Pink Mold in Bathroom: Causes, Cleaning & Prevention

Shower pink stains are a sign that you have pink mold in your shower. Pink mold, also called pink mildew, is favored by wetness in the shower (like all mold and mildew types) but isn’t as harmful as black mold. Still, it’s quite dangerous when it comes into contact with your skin, eyes, or mouth. Luckily, getting rid of pink mildew in the shower is quite easy as explained in the following sections. 

To get rid of pink mold in the bathroom, make a paste of baking soda and dish soap in a 4:1 ratio then apply it to the mold. After 10 minutes, scrub it with a toothbrush then rinse. Spray the surface with a mixture of water and bleach or vinegar in equal parts to disinfect the surface then wipe dry.

Pink Mold in Bathroom

What causes pink mold?

Pink mold is caused by bacterial growth from body fluids such as pus, feces, or urine to the shower wall often due to poor hygiene. Pink mold isn’t actually mold but a water-borne bacterial colony called Serratia marcescens. 

The pink mold bacteria is also airborne and thrives in wet and moist conditions like those in your bathroom. It feeds on fatty and mineral deposits from soaps and shampoos. It’s common on shower grout lines and other wet materials. 

Having Serratia marcescens in the shower may not be easily noticeable especially when you have a pink shower (pink shower walls) or it’s poorly lit. It’ll grow in most wet areas and, as such, you’re also likely to have pink mold in your bathtub, toilet and even cabinets. 

Pink mold may also appear as red or orange colors on the wall. Red stains in showers from water can be pink mold or rust depending on the conditions (temperature for example). It’s slimy or fuzzy to the touch. 

Other types of pink mold include Aureobasidium pullulans which is a pink fungus that can also be white or yellow. As it ages, it turns brown then black with gray edges. A. pullulans is also found in bathrooms but favors organic material such as wood and houseplants. 

Fusarium is also another pink mold although it’s quite rare indoors. If found indoors, it’ll grow on plants, carpets, and wallpapers. 

Pink mold symptoms and dangers

Pink bacteria in the shower is generally harmless to healthy people. However, if the bacteria enters the body through open wounds, eyes or the mouth, it’ll cause harm to the individual. If you have a person with a compromised immune system, a baby or a pet, they’re at a high risk of being affected by pink mold.

Some of the dangers and symptoms of pink mold on the body include:

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and bladder infections
  • Bone infections
  • Meningitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Endocarditis
  • Blood poisoning (septicemia)
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Infections on open sores and wounds
  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • Grows on contact lenses causing various eye problems 

For these reasons, always protect yourself from mold by using gloves, masks, and goggles while minimizing contact with it as much as possible. The pink stuff in your shower is pink mold that may appear harmless but it isn’t.

How to get rid of pink mold in the shower

Don’t panic when you have pink residue in the shower since you can easily clean it off. Vinegar kills pink mold and so does bleach and even baking soda mixed with dish soap. Clean pink mold with the following methods:

Pink mold cleaning methodProcedure 
Baking soda and dish soap1/4 cup baking soda with 1 tablespoon of liquid soap. Scrub and rinse. 
White vinegarEqual parts white vinegar and warm water. Scrub and rinse. 
Bleach 1 part bleach with 10 parts water. Scrub and rinse. 
Borax 1 cup Borax with 1 gallon of water. Scrub and rinse.
Hydrogen peroxide3% hydrogen peroxide. Scrub and rinse.

Baking soda and dish soap

For this procedure, you need baking soda, liquid dish soap, a scrub brush, chlorine bleach, warm water, and protective gear. Use baking soda and dish soap to clean pink mold in the shower with the following steps:

  1. Put on protective gear such as gloves, goggles, a mask and apron. 
  2. Mix ¼ cup of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of liquid soap to form a paste. 
  3. Dip the bristles of the scrub brush into the baking soda paste then use it to scrub the patches of pink or orange mold in the shower. You may need to wet the walls first but it’s not necessary. 
  4. Rinse the walls after cleaning it to your satisfaction. 
  5. Mix 6 ounces of chlorine bleach powder with warm water to form a solution then pour it in a spray bottle. 
  6. Spray the bleach solution on the orange bacteria in the shower then wait for 10 minutes. 
  7. After 10 minutes, scrub the walls with the scrub brush. 
  8. Rinse the shower surfaces affected by the pink mold. 
  9. Wipe the surfaces dry with a squeegee or dry towel. 

