No matter how you feel about bright colors in your bathroom, no one wants uninvited and unsightly “pink mold” or “pink mildew” growing in their washroom. It may appear as an orange color accumulating in your grout, a red tint on your shower curtain, or as pink streaks down your shower wall, and even in places like your toilet bowl or sinks, but the colors are likely not just from the soap you’re using—and you’re going to want to get rid of the cause.

We’ve got answers to what this pink pest actually is (hint: it’s not mold!), plus advice on how to get rid of it and how to prevent it from returning.

What Is the Pink Mold in Your Shower?

The “pink mold” creating slimy buildup in your bathroom is not actually mold at all: it’s a bacteria. The two most common bacteria causing pink shower mold are called Serratia marcescens and Aureobasidium pullulans.

These bacteria produce a pigment, known as prodigiosin, that ranges in hue from pinks to oranges to reds. The result is the unsightly stain you see in your shower, on your faucets, your bathroom curtains and beyond.

This type of bacteria is common and does not pose the dangerous health risks of black mold, but that doesn’t mean it should colonize your bathroom unchecked. For most healthy people, Serratia marcescens or Aureobasidium pullulans shouldn’t pose any health risks if you touch them while bathing or cleaning as long as they don’t enter the body. (Avoid touching your eyes or an open wound with contaminated surfaces such as your hands.)

However, for those who are immunocompromised—and even your household pets—Serratia marcescens can cause complications and infections, so it’s important to clean your bathroom bacteria buildup when you notice it starting to collect.

What Causes Pink Mold 

Optimal growing conditions for Serratia marcescens include dampness, mineral deposits and a climate ranging from warm to room temperature. It feeds on the minerals, fatty deposits and residue from your soap and personal hygiene products. When there is excess moisture in the environment, the bacteria can become airborne and continue to spread. Voilà: a perfect bacteria breeding ground in the bathroom.

How to Get Rid of Pink Mold

Luckily, pink shower mold is easy to eliminate yourself.

We recommend wearing protective cleaning gear whenever working with chemicals, and this job is no exception: rubber gloves, and ideally protective eye glasses and a face mask, are best practice here. Turn on your bathroom ventilation or exhaust fan for additional removal of air moisture and fumes.

In addition to powerful household cleaners designed to kill mold, there are effective cleaning solutions you can create for DIY pink mold and stain removal using household items such as baking soda, bleach, liquid dish soap and white vinegar.

Using a nylon bristle brush, vigorously scrub your affected surface(s) with your cleaning solution of choice—including the floor and wall tiles of your shower, the grout between the tiles and your showerhead—until the mold and stains are removed. Thoroughly rinse with water until the solution (and mold) washes away completely.

DIY vs. Professional Pink Mold Removal

In some cases, a professional should be called to remove mold from your home. While this is not strictly necessary for pink mold, which is not a major health hazard on its own and can easily be a DIY, it may be important if you are seeing other types of dangerous mold, such as black mold, forming in your home or bathroom. If the pink mold is remaining in your shower due to a water contamination or sewage issue, it’s a project for the professionals.

A mold remediation professional will have experience—and the equipment—to safely kill dangerous mold in your home. This may include HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) air scrubbers, HEPA vacuums, commercial-strength dehumidifiers and other tools specific to the task of eliminating harmful mold. If there is mold in the walls or ceiling, you may need restoration work too, which some mold professionals are able to tackle.

The cost of these services depends on the type of mold, the size of the project and cost of labor in your region, but it is not a service you want to delay if you need it: your health and safety may depend on it.

Tips to Prevent Pink Mold From Coming Back

Once you’ve eliminated existing colonies of bacteria from your bathroom, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the chances of its frequent return.

  1. Keep your bathroom air as dry as possible in between showers by turning on your exhaust fan (if you have one). It’s best to start the fan before you shower and leave it on for at least 20 minutes after your shower to reduce the humidity in the room.
  2. Dry your shower walls and shower curtains after each use to eliminate excess water and moisture. A towel or squeegee should do the trick.
  3. Use antimicrobial shower curtain liners and bathmats designed to keep away stains and odors caused by microbial growth.
  4. Wash your shower curtain regularly (if machine washable) with warm water to eliminate a common mold hotspot.
  5. Staying on top of your bathroom cleaning routine will help prevent mold regrowth and keep your space healthy.


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