For many home and business owners, a clogged sink, bath or toilet drain is an all-too-common frustration. When hours of plunging, chemical products, and DIY solutions don’t cut it, it’s time to call in the heavyweight: a professional plumber. According to the plumbing companies that take on these incorrigible clogs, it’s not always what you’d expect that stops up the drain. Take a look at just a few of the strangest things these champions of drainage have pulled from the pipes.
Of the many things you’d rather not drop into the toilet, false teeth are probably somewhere near the top of the list. Unfortunately for one poor fellow in an airport restroom, that’s exactly where his pearly whites ended up. According to the plumber, when he went to clear what he believed would be a standard toilet paper clog, he found instead a full set of dentures inside the pipe. The amused plumber hung the dentures on the wall of the airport maintenance closet and later added sunglasses. What did he call his creation? “John.” Get it? It’s just a little toilet humor.
An Entire Mop Head
If you’re going to clean the toilet, using a mop probably isn’t the smartest idea. More than one plumber has discovered an entire mop head in the toilet drain, suggesting that we might need to add a “don’t flush this” unit to our national education standards. Though it’s probably more likely that the people who put them there actually intended to just flush the used mop heads, they’re still a pretty bizarre find. This is exactly the reason it’s important to exercise common sense. When in doubt, toss it in the trash can.
An Incredibly Expensive Bracelet
In an airport bathroom, one older woman found herself in a jewelry fanatics nightmare: her $10,000 charm bracelet had come loose from her wrist and fallen into the toilet. Needless to say, she was distraught (and worried about what her husband might say when he found out). Fortunately, the plumber—that very same hero who’d rescued the dentures in our first story—was able to pull the toilet away from the wall and snatch the bracelet back out of the pipe. And, like the great guy he is, he even took the time to carefully wash and dry the bracelet for her before giving it to her in a clean plastic bag.
One plumber ran into a somewhat “hairy” situation when snaking the drain of a toilet in a popular night club. As the rooter turned, the plumber reported first seeing a red strand twisted slowly up the wire. Eventually, an entire bright-red wig was pulled from the drain. According to the story, the plumber saw a stage performer wearing the very same wig a week later, completely oblivious to its previous “adventure.”
Roughly $12,000 in Quarters
Many people will never see $12,000 in their bank account at one time, much less have $12,000 worth of actual cash in their possession. Even so, that’s exactly what one plumber found when called to deal with a blockage in a gravity line. According to the plumber, the mass of quarters filled up two five-gallon buckets. No one could seem to figure out where, exactly, the coins had originated.
It wouldn’t be a 21st century trip to the bathroom without the constant fear of a cell phone incident. In cases too numerous to count, people’s handheld gadget just haven’t been able to stay out of the toilet. In addition to “slipped out of my pocket” and “dropped it while texting on the toilet” scenarios, plumbers have found even more difficult to explain clogs, including an entire iPhone 5S—still inside the shrink-wrapped box. Let’s see the Hardy Boys solve that one.
Wedding and Engagement Rings
Another unfortunately common and cringe-worthy accident is the loss of a wedding, engagement, or another meaningful ring down the sink drain. Whether the band is already too loose or slips off during hand-washing, plumbers are regularly called to rescue such baubles from the drain pipes (probably before the wife finds out).
An Augur Cable
If there’s one thing you don’t want to do as a plumber, it’s to leave behind any evidence that might suggest you’re not properly doing your job. For example: if the cable to your augur breaks while you’re snaking a drain, for goodness’ sake, find a way to get it out. Otherwise, it will contribute to the clogging issue—and annoy the heck out of the next plumber.
It’s probably no surprise that all kinds of illegal substances have been found stuffed down the drain in large amounts, either loose or in bags. In the latter case, the potential for clogging should be obvious (perhaps to the sober individual). Nevertheless, professionals still sometimes find themselves pulling significant amounts of drugs from the drain. The lesson is this: you can’t hide anything from your plumber. Sooner or later, he’ll find your hastily-flushed stash.
In a truly unfortunate accident, an entire goose was sucked into a pump and pulled into the plumbing, clogging the drain. The plumber who found the goose estimated that it had been pulled approximately 10 feet into a three-inch pipe, raising the question of how anyone recognized the clog as a goose at all.
In similarly-shocking incidents, live animals have been found stuck in drains. Aside from the myriad of goldfish that end up flushed before their time, plumbers have found live squirrels, turtles, rats—and yes—small alligators. In one case, a plumber found a squirrel that had climbed down through a roof ventilation pipe. The poor thing got itself waterlogged and stuck, but was eventually freed by the kind-hearted handyman. Who said plumbers aren’t softies?
One of the X-Men
If you’ve got a potty-training toddler, you’ve already discovered the universal truth that kids love to flush things. In one child’s case, he apparently felt that toilet troubles would be best solved by sending in Wolverine to deal with the issue (why didn’t the grown-ups think of that?). When the plumber went to remove the toy from the drain, he found the X-Man gripping the toilet trap with his tiny faux-adamantium claws. Needless to say, saving the miniature hero was quite a memorable experience.