Updated: Mar 15
Has this ever happened to you? You’ve gotten all suds up with your favorite body soap only to notice something lurking in the corner of your tub; something pink. After you towel off, you reach for the nearest cleaner to nip the problem in the bud. And for a while, it works. But just a few weeks later, it’s back. What is this pink stuff? Is it pink mold? What should you do to get rid of it?
What is “Pink Mold?”
What most people refer to as “pink mold” is actually not mold at all, but it can be just as serious to try to get under control. The scientific name for this pink mold is “Serratia marcescen,” a type of bacteria that likes to grow in moist areas where mineral-rich or fatty substances accumulate for it to feed off of.
While most people report finding this pink mold in the shower, it can also be found in difficult-to-clean dishes and straws, baby bottles, breastfeeding equipment, soap dishes, pet water bowls, and even contact lens cases. In most cases, the bacteria isn’t dangerous unless it comes into direct contact with an open wound or gets in your body (e.g. it’s growing in your contact lens case and then you put your contact in your eye). When it does get into your body, this bacteria has been known to cause urinary tract infections, respiratory tract infections, wound infections, and contact lens-associated ocular infections.
Why Does Pink Mold Grow in My Shower or Bath?
Pink mold, also known as the bacteria Serratia marcescen, likes moist and humid areas just like its cousin, mold. It will grow in areas that are prone to have pools of water or that remain damp for prolonged periods of time. This is why it can most commonly be found in showers and bathtubs.
Pink mold especially likes showers because this bacteria likes to feed on mineral-rich and fatty substances like soap scum (which isn’t just made of soap, by the way). Soap scum contains minerals and dead skin cells that are not only hard to clean off your shower, but also create the perfect feeding ground for pink mold to thrive.
What Should I Do If I Find Pink Mold?
Unlike true mold, the first thing you should do if you find pink mold in the shower, or even if you don’t find pink mold, is to clean regularly with bleach or a disinfectant. By regularly cleaning the areas pink mold can typically appear, you remove its food source and help prevent it from growing further or even growing in the first place!
In addition to a regular cleaning routine, you should have your home inspected for ongoing water and humidity issues. If your bathroom has poor ventilation, then it may be more susceptible to pink mold or other types of mold and bacteria. And if you have any moisture or water issues in your basement or crawlspace, that could be affecting the environment in your bathroom as well!
Here at Healthy Homes, we say when you stop the water, you are able to stop mold and bacteria, which is an important step to create a healthy environment. If you have a recurring mold or pink mold issue that just won’t go away, it may be time to let Healthy Homes inspect your home to find the root of your problem. Give us a call at 309.418.9511 so both you, and your home, can stay healthy!