. Then you can dig into the hole deeper and just keep trying to grab it. Are you sure it didn't go down the bigger hole and you're just seeing something else glinting in the penny sized hole you're talking about?
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:43 PM on January 16, 2011

Would a metal hanger (possibly opened) bent into the shape of a hook help?
posted by gadha at 6:44 PM on January 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

Fiasco da Gama has it: a plumber's grabbing tool will almost certainly do it.
posted by brianogilvie at 6:47 PM on January 16, 2011

Are you in a dorm room? If so, you should call the building maintenance and politely ask for some help...this will be no problem for them. A tip would be nice for this sort of thing.
posted by zephyr_words at 6:50 PM on January 16, 2011

nth'ing the grabbing tool. It has saved me many times in many situations where hands can't get to
posted by FlyByDay at 7:00 PM on January 16, 2011

Do you have a pair of needle nose pliers? If not, if you know anyone who is into jewelry-making/other crafts, they may have a pair.
posted by prenominal at 7:22 PM on January 16, 2011

I'm perplexed: any flushing toilet will have a hole much larger than a penny, and the hole doesn't just go down - it typically curves and bends up again. Perhaps this is actually a water inlet, not an outflow, that assists in the flushing action? Any chance you can post a photo to clarify things?
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:27 PM on January 16, 2011

Someone already said it, but my first thought was a vacuum as well. A shop vac might do it.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 7:35 PM on January 16, 2011

Before the curve, the bowl basically closes at the bottom, with a small hole at the bottom. This may in fact be an inlet. We have little knowledge of the anatomy of toilets, aside from the pictures available on google.

We've removed most of the water with a towel, so now it's a matter of using wire to try and hook the necklace... We may have to pull a helpless female and call out, but it's a matter of pride and also we're helpless with laughter trying to describe this over the phone.
posted by lockstitch at 7:42 PM on January 16, 2011

ETA: we got it out! After draining the water out and fishing around with a tiny piece of wire bent into a hook I found it!

Thanks for the great help.
posted by lockstitch at 7:50 PM on January 16, 2011 [6 favorites]

I'd love to know where in the world you live because I've never seen a toilet design like that in my life.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:15 PM on January 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

Just FYI, don't be afraid of plumbing projects like this. Before I saw your last post (awesome!), I was going to also suggest for you to take the toilet off its base and going at it from the inside.

There's nothing innate to having a penis that makes men better at projects like these. That's a sexist assumption that nearly everybody makes, both men and women. The advantage that men have in these situations is that because society expects them to do things like this, men are typically braver and more confident about handling these tasks. And that bravery pays off, because I've found that these tasks are usually pretty simple. As a home-owner and vagina-owner, I've found that whenever I've tackled a project like this, it's far easier than I'd have imagined. Tasks like these look daunting, but that's just because women are taught to think they can't do them.

Since our fathers typically didn't teach us how to do these things, we can now rely on the thousands of guides online. And we may need a strap wrench where a man could just muscle through, but other than that, I haven't found that my vagina has been a disability.

Just be brave and confident - the more you do projects like these, the better you get at them.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 8:38 AM on January 17, 2011

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