Pink mold in the shower: symptoms and how to clean itThere are many colors of mold (or mildew, if you prefer) in the world today. Say, like orange mold, black mold, yellow mold, brown mold and also pink mold. Most tend toward a greenish or bluish hue. Mold grows everywhere, where it is damp and somewhat dark, because mold is a fungus.
Some fungi can take on a unicellular growth form in these environments, making them a yeast at this time.
Then there are the colorful molds out there, like pink mold. Most households will eventually come across pink mold.
This guide will help you to recognize the pink mold, where to find it and what to do about it once you have discovered it.
What is pink mold?
Pink mold is officially known as Serratia marcescens. It likes to grow in humid places, where it has the opportunity to consume fatty substances. For this reason, one of the most common places for pink mold to grow in the home is the bathroom.
Wherever moisture can seep through, there is a risk of pink mold growth. It can grow on your carpet, cabinets, rugs and even your wallpaper.
What makes it difficult to remove is the fact that it is not a conventional mold. It is rather a bacterium transmitted through the air. Without proper ventilation in your bathroom, this pink stuff could grow into your shower curtain, tile grout and tub caulking.
It is really so strong. Once it starts growing, it will not stop unless you deprive it of its food source, change its environment, or kill it.
Pink staining is also found in the yeast-like fungus called Aureobasidium pullulans. To achieve the pink coloration, this fungus must be cultured with potato dextrose agar. In its early stages, it appears faintly pink until it starts producing chlamydospores.
Another fungus, called Fusarium graminearum, can make barley appear pink before it is harvested. The mold must cause head spotting in the barley, and there must be extreme wetness in the field for this problem to occur.
Although all 3 varieties can cause pink discoloration, Serratia marcescensis is the culprit in most households for the pink mold you are seeing right now.
Pink mold in the bathroom
The amount of moisture present in your bathroom will help determine how quickly pink mold will want to grow. If soap residue is high, encourage faster growth of pink mold, especially in the shower.
However, any place that is humid poses the risk of pink mold. If you use a bath mat or rug when you get out of the shower or bath, pink mold may grow in or under the rug if the rug is not allowed to dry.
Besides the floor mats or carpets, the shower curtain is the only place you should check for pink mold. If it grows there and you are using a fabric curtain, then over time the bacteria will penetrate the fibers of the fabric. Once it does, your shower curtain will feel slimy, and it will have a distinctive odor about it.
What about pink mold on food?
Serratia marcescenshas the ability to grow on food provided that the food is stored in a moist and dark environment. It can have a noticeable effect when it grows on bread.
In 1263, a priest from Bohemia is said to have had doubts about the Catholic belief in transubstantiation during a mass in Bolsena. This is the religious belief that the bread and wine taken during communion become the body and blood of Christ.
According to the story, the priest took pieces of bread to give to the congregation, and it began to bleed. No matter what the priest tried to do to wipe away the red substance, it remained. As he got deeper into the bread, more and more blood was revealed.
Raphael painted a fresco about this event, which is in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City. It was probably an incident of pink mold. When it appears on white food products, the color can turn a deep red.
Any foods that contain yeast products or dairy fats are likely candidates for pink mold growth.
Pink mold in the humidifier
Although humidifiers can use heat to evaporate water, the humid environment is perfect for pink mold. If you look in the steam room of a humidifier that hasn't been cleaned in 3-4 weeks, you will almost certainly see pink mold growing there.
The problem with pink mold in the humidifier is that many of the symptoms of dry air, such as sore throat, inflamed nose and skin lesions occur.
Once pink mold has started to grow in the humidifier, you will release more of this bacteria into the air you breathe.
If you bought a humidifier to relieve the symptoms of dry air, but they do not disappear, then pink mold may be to blame.
In severe incidents, infections from breathing in the "steam" from a humidifier have caused pneumonia, flu-like symptoms, and high fever.
Even if you don't see pink mold in your humidifier, you may not be out of danger. Many households use tap water for their humidifiers. Mineral content in tap water creates a white, powdery substance at the bottom of the unit. Inhaling this dust can cause severe lung problems, including injury, even if it happens only once.
For this reason, treating pediatric asthma with a humidifier is not always recommended.
Symptoms of exposure to pink mold
Mold is everywhere. Bacteria are everywhere. They are airborne and like to settle on almost any surface. They have been on our planet for millions of years. Will likely be here for millions more years.
