Pink Mold - How Dangerous & Toxic Is It

By: Licensed Mold Assessor Brad Fishbein

August 7, 2018

Pink, it’s your favorite color.

However, if you have pink mold in your home, you don’t like it very much.

Pink mold is very common to show up in bathrooms if they haven’t been cleaned for an extended period of time.

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But can pink mold harm you?

we are going to explore that and everything else you need to know about pink mold, so let’s get to it.

Pink Mold In The Shower What Is It Really?

Pink mold tends to show up on the grout, shower doors and curtains.

It’s usually slimy or fuzzy.

Yummy, right?

Well, I got news for...

It’s not actually mold!

That’s right, it’s actually bacteria.

For the sake of this article we will refer to it as pink mold. The name of the bacteria is called Serratia marcescens.

So why does this bacteria only accumulate in the shower?

It’s because it uses soap scum as a food source. It loves dark and wet places.

This is why it is important to clean your shower.

Is Pink Mold Harmful?


Pink mold is bacteria so yes, it can absolutely be harmful.

This is especially true for people who’s immune system may be compromised. Healthy person or generally not get very sick right away from being exposed to “pink mold”.

Some reported health effects for people exposed to pink mold include :

upper respiratory infections urinary tract infections headaches Skin irritation Coughing

Bottom line is:

You don’t want pink mold in the bathroom or anywhere else in your home.

How To Clean Pink Mold

Good news:

Removing pink mold does not require full fledged mold remediation when in the bathroom.

It is not so much removing as it is cleaning.

Pink mold can grow pretty quickly, especially in the shower because...

Well, showers get extremely wet.

It be overkill, but you should wear proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when cleaning pink mold.

This may require:

  • an N-95 respirator
  • Rubber gloves
  • Shoes

You can check out our guide for removing mold in the bathroom for a step by step approach to cleaning bathroom mold. This doesn’t just apply to mold that is pink as it is common to find other mold colors in bathrooms.

For shower curtains, it is best if you just discard it and replace it when pink mold starts appearing.

How To Prevent Pink Mold In The Shower

The best defense to pink mold is without a question preventing it in the first place.

I understand:

Cleaning can be a pain and not everyone can afford to hire a cleaning lady.

But here’s the thing:

With just a couple of minutes every few days or so you can truly prevent pink mold from appearing in the bathroom.

Limiting The Amount Of Standing Water

When you take a shower, usually you get right out not worrying about excess moisture in the the shower.

If you were to just use a small squeegee and push the standing water down the drain, it can make a difference.

Use Spray And Walk Away Cleaners

There are now cleaners were you can just spray and it will prevent soap scum and bacteria from building up in the shower.

You don’t have to do any wiping, you simply just walk away!

You can also do the same thing by putting vinegar in a spray bottle with lukewarm water. Vinegar will kill most bathroom mold.

Use The Ventilation Fan

Most modern homes will have ventilation fans in the bathroom.

Ventilation allows your bathroom to breathe.

Keep this fan running for about 20 minutes after you shower and it will do wonders.

Pink Mold On Food

Pink mold will also rear its dirty little head on some food.

Most of the time it will appear on dairy products, specifically cheese and yogurt.

Well theoretically you could probably just cut out the pink areas and still eat the affected food, but I sure as heck wouldn’t recommend it!

There’s a reason why there’s an expiration date on all dairy items. They have short shelf lives.

Remember, pink mold is an actually mold and it’s bacteria. Do you really want to eat something that had possibly harmful bacteria on it? I didn’t think so...

Take Pink Mold Seriously!


I’m not saying you’re going to drop dead on contact with pink mold, but you should take it very seriously especially if you are prone to get sick more than the average person.

If you see pink mold outside of the bathroom on other building materials throughout the home mixed with other color molds, you simply need to stop and call a mold specialist immediately!

Meet the author: Brad Fishbein is an ACAC council-certified Microbial Investigator. In the fall of 2012, he became a Licensed Mold Assessor in the State of Florida through the Department of Business & Professional Regulation. Brad has helped homeowners with over 5,000 successfully completed Mold Inspections since 2009.

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