Pink mold in the bathroom might terrify some folks. After all, the word “mold” has some scary connotations, including health conditions and expensive mold remediation. The good news is that pink mold in the shower isn’t actually mold, and it’s not quite as bad for you as you might think. Be that as it may, it’s unsightly, slimy, and has got to go. This guide will explain how to get rid of pink mold in the shower and restore the clean, fresh look you work so hard to maintain.
Pink mold isn’t actual mold but a bacterial sludge that thrives in damp areas. This slimy residue isn’t even always pink—it can also come in shades of orange or red. It’s caused by an airborne bacteria called Serratia marcescens, and its spores can float through the air, land on damp, warm surfaces, and grow into a pink biofilm, which is a colony of the bacteria that can easily spread in the welcoming, moist environment of the bathroom.
The short answer is yes, pink mold can make a person sick. It can cause infections if it were to make contact with a person’s eyes or an open wound, particularly for those who are immunocompromised. However, it’s highly unlikely to cause reactions or health concerns otherwise. But it’s worth noting that it isn’t exactly harmless and it’s important to get rid of it once it rears its ugly head.
Serratia marcescens is a type of airborne bacteria that can float in the air and land anywhere. If it settles in areas rich in moisture, warmth, and food sources, it will form a biofilm that grows. That’s why damp, warm showers are ideal for pink mold to flourish. There, it can feed on the mineral deposits from hard water and the fats in soap scum and shampoo residue.
How to Get Rid of Pink Mold in the Shower
While this biofilm won’t simply wash off surfaces like shower doors, grout, tiles, shower shelves, and other surfaces, it’s not all that hard to get rid of. The following tips will explain how to cut through pink mold’s grip on shower surfaces.
You will need:
- Rubber gloves
- Safety glasses
- Respirator mask
- Liquid dish soap
- Baking soda
- Nylon bristle brush
- Spray bottle
- Microfiber towel
- Antibacterial laundry detergent
- Shower curtain liner
Note: Before starting, be sure to wear gloves, glasses, and a respirator. It’s also a good idea to run your bathroom’s exhaust fan during cleaning. While pink mold isn’t extremely dangerous, it is best to limit potential contact.
Mix 2 tablespoons of dish soap with ½ cup of baking soda. This will be the solution used to do most of the biofilm removal. Mix it in a cup or bowl and apply it to the pink mold with the nylon bristle brush and scrub. Alternate scrubbing patterns from back and forth to up and down and circular to ensure the bristles are able to reach into any nooks and crannies. Once the biofilm is loosened, rinse it down the drain.
Repeat this on any hard surfaces where pink mold is present, including shower walls, tub or floor, and grout. Shower corners and shelves, shower chairs, shower doors and tracks, the showerhead, and other areas are common havens for pink mold.
Step 2: Disinfect the Shower Curtain
If the shower has a curtain and a shower curtain liner, they’ll need disinfecting to prevent harbored bacteria from becoming airborne and reaching future damp surfaces. Remove the shower curtain and the liner from the curtain rod. Place the curtain and the microfiber towel used in Step 2 in a washer machine. Use an antibacterial laundry detergent to wash these fabrics.
In most cases, throwing the existing shower curtain liner away is easy. They’re inexpensive and not designed to last the duration of a shower curtain.
Note: Read the shower curtain’s label for care instructions before washing.
After removing the pink mold, it’s time to attack any remaining bacteria with a disinfectant spray. Mix bleach and warm water in a 1:1 ratio and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray the surface of the shower with the solution and allow it to sit for several minutes (10 minutes is usually enough). After 10 minutes, scrub the surface with the bristle brush and repeat the process again to ensure all the bacteria is gone.
Once all the surfaces are sufficiently disinfected and scrubbed, rinse them down and wipe them with a microfiber towel to remove the excess moisture.
With the shower clean, it’s time to finish the project. Simply hang the new shower curtain liner and the clean shower curtain on the curtain rod to enjoy a pink mold-free shower.
How to Prevent Pink Mold in the Shower
Preventing pink mold from ever growing in a shower is pretty difficult. These bacteria are excellent travelers and can easily float into a shower almost any time. However, the following tips may help keep pink mold at bay:
- Dry all shower surfaces with a microfiber towel or squeegee after each use.
- Make sure to fully close the shower curtain and liner after every shower so it can dry completely.
- Repair leaky faucets or valves that could be causing moisture in the shower.
- Keep bathroom windows closed while the shower is wet to prevent airborne Serratia marcescens bacteria from entering into the bathroom.
- Use an exhaust fan to remove moist air during and after showering.
- Clean soap scum from hard surfaces on a weekly basis using a solution of 1 cup of white vinegar to 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of dish soap, then scrub with a nylon bristle brush.
- Consider using a small dehumidifier in particularly damp bathrooms.
With these steps, you may be able to significantly reduce the chance of pink mold entering the shower and setting up shop. However, if your best efforts fail, know that removing pink mold using the above methods isn’t all that difficult and that you can restore your shower’s clean appearance safely and effectively.