Pink Mold: What Is It, Is it Dangerous, Bathrooms/Showers, Removal & More

A clean bathroom is like a piece of heaven right in your own home. It is, after all, a place where you can enjoy some privacy and comfort.

But when you start seeing pinkish stuff on the bathroom wall…

Let’s just say it ruins the mood.

It goes without saying: You want to rid your bathroom of that stuff, and you want to do it fast.

This article will help you do just that.

But you might be wondering, how did that pink goo come about in the first place? And how can I prevent them from appearing again?

So, before we proceed with the actionable solutions that will get rid of pink mold in your bathroom, here’s a short primer on what pink mold is and why your bathroom is infested with it.

What is Pink Mold?

To avoid confusion, let’s discuss first what pink mold is NOT.

First, pink mold is not mold or mildew. They are called that simply because they nearly look similar to black mold, only pink. Black mold is a type of fungus whereas pink mold is actually a type of bacteria called Serratia marcescens.

This is an important distinction. Since black mold is a type of fungus, they reproduce by releasing ‘spores’ into the air. Pink mold, like other types of bacteria, do so by way of binary fission (“division in half”).

black mold

What Causes Pink Mold?

Now that you know what pink mold is, it’s time you learn why they keep appearing in the bathroom in the first place. Pink mold in the bathroom is caused by a combination of factors, including the following:

  • Humid and wet environments
  • Poor lighting
  • Warm conditions
  • Poor air flow

Based on the causes mentioned above, it’s very telling why pink mold is commonly found in bathrooms and other home fixtures that frequently come in contact with water (e.g., refrigerator dishwasher). Bathrooms are naturally always damp, making them fertile ground for pink mold to grow (so take it easy on the humidifier if you have one). To top it off, Serratia marcescens treat mineral and fatty deposits found in soap and shampoo residue as a food source.

Is Pink Mold Toxic?

Most people are not too worried about pink mold because it’s not as common as red mold or black mold. Mold can appear in a variety of colors, and it’s often tricky to tell them apart. In terms of health-related issues, exposure to mold (be it orange or purple or green) should always be a cause for concern, especially if the infected person has a compromised immune system.

Pink mold, in particular, poses many dangers to your health, including the following:

  • Allergic reactions (sneezing, coughing, hives, and rashes)
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Pneumonia and bronchitis
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Respiratory issues
  • Bladder complications
  • Food poisoning

It bears noting that the likelihood and severity of health issues following contact with pink mold increases for people who have compromised immune systems. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, see your doctor immediately.

How to Get Rid of Pink Mold in the Shower

As established, pink mold doesn’t only negatively impact your bathroom’s curb appeal, but it’s also bad for your health.

The point? You need to have them removed from your bathroom as soon as possible.

If you see patches of pink in the bathroom in one location, chances are you might find them in other locations as well. So, take the time to examine all bathroom surfaces such as walls, floors, shower doors, curtain liners, countertops, the bathtub, the toilet, and more.

The ideal cleaning solution varies depending on the type of surface. Below are specific techniques on how to get rid of that pink stuff for every location.

How to kill pink mold from hard bathroom surfaces

Pink mold can be pretty stubborn. If you feel like giving them the rough treatment, then do so by all means—at least as long as you do it right.

Since we’re dealing with bacteria here, it’s imperative that you observe some safety precautions. Make sure that you wear all of the following before proceeding:

  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Respirator

Scrub them off

First things first, you need to scrub the biofilm off of hard shower surfaces. The cleaning solution that will do the job? Baking soda and liquid dish soap, of course.

Preparing the cleaning solution is easy. Simply mix up a quarter cup baking soda and a tablespoon of liquid dish soap. Put the resultant paste in a small bowl and you’re set.

Now here are the steps to scrubbing that pink stuff off of your hard shower surfaces:

  1. Take a soft-bristle scrub brush and dip the bristles into the paste.
  2. Start scrubbing away at the pink mold.
  3. Rinse off the loosened biofilm by wiping them down with a wet towel or rinsing them off with a showerhead.

Kill pink mold using a bleach solution

Now that you’ve loosened up the pink mold on your bathroom’s hard surfaces, you can finish the job by killing off the remaining bacteria using a disinfectant solution.

