Shower walls tend to collect all sorts of gunk and growth, including pink mold. Pink may be pretty in some situations, but it's not something you want in your bathroom. Fortunately, this mold – which isn't really mold at all – is relatively easy to remove, so you can get back to a sparkling clean bathroom.
What Is Pink Mold?
You've seen the pink or red mold in the shower, but what is it? It may look like mold, but it's actually a biofilm caused by the bacteria Serratia marcescens. This type of bacteria is airborne, and it loves moisture, which makes your shower walls a prime target for a bacterial colony to grow. Soap scum can add to the problem, as the bacteria feeds on it.
Even though it's generally called pink, this type of biofilm actually gets its color from a reddish pigment. The actual color can range from light pink to dark red and can even sometimes look orange.
Is Pink Mold Dangerous?
Pink mold is generally harmless, especially if you're healthy overall. If you rub up against it in the shower, you likely won't have issues. However, if it gets into your body through your eyes or wounds, it may cause health issues, particularly in people who already have weakened immune systems. Possible issues include urinary tract infections, bladder infections and pneumonia.
Another issue is the cosmetic damage. If you don't remove the pink slime in the shower and other bathroom areas, it can stain the surfaces permanently. That leaves your bathroom looking grimy no matter how much you scrub it.
Methods of Removing Pink Mold
Pink mold is relatively easy to remove with cleaners you already have or with household supplies. Cleaners with chlorine bleach in them can help remove the pink stuff in the shower. Spray on the cleaner and allow it to sit for a while. Use a scrub brush to help remove the biofilm, but avoid using anything too abrasive, as it can cause tiny scratches that leave more spots for bacteria to grow.
If you don't want to use commercial cleaners, you can make a paste from four parts baking soda to one part dish detergent. Scrub in the paste and rinse well. You can also use a mix of equal parts vinegar and water, allowing it to soak in before scrubbing. Rinse well after you remove all of the bacteria.
It's also a good idea to wash your shower curtain if it's washable. For a vinyl shower curtain, try spraying the cleaner and scrubbing just like you clean the walls of the shower.
Preventing Pink Mold
Now that you've cleaned up the existing pink stains in shower areas, it's time to prevent them from returning. Disinfecting your shower surfaces helps to get rid of any leftover bacteria that you can't see so it doesn't start growing again. Spray a mix of bleach and water on the walls and leave it for about 10 minutes. Scrub the surfaces with a brush and rinse it well.
You can also prevent the pink or red mold in shower areas by keeping the surfaces as dry as possible since the bacteria like damp areas. A squeegee or a towel works well to dry the walls after each use. Running the exhaust fan during and after showers helps cut down on overall moisture in the bathroom.
It's also a good idea to remove soap scum or any residue from soap and shampoo to eliminate the food for the bacteria. Wipe away the fresh residue with a wet paper towel when you see it. Use shower cleaner or equal parts of vinegar and warm water plus a little dish soap to clean the walls on a regular basis to remove additional soap scum.
Shelley Frost combines her love of DIY and writing in her freelance career. She has first-hand experience with tiling, painting, refinishing hardwood floors, installing lighting, roofing and many other home improvement projects. She keeps her DIY skills fresh with regular projects around the house and extensive writing work on the topic.