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How to Retrieve a Ring Flushed Down the Toilet

Updated February 21, 2017

Losing a ring down your toilet can be a nightmare, especially if it is an heirloom, keepsake or symbol of your love. Once something is flushed down the toilet, it travels through the internal plumbing of the bowl, through the pipes and into the septic tank or sewer system. If your ring makes it to the pipes, then the costs of ripping out the plumbing and septic tank will be far more than the cost of most pieces of jewellery. However, if the ring is still in the toilet, there is hope. Removing the toilet is the only way to know for sure.

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  1. Look behind your toilet and find the supply valve located on the water line that feeds the tank. Turn the valve off. Press and hold the lever on the tank to flush the toilet and empty the tank.

  2. Lift the lid off the toilet tank and set it aside. Locate the retaining nuts under the bottom of the toilet. Remove the nuts with the appropriate deep-well socket from your set. Reach inside the tank and remove the retaining bolts. Lift the tank off the toilet bowl and set it aside.

  3. Look on the floor and find the dome-shaped plastic cap on either side of the toilet bowl. Pry the caps off the floor, using a flat screwdriver, and set them aside. Remove the retaining nuts holding the bowl to the floor. Lift the toilet off the floor and lay it on its side.

  4. Remove the plastic retaining nuts on the underside of the top edge of the toilet, using pliers. Pull the toilet seat away from the bowl and set it aside. Lift the toilet upside down with the help of an assistant. Shake the toilet to see if the ring will fall out of the bowl.

  5. Turn the toilet bowl right side up and stand it on top of a 5-gallon bucket. Spray water from a hose into the toilet bowl to try to flush the ring out of the inner workings of the toilet. Dump the bucket into the bathtub as necessary.

  6. Remove the old wax ring from the drain in the floor. Scrape away the residue from the floor and the bottom of the toilet, using a plastic putty knife. Wipe the toilet and floor with a clean rag. Lay a new wax ring around the drain in the floor. Set the toilet bowl on top of it and replace the retaining nuts. Tighten the nuts with a socket. Press the plastic caps over the bolts.

  7. Check the bottom of the tank to be sure the rubber is in its proper place. Set the tank back on top of the toilet bowl. Slip the retaining bolts through the tank and the bowl. Twist the nuts onto the bolts. Tighten the nuts with a socket. Put the toilet seat on the bowl, and secure it with the plastic bolts and nuts. Snug the plastic nuts with your pliers.

  8. Restore the water supply, and watch the toilet for leaks. Flush the toilet several times to check the wax ring. Clean up the area with your shop vac. Rinse out the bucket and fill it with water. Add 1/2 cup of bleach to the water. Wipe down the tub, toilet and floor with a bleach water--soaked rag. Let the bathroom dry completely before using it again.

  9. Warning

    Work gloves and safety glasses are required when using hand tools. Rubber gloves and safety glasses are required when using bleach or other chemicals.

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Things You'll Need

  • Deep-well socket set with ratchet
  • Flat screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Water hose
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Rags
  • Wax ring
  • Shop vac
  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Rubber gloves
  • Assistant

About the Author

After learning electronics in the U.S. Navy in the 1980s, Danny Donahue spent a lifetime in the construction industry. He has worked with some of the finest construction talent in the Southeastern United States. Donahue has been a freelance writer since 2008, focusing his efforts on his beloved construction projects.

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