Can You Retrieve Something Flushed Down Toilet?

Flushing something valuable down the toilet can happen accidentally to anybody. If it happens to you, don’t panic. You can still retrieve something flushed down the toilet that’s not meant to be flushed.

Retrieving the flushed item can be easier than you think if you can still see the item. However, if you can’t see the item anymore, you will need to apply some effort to retrieve the item.

retrieve something flushed down toilet

How to Retrieve Something Flushed Down Toilet Safely?

If you’ve accidentally flushed something that’s not meant to be flushed down your toilet, here is a step-by-step guide on how to retrieve it.

Before we proceed, you’ll need the following materials:

  • A pair of latex gloves
  • A Metal hanger
  • A drain snake (get the type with a hook or an open coil head, it aids in easy hooking and retrieving of objects)
  • A vacuum pump (wet/dry type)

Once you’ve got all the above materials ready, follow these steps:

Reach into the toilet bowl with your hand

If the object is heavier and didn’t go into the trap, you should still see a part of it in the toilet bowl. Put on the gloves and reach your hand into the toilet bowl to retrieve it.

If the object slid into the trap and you can’t see it, you would need to reach your fingers into the toilet trap to feel the object.

If you’re able to feel the object, good luck to you. Grab the object with your fingers and pull it out. Pull off the gloves and wash your hands afterward.

This method is the best and most foolproof method to retrieve anything that falls into the toilet bowl.

Use a metal hanger

If you don’t feel comfortable using your hand, you can use a metal hanger. However, this method works only for a bunch of keys or an object with a part that a hook can catch.

Straighten the metal hanger, leaving the curved head as the hook. You may need to adjust the hook to catch the object easily.

If you can see the object, dip the hanger into the toilet bowl and catch the object with the hook and pull it out.

If the object has gone into the trap, carefully slip the hook into the trap to see if it touches the object. If you can feel the object, don’t push.

Instead, work the hanger around so that the hooked end catches the object, then pull it out.

Handle the hanger carefully to avoid scratching the surface of the toilet bowl.

Use a drain snake

If the object has gone deeper into the toilet trap, you will need a drain snake. A drain snake is also known as a toilet auger.

Insert the drain snake into the toilet trap opening and rotate the handle clockwise to spin the drain snake into the trap.

If you feel that the drain snake has reached the flushed object, spin a little more to catch the object. Once you feel that the snake has grabbed something, rotate it counterclockwise to pull it and retrieve the object.

In case this method doesn’t retrieve the object, move on to the next step.

Try a vacuum

Whether you can see the flushed object or not, this method is effective for both cases. If you can see the object, push the hose of the vacuum into the toilet bowl close to the object and run the vacuum. It should pick up the object.

If you can’t see the object, push the vacuum into the toilet trap opening and run it. It should suck out the object if it’s there.

Stop the vacuum if you hear that the object has been extracted.

Pull out the vacuum and check its collection tank, you should find your flushed item.

Remove the toilet bowl

If none of the steps above works, it’s unlikely that this method will retrieve the object. This is because any object that passes through the toilet trap will likely fall through the sewer drain into the sewer tank.

Nevertheless, you can still give it a try, perhaps the object has gone deeper into the toilet trap.

This method requires you to disconnect the toilet tank and unbolt the toilet bowl. Then, you can lift the toilet bowl and turn its side to look into the toilet trap for the flushed item. Read this article to learn “how to remove a toilet permanently.”

However, if you don’t feel like handling this last step yourself, call a professional.

N/B: We don’t recommend using a plunger to retrieve something flushed down the toilet, especially if it’s valuable. With the way a plunger works, you may end up thrusting the item away with the plunger. A plunger is only suitable for removing clogs from the toilet.


There you have it, those are the steps you can take to retrieve something flushed down the toilet. Remember to take safety precautions when reaching your hand or any object into the toilet bowl or trap.

Also, handle the hanger and vacuum carefully not to scratch the surface of the toilet bowl.

If all else fails and you can’t seem to retrieve the flushed item, call a professional. They have the right tools and experience to handle this situation.

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