I had a lovely hot shower that banished all thoughts of the outside world, no troubles, no problems. I turned off the water and opened the shower doors and stepped out into ….. water.
Your first reaction is to scream irrationally. When the screaming is over you slosh around to see where the water is coming from, but rationally you know what has just happened – a flood. All the nice hot water you just showered with is now around your feet and it is no longer so clean, it must have come up from the drain – the drain is blocked. You had noticed that the water in the shower was not going down as usual, but in typical human fashion you ignored it because it was not yet a disaster.
Now what to do? My next reaction was to get many towels and cleaning rags to soak up the water. I also removed the sodden carpets that were on the floor of the bathroom. Boy do they get heavy when wet and they pour water all over the place. I threw them in a bucket and then started to squeeze out some of the towels, until I realized that was crazy, since all the water that went into the sink or the shower ended up back on the bathroom floor.
Then I looked for the source of the backup. That was not difficult to find because there are always drain covers on the bathroom floor and I knew which one was the problem. The water always comes up from that specific drain when it is blocked. In fact the shower and both sinks drain into that location. So I gingerly prized off the plastic drain cover and …lo and behold it was filthy and full of black gunk. I jumped back in horror and nearly retched, but then I decided I was made of sterner stuff. No point in panicking, now action was required. I found the plunger and put the rubber part over the drain and pushed it up and down. Apart from mixing up the gunk there was no effect on the water level.
Then I went in search of the magic elixir, drain cleaner (which used to be called draino). I found two types, solid crystals and a thick viscous liquid (always have some handy). Both are caustic soda (NaOH) that you do not want to get on your skin. The solid version is the most concentrated so I poured lots of that into the drain and also into the shower drain. Immediately the drain water/gunk started to boil. I expected this and had some rags ready, but it did not overflow, the bubbles simply boiled away.
Then I cleaned around the drain hole and I took the plastic drain cover and wiped it and dipped it in the flushing toilet (fortunately it has its own connection to the drain). I sprayed Listerine disinfectant liberally all around the area and saw that a lot of the gunk had by now dissolved. For the coup de grace I poured a lot of the liquid draino into the drain and it seemed to cut right through the gunk and I began to see the bottom of the drain. Finally I poured some water into the shower and into the drain and it went down. Then I used the plunger again and finally I could see that the blockage had cleared.
But, in order for the draino to clear all the gunk I left it for about 15 mins while I wiped myself and put on some clothes and I washed my feet and then I poured water into the shower and down the drain and they cleared immediately. Another victory for mankind against the foibles of nature.