When it comes to killing bacteria, nothing does it better than bleach. The active ingredient in bleach, hypochlorous acid, causes bacteria to unfold and lose their vitality. Considering that proteins are essential for bacterial growth, you can now see why bleach is so effective at getting rid of bacteria, and in this case, pink mold, once and for all.

The following are the steps in creating a bleach solution.

  1. Mix six ounces each of chlorine bleach powder and lukewarm water
  2. Pour the solution into a 12-ounce spray container.
  3. Replace the cap and shake.
  4. Spray the solution over the surface and let it sit there for 10 minutes (this is the part where the active ingredient in bleach does its magic)
  5. Brush gently at the area with the soft bristle scrub brush.
  6. Rinse once more with a wet towel or a showerhead.
  7. Wipe gently with a clean towel until the surface is dry.

clorox bleach

Killing pink mold using a hydrogen peroxide solution

Again, a word of warning: hydrogen peroxide is just as corrosive as bleach so make sure that you wear a pair of gloves, protective eyewear, and a respirator before proceeding with the following steps.

Here’s how to create a hydrogen peroxide & baking soda solution:

  1. Fill a small bowl with hydrogen peroxide and put 3 ounces of baking soda in it.
  2. Mix well with a hard-bristled toothbrush until it turns into paste.
  3. Scoop some of the paste with the toothbrush and scrub the area that has been infected with pink mold.
  4. Once the pink stains have been removed from the surface, rinse off the area with cold water and leave the surface dry for at least 24 hours.

Removing pink mold from shower curtains

It goes without saying that shower curtains regularly come in contact with water and soap, making them a breeding ground for Serratia marcescens. If you don’t get rid of the soap residue on a regular basis, patches of pink stuff might start appearing on your shower curtains. You’re better off eliminating them before they spread even further.

Removing pink mold from shower curtains requires a step-by-step approach, one you’d do well to follow by the letter. Let’s get to it.

Step 1

Remove the shower curtains from their hooks and put them in the washing machine. Put a couple of thick towels in there for good measure. These towels should provide enough cushion to prevent the curtains from crinkling.

Step 2

Pour a half cup of liquid detergent or dishwasher liquid in the detergent dispenser and a half cup of baking soda into the wash. The active ingredient in baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) not only kills bacteria, but it can also inhibit its growth.

Step 3

Select the “warm” and “gentle” settings on the washing machine and then turn it on. Some shower curtains are not safe for washing machines so make sure to check the care label if it’s machine-washable.

Step 4

During the first rinse cycle, pour one full cup of distilled white vinegar into the washing machine. Together, vinegar and baking soda not only eliminate pink mold, but they can also inhibit their growth.

Step 5

Retrieve the shower curtains once the wash cycle is finished. Hang them to dry in a well-ventilated area. If you’d rather put them in the dryer, check first the care label if it’s dryer-safe.

Get Rid of Pink Mold Without Using Bleach

Bleach is a corrosive that causes skin burns and inflammation of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, that is if you don’t follow the safety precautions we’ve provided earlier.

That said, you’ll be happy to know that there are safer, albeit less quick, pink mold removal methods you can use.

Simply pour white vinegar on a clean washcloth and scrub vigorously at the area where pink mold has taken root, especially the grout between tiles. Rinse off the area by wiping it down with a wet washcloth (a different one, of course) or spraying away with a showerhead.

How to Prevent Pink Mold

As you can already tell, getting rid of pink mold is a lot of work. And you’d definitely want to avoid doing it over and over again, if you can help it.

The solution, of course, is to prevent them from appearing again. As the old adage goes, “Prevention is the best cure.”

Preventing pink mold from taking root in your bathroom again does require some commitment and work. But it is the kind of effort that will be rewarded ten-fold, especially if you do it right.

So without further ado, here are specific tips and methods that will help keep the pink stuff at bay.

Ventilate your bathroom

A well-ventilated bathroom is almost always free of moisture, thus not giving pink mold a good reason to stick around. It’s not an easy task to perform considering the fact that when it comes to well-functioning bathrooms, moisture is part of the territory.

Thankfully, there are numerous ways to keep your bathroom well-ventilated, ranging from methods that are cost-efficient to more effective solutions that require a bigger budget.