Mold can cause some difficult health symptoms in people who are sensitive to it. If you are sensitive to mold, you may experience throat irritation, nasal congestion, coughing, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Some people have allergic reactions to mold. Their symptoms may become more severe.
Serratia marcescens is not your traditional mold, so it causes other symptoms because it causes an infection instead. There are currently 14 species of bacteria recognized as part of the genus Serratia. Eight of these species are known to cause infections.
Commonly found in homes, pink mold is known to cause infections in hospitals. It may also be involved in up to 50% of urinary tract infections that occur. This pink mold is also the seventh most common cause of pneumonia in the United States, with an incidence rate of 4.1%.
However, unless you are being treated with a medical catheter, your exposure to pink mold will not usually cause these infections.
Although you can inhale Serratia marcescens, your immune system will usually get rid of the bacteria without causing symptoms.
People with weakened immune systems may experience symptoms of lower respiratory tract infection, wound infection or meningitis. It is also a rare cause of keratitis and endocarditis.
Common ways to get rid of pink mold
If you've discovered pink mold in your bathroom, here are three easy ways to kill Serratia marcescensbacteria.
1. Take a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water and then spray the area affected by the pink mold. You need to let the product sit for at least 10 minutes to ensure that the acids in the vinegar can kill the bacteria. 2. Wash affected carpets or your shower curtain in a solution that contains vinegar or a color-safe bleach. You'll want to use your washing machine's heavy cycle, then dry the items on the highest heat setting recommended by the product manufacturer. Some products may need to be dry cleaned. If neither option is available, you may be able to soak the curtain or rugs in the 50/50 vinegar solution for 15 minutes. 3. Take a scrub brush, remove the pink mold, and then wash the affected area.
If you prefer something that smells better than vinegar, try a tea tree oil or lavender essential oil. You can also add a few drops of these essential oils to the fabric softener cycle of your laundry along with a touch of vinegar for antibacterial action.
Lemon juice, lime juice and grapefruit juice are also effective cleaning agents. If you use these items, let the cleaner sit for 20 minutes to make sure the bacteria has been neutralized.
In the case of food that is infested with pink mold, it is best to throw the food away. Do not put these foods in your compost.
Then thoroughly clean the area where the pink mold was found. If pink mold has been around unsealed food items, you should throw those items away as well.
You can also use commercial disinfectants, available over the counter, to remove pink mold. Hydrogen Peroxide. Bleach is the most useful.
Don't use baking soda as a disinfectant. It acts more as a deodorizer, so it does not have a positive effect on pink mold.
In the unlikely event that these steps have not helped you get rid of pink mold, you may be dealing with one of the other sources besides Serratia marcescens. In this case, you can use a standard fungicide product to remove the pink mold in the bathroom, kitchen or other indoor location where it has been discovered.
Click here for more information How to Remove Mold
Tips to avoid pink mold
If you shower daily, make sure your bathroom is properly ventilated. Turn on the fan before you take a shower. Keep the bathroom fan on for at least 30 minutes after showering to avoid moisture buildup.
Try opening the bathroom window to allow more moisture to escape if possible. If opening the window would violate your privacy, leave it open for 30 minutes after showering to keep the pink mold from settling and growing.
Because pink mold likes to grow in damp, dark environments with greasy substances to feed on, it's important to clean your bathtub or shower at least once a week. Use a squeegee to remove any remaining spray and soap residue. You can also use sprays after showering to prevent bacteria growth.
If you prefer to clean your bathroom with DIY methods, you can use the 50/50 spray of vinegar and water after showering or bathing to prevent the growth of pink mold. You can also mix a little tea tree oil with water to create an effective after-shower spray.
To prevent pink mold from forming in the humidifier, wash the components with dish soap and hot water at least once a week. Then use distilled water rather than tap water to reduce the risk of spreading microorganisms throughout the house.
Make sure then that you keep all carpets out of the bathroom. If you use carpets, wash them at least once a week.
A final thought on pink mold
While pink molds are not traditional molds like white mold, red mold, green mold or other species, they have similar growth qualities and health concerns. You should avoid these bacteria if possible.
Your best option is to be proactive and not let it grow. Keep your bathroom clean and dry whenever possible. If you have a dry surface, Serratia marcescensis is unlikely to start growing.
If you discover pink mold, dispose of all food immediately. Then use a disinfectant to clean the area. Wear gloves and a respirator when cleaning to prevent inhaling the bacteria.
For most people, pink mold is more of an inconvenience than a threat. Keep this guide handy if you encounter pink mold in your home to know what to do to get rid of it and then prevent it from growing again in the future.