My wife dropped an earring down the overflow drain of her bathroom sink. The earring is about 1" in diameter, so the hole which goes from the overflow to the main drain is too small for it to pass through.

The earring is silver, so it's non-magnetic (I checked the other one to make sure).

Short of removing the sink and turning it upside-down, any other ideas on getting that thing out? I thought of just a hook and wire, but it would be a crapshoot on being able to hook it.

Just want to add, here's what the sink looks like. Note that the overflow drain is very narrow, and if you measured between the opening and the back of it, it's maybe 5/8":

enter image description here

  • How far in did it go?
    – rogerdpack
    Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 6:27
  • 1
    It had dropped all the way down as far as I could tell. It was a freak thing, she dropped the earring, it hit the sink, and bounced INTO the overflow drain!
    – LarryBud
    Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 12:51

5 Answers 5


I'd be going at it with a strongest vacuum you can come up with. Maybe put a nylon stocking over the end of the hose so the earring doesn't get damaged flying down the pipe.

  • 24
    Boom, worked great! I didn't have the patience to put the stocking over the end, but it took only about 10 seconds once I emptied the shopvac out. Great idea!
    – LarryBud
    Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 20:36
  • 9
    Make sure to run the sink for a few seconds after doing this, as some vacuums are strong enough to pull the water out, and if this water is gone, it will allow sewer gasses to enter your house
    – Ferrybig
    Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 9:11
  • 3
    Good point. For clarity, Ferrybig is talking about the drain trap, not the sink itself.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 16:23
  • 2
    Depending on your vaccuum, there's a chance it will suck water into the mechanism. Ideally use a wet-capable machine, not your normal house carpet vacuum cleaner.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 20:22

If you absolutely, positively, must know for certain that you've hooked the earring, the whole earring, and nothing but the earring, then you want an endoscope:

an endoscope

An inexpensive USB or WiFi endoscope with attachments costs somewhere around $10 US. All you need to do is connect the endoscope to a phone or a laptop and use it like a webcam. Using the hook attachment, snake the camera into the drain until you see the ring, then hook the ring and pull it out. It could also be used in conjunction with other hooks, grabbers, or even a vacuum.

  • 2
    lol, there's no way that makes it down into the overflow trap.
    – LarryBud
    Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 20:03
  • 1
    Depending on how the trap is connected to the main sink drain, you might be able to push the endoscope in from below, then fish for the ring from above with a wire hook.
    – ArmanX
    Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 20:31

You could try a flexible claw pickup. Press the end, the claws open, let go and they close:

enter image description here

  • I don't believe that would fit into the overflow hole, or be able to make the bend down, but thx for the idea.
    – LarryBud
    Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 20:13

A crapshoot might be your best shot. Try getting a few pipe cleaners and bend a hook on the ends and go fishing. They are flexible and won't wedge the earring further down the drain. Some light gauge wire, like bell wire, would probably work too.


A simple and cheap solution is a flexible drain unclog stick (there's no real accepted trade name). They have hooks or tabs on the sides to grip things in the drain and pull them back out. Most hardware and general purpose stores carry them.

  • I think that is designed to pull hairs out. I'm not sure it would grip well enough to pull an earring out. Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 9:45
  • 2
    @MartinBonnersupportsMonica The ones that are barbed could do the job easily enough
    – Machavity
    Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 13:20

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