What Causes Pink Mold In Your Bathroom?

It's nothing to be scared of—well, most of the time.

Have you ever stepped foot into a bathroom and noticed something strange? Something slimy and growing in the bathroom sink or along the shower that appears to be…pink? While it seems like a good reason to call the Ghostbusters (or at least step out of the bathroom and go re-watch the movie), the reality is much less supernatural. That pink slime or residue is most likely Serratia marcescens and it's nothing to be scared of—well, most of the time. Here's what causes pink mold and how to get rid of it.

What Is Pink Mold?

Serratia marcescens is an airborne bacterium or mold that grows in the dampest places in your home, like shower stalls, bathtubs, bathroom tiles, toilets, sinks, toothbrush holders, and kitchen faucets. It is a natural bacteria that gets stirred up in the air, lands in wet areas, and starts building colonies of pink slime in your bathtub or somewhere worse. An Inside Edition investigation into a home in Blacksburg, Virginia, found pink slime inside the water tap on a refrigerator, and it could have infiltrated into the family's drinking water. Yikes.

Bathroom Sink Drain
Getty/Eshma

Is Pink Mold Dangerous?

Not only does this pink slime look gross, but according to the Family Handyman website, it "has been known to cause pneumonia, wound infections and urinary tract infections in hospital settings, so it's important to get rid of it." Spotting the pink slime around the house doesn’t mean you and your family are in danger. According to Forbes Home, touching the pink mold doesn’t pose health risks for most healthy people, but you don’t want it to enter open wounds where it can lead to infection. Either way, you're probably going to want to clean it up because no one wants pink slime in the bathroom even if it matches the decor.

How to Get Rid of Pink Mold

Luckily, it is very easy to clean. Simply, grab some gloves and your favorite disinfectant or plain old white vinegar and warm water. Scrub the area, apply a disinfectant, scrub the area again, rinse, pat the area dry, and do your best to keep it dry and well-ventilated. If you're concerned about the water coming from your refrigerator tap, Dr. Joseph Falkinham, a professor of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech University, told Inside Edition that simply changing the water filter in the fridge "much more frequently" would suffice. See? Nothing to be scared of.

How to Prevent Pink Mold

To keep pink mold from coming back, make sure to keep surfaces dry. Use a squeegee or towel after showering to remove moisture from the walls. Close the shower curtain to let it fully dry between uses, and turn on the exhaust fan while you shower. Give the shower or bathtub a weekly cleaning to remove soap scum and traces of shampoo, conditioner, and liquid soap, which feed the bacteria and speed up their growth. 

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