The chlorine bleach is used to disinfect the surfaces of the pink or red mold in the bathroom as it kills any remaining bacteria and cleans any dirt remaining. With this procedure, you won’t have nay pink staining in the shower as all the pink mold will be eliminated. Clean pink mold from the shower every week. 

White vinegar

White vinegar is another great option for cleaning mold and mildew in the shower in the following steps:

  1. Put on protective gear to prevent contact with the bacteria. 
  2. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and warm water then place it in a spray can. 
  3. Spray the affected area then wait for 10 minutes. 
  4. Scrub the areas with a scrub brush to get rid of the pink mold. 
  5. Rinse with clean water. 
  6. Dry the surfaces with a squeegee or dry towel. 

You can also disinfect the affected surfaces with 6 ounces of chlorine bleach powder with warm water. 

Bleach 

Bleach naturally kills mold, mildew and bacteria and can thus be used to kill and pink mold from your bathroom. It’s also used to disinfect any remaining mold and mildew after cleaning with other methods. 

Clean pink mold with bleach as follows:

  1. Protect yourself from the bacteria with googles, a mask and gloves.
  2. Mix 1 part bleach with 10 parts water and put some in a spray can. 
  3. Spray the bleach solution on the areas affected by the pink mold then wait for 10 minutes. 
  4. Scrub the affected areas with a scrub brush. 
  5. Rinse with clean water. 
  6. Dry the surfaces with a squeegee or dry towel. 

Besides bleach, you can also use borax (1 cup borax in 1 gallon of water) and 3% hydrogen peroxide. 

How to remove pink from shower curtains

Having pink mold on shower curtains means that the curtains have been exposed to the pink mold bacteria and moisture for a long time. A pink buildup in the shower will eventually affect your shower curtains especially when they’re made of fabric. That’s also one reason why you should consider shower doors over shower curtains.

Clean shower curtains with pink or red mildew as follows:

  1. Check on the care label of your shower curtains to ensure they are machine washable. If machine washable, continue to the next step. If not, you can still clean shower curtains by hand
  2. Place the shower curtains in the washing machine with 2 or 3 towels (they help clean the curtains by adding abrasion).
  3. Add ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of laundry detergent to the washing machine.
  4. Set the washing machine to the warm and delicate (gentle) setting then turn it on. 
  5. Once done, air-dry the shower curtains preferable outdoors. 

Avoid using a clothes dryer on shower curtains especially when made of vinyl material. For this reason, always follow the shower curtain buying guide to get curtains you can easily live with. 

How to prevent pink mold in the shower

Pink fungus can be easily kept away with the right prevention routine in the bathroom. Like mold and mildew, keeping pink mold at bay is easy when you know what to do. 

Among the steps to take to prevent pink mold in the shower include the following:

  • Keep the bathroom dry by wiping the walls and floors with a towel or squeegee after each use. 
  • Clean soap scum from shower surfaces every two weeks using white vinegar and warm water. Spray the mixture on the surfaces then scrub after 15 minutes before rinsing. 
  • Repair any leaks in the shower from faucets and shower heads to prevent any excessive dampness in the bathroom. 
  • Remove any damp rags and towels from the bathroom since mold and bacteria love such conditions. Also, wash them as frequently as you wash the shower curtains (monthly). 
  • When taking a shower, keep the shower door or curtain closed to avoid spreading the airborne pink mold bacteria to the rest of the house. 
  • After using the shower, wipe away any shampoo or soap residues with wet towels before drying the shower surfaces. 
  • Wash your shower curtains at least once every month in your machine or by hand. 
  • Keep the bathroom ventilated by keeping the windows open or turning on the fan for 20 minutes after each use. 
  • After each cleaning session, spray a biocide on the affected areas to prevent bacteria, mold and mildew from growing on them. Vinegar is a good biocide which should be sprayed on the shower walls every month. No need to rinse it off. 
  • Use water that has chlorine in it. The chlorine discourages the growth of pink mold bacteria and most other types of mold. 

If you have a pink mold infestation, you need to have a professional since it may affect all parts of the home including HVAC systems which end up spreading it further in the home. Mold remediation should only be done by a professional since they first establish the main type of bacteria or mold affecting your home before getting rid of it.

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