When removing my toilet, a piece of wax approximately the size of a golf ball fell into the drain. I can't reach it with my arm. What would be the best way to address this? I imagine this could lead to serious blockage.

  • 1
    I would suggest that, once you finally get it out, you not handle it!
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 4, 2020 at 23:45
  • Remind me never to shake the hand on the end of that arm! And are you really implying that nothing bigger than a golf-ball has ever gone down your toilet drain? Mine has seen things the size of grade a eggs, tennis balls, apples, grapefruit, small cantaloupe and never had to call a plumber Dec 5, 2020 at 7:16

5 Answers 5


Assuming anything like a normal, to code, plumbing install:

Unlikely to be a problem.

Per (IBC) code:

Toilets are installed on a 3" pipe, minimum.

Drain pipe sizes stay the same or get larger in the direction of flow - never smaller.

A golf-ball sized hunk of wax is much smaller than 3" - otherwise it couldn't have fallen in the pipe. Therefore, it should flow downstream until it annoys your septic system (where it should just float into the scum layer until your pump truck comes) or sewage plant operator (who have seen worse things floating.)

  • 9
    Golf-ball sized wax is kind of like a standard piece of turd... I probably don't need to go into details about human excrement here, but shouldn't be a big issue.
    – Nelson
    Dec 4, 2020 at 5:41
  • 3
    UK spec waste pipe is almost 4", 100mm internal Ø (just because everyone always seems to assume US building code) so it would be even less of an issue.
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 4, 2020 at 10:55
  • 4
    Or, to put it another way, if it does cause a problem, it would be because the drain was already heavily clogged and in need of a good cleanout to begin with.
    – J...
    Dec 4, 2020 at 17:20

If the piece is smaller then the drain I would pour several 5 gallon buckets of the coldest water down the drain to flush it into the street sewer. Once it gets in there it's the city's problem. Don't try boiling water or any attempt to "melt" it away!

  • 2
    A trick I learned from an old boss, is to pour each bucket of water from as high as comfortable, probably about head height. This gives it more "ooomph" And you can add more by flushing the full cistern tank at the same time. Don't pour tip the bucket gently over the rim; you want momentum !
    – Criggie
    Dec 4, 2020 at 6:41
  • If you can see it, a long "parts picker" may do the trick:

enter image description here
Image from AliExpress. No endorsement of this product or vendor implied or intended.

  • If you have a drain clean out in the basement or backyard, open it up, put a filter over the "downstream" side, and have someone pour water down the drain until it tumbles down the pipe and hits your filter. Pull it out there.
    • Use fabric, window screen, or something similar. The goal is to all the water to pass, but to catch the wax when it gets there. Pull out the filter once you've got the wax in hand.

How deep did it fall? If you have some 12 or 14 awg electrical wire laying around then those make for great long-distance fishing hooks for such situations.


Using a shop-vac and small diameter flexible tubing, (small enough to navigate any turns and still allow airflow around. You don't want any other content to be found.) gently insert untill it is grabbed. By turning it back and forth you can go around curves. I had to retrieve a cellphone like that. Don't ask!

  • 1
    With the bowl off, one would hope there isn't too much "other" content in the plumbing... Actually, if the plumbing is working correctly, there shouldn't be any other content!
    – FreeMan
    Dec 4, 2020 at 11:26
  • 1
    True, however, if you put too much suction without allowing "reach around" airflow, it will empty any traps. It can also damage stackless air vents. Dec 4, 2020 at 18:21

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