Open the window while taking a shower

Moisture in the form of water vapor is naturally released into the air when we’re bathing or taking a shower. That air eventually turns into droplets as they settle on cold surfaces like mirrors, walls, curtains, and windows.

If you’ve been paying attention to your science classes back in the day, you’ll know that this process is called condensation. If there’s always plenty of condensation in the bathroom after a shower, you’re virtually sending all the bacteria milling about an invitation card.

All it takes to reduce condensation in the bathroom is to open the windows. By providing all that damp air an escape hatch, the byproduct of condensation—moisture— is reduced by considerable amounts. This, of course, keeps the pink mold at bay.

Install a bathroom fan

If your bathroom has a small window or none at all, a bathroom fan should provide the ventilation that will drive the moisture away. But it must have enough capacity (measured in CFM or cubic-feet-per-minute) and be installed in the right spot to do its job effectively.

As for the latter, placing the bathroom fan near the tub or shower is ideal since it allows the water vapor to be redirected immediately to the desired location before the process of condensation even starts.

An exhaust fan placed near the window or on the bathroom ceiling is also recommended so that it becomes easier for the damp air to escape.

The bathroom fan also needs to have enough capacity relative to the size of the bathroom to allow damp air to escape. The general rule of thumb when measuring for a bathroom fan is to have 1 CFM per square foot of room area.

For a regular sized bathroom, a bathroom fan with at least 50 CFM should suffice. A large bathroom that is over 100 square feet, on the other hand, will require at least a 200 CFM fan. Of course, 50 CFM multiple fans could do the job just as well as long as they’re positioned correctly.

Ideally, you should turn the fan on before taking a shower and then turn it off 20 minutes after you’re done. Admittedly, the “20 minutes after” part is not always realistic or practical. Thankfully, buying bathroom fans with a humidity sensor solves this problem.

Wipe surfaces dry

The advice “wipe surfaces dry” sounds simple enough, but unfortunately, not many homeowners follow it. If you don’t want to see pink mold inside your bathroom ever again, you have to commit yourself to doing it on a regular basis. It will save you a lot of trouble in the end.

So, make a conscious decision to wipe surfaces dry regularly with a squeegee or a towel and it will eventually become second nature to you if you make it a routine.

Wipe down and rinse off any soap and shampoo residue

As already stated, pink mold feed on soap scum and shampoo residue. Deny pink mold these food sources and they’re likely to stay away as a result.

Check for leakages from pipes and bathroom fixtures that cause water buildup

Pipe leaks cause water to accumulate even if you’re not using the bathroom, hence the build-up of pink mold. As such, fixing these leaks can go a long way into preventing pink mold from cropping up again.

If you’re not much of a plumber, you can always hire a licensed plumbing contractor to find and fix any water leaks in the bathroom.

Wash your bathroom linens

If your bathroom linens are always soaked through, it’s only a matter of time before you see pink mold growing on (and inside) them. Bath mats, rugs, bathroom rugs, towels — pink mold can’t resist them. So, wash and dry them off at least once a week. This should stunt mold growth before they start spreading to bathroom walls, wood panels, floor, tub, etc.

Getting Quotes from Pros

Now that you got this far into this article, it’s a safe bet that the idea of hiring a licensed contractor to take care of your pink mold problem has crossed your mind at least once. Pink mold can be nasty, and you want to rid yourself (or more accurately, your bathroom) of them as soon as possible.

It’s also likely that there are some things that are giving you pause.

The overall costs, for one. If you’re on a tight budget, you might be feeling a little hesitant about hiring a licensed contractor. Contractor services aren’t exactly cheap, plus there’s always the risk that you’ll get overcharged. Second, there’s always the risk of hiring contractors who are not competent enough to do the job properly.

If we could give you one advice, it would be this: Get a quote from at least 4 contractors who provide services in your area. You can use the internet for that (spoiler alert: Google is your friend). You can also ask your friends, colleagues, or relatives for any suggestions or recommendations.

However, if you feel that you’re too pressed for time to consider the above suggestions, don’t worry.

We’re giving you an easier and more cost-efficient option.

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Would you like to get rid of pink mold once and for all? Take the first big step by filling out the form!

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