Pink Mold

Quick Summary

Pink mold, also called Aureobasidium pullaria, is an allergenic mold found in high-moisture areas. It’s important to protect your property from pink mold by taking necessary steps to safely remove and prevent it from growing. 

About Pink Mold

Aureobasidium pullaria fungi or pink mold is most commonly found on caulk and damp window frames, in bathrooms, on shower curtains and in toilets and sinks due to the humid environment these areas create.

Pink mold isn’t always pink. It can also look brown or black, meaning it’s easily confused with other species of mold, like black mold or aspergillus mold

It’s also often mistaken for a type of bacteria called Serratia marcescens, which produces a slimy red pigment. This bacterial growth typically occurs when there’s a buildup of shampoo or soap residue in the shower, causing a pink or red biofilm to form.

Like all molds, pink mold carries certain health risks with long-term exposure. The most common health problems are eye, nail and skin infection or rash. While anyone can experience an allergic reaction, infants and the elderly are more likely to develop severe symptoms. Additionally, pets can become sick by ingesting or being exposed to it.

It’s best to avoid touching any kind of mold directly unless wearing gloves.

Where Does Pink Mold Grow?

Pink mold grows in high-moisture areas and is commonly found growing on perpetually damp surfaces. Places where moisture tends to collect and isn’t normally wiped up become the best breeding grounds.

Here are some examples of the specific places you’ll found pink mold:

  • Along tile grout lines and in the corners of bathtubs and showers
  • On vinyl or plastic shower curtains (look for pink stains)
  • Inside toilets and sinks
  • On or underneath bath mats
  • Behind wall-mounted bathroom mirrors and cabinets
  • On wallpaper in bathrooms and kitchens
  • On the caulking and weatherstripping of window sills
  • Under kitchen sinks, countertops or inside cabinets
  • Inside dishwashers and washing machines
  • Inside unemptied dehumidifiers or air conditioners

It’s also possible to find it on the floor, collecting around a condensating toilet or within carpet in high-moisture areas. Check for leaks or surfaces that have been left wet for an extended time.

Is Pink Mold Dangerous?

All mold may be hazardous to your health if you are exposed long term. Because of how common pink mold is and how quickly it flourishes, it’s easy for people to come into contact with it regularly.

Pink mold isn’t immediately harmful to most healthy adults. It’s more dangerous to infants, children and the elderly. People with compromised immune systems may be affected since the body isn’t able to defend itself from infection. Pets may also react to it, either in the air or through digestion.

Beware of the following pink mold symptoms and illnesses:

  • Allergic reactions like coughing, sneezing, eye irritations and skin rash
  • Pneumonia and bronchitis due to prolonged lung inflammation
  • Bladder infections and urinary tract infections (UTI)
  • Respiratory tract infection
  • Gastrointestinal ailments like stomach ache, nausea and diarrhea

Pink mold exposure symptoms vary from mild to severe. For example, chronic exposure to pink mold in a humidifier may lead to pneumonitis (lung inflammation), which can increase your risk for other pulmonary problems, including lung and heart failure. Infections, like UTIs, occur when you come into contact with it, and it infiltrates open wounds or orifices.

Pink Mold Removal

While it’s difficult to wipe out pink mold or slime completely, you can keep it at bay by applying a disinfectant to a thoroughly cleaned surface. A spray bottle solution of baking soda and dish soap, along with a scrub brush, will help remove it from surfaces. After cleanup, sanitize the area with bleach or biocide to ensure any remaining spores left over do not spread.

If you decide to tackle mold removal yourself, avoid direct contact and always wear protective gear, including:

  • Gloves
  • Eye protection, like goggles or safety glasses
  • A fine-particulate dust mask or N95 respirator
  • Rubber boots
  • Disposable coveralls

Mold spores can become dislodged and attach themselves to your clothing, so disposable coveralls are recommended. When finished with mold removal, thoroughly disinfect your PPE. Even one leftover mold spore can breed a new colony if given the right conditions.

It’s relatively easy to remove mold from non-porous surfaces like tubs and tiles but with a fair amount of scrubbing effort. However, it’s more difficult, and often impossible, to remove it from porous surfaces like drywall and carpet. Those materials usually need to be removed and replaced.

For extensive cases, it’s best to call a mold remediation professional to help remove it safely and implement a plan to prevent future issues. Mold remediation specialists know how to remove pink mold using the proper tools to use and cleaning products. Trained professionals follow disposal measures to safely and effectively get rid of pink mold.

Preventing Pink Mold

The easiest way to prevent pink mold growth is to inhibit the conditions that cause it to grow in the first place. Controlling humidity and improving air flow drastically reduce the moisture buildup that mold needs to thrive.

Here are some tips on keeping pink mold at bay:

  • Monitor humidity levels and keep them below 60%
  • Towel dry or squeegee shower and bathtub walls and doors
  • Remove soap and shampoo residue from surfaces
  • Remove soap scum every two weeks
  • Wash and dry shower curtains and bathmats monthly and replace plastic shower liners regularly
  • Turn on the bathroom fan before a shower and leave it on for 20 minutes after
  • Identify and fix leaks promptly

Hiring Pink Mold Removal Services

Following regular cleaning practices and prevention methods will help stop mold growth from becoming a recurring problem. Reducing humidity levels and regularly inspecting for pink mold will help ensure your bathroom and kitchen remain mold-free.

If you have tried mold removal yourself, but it continues to return, it may be time to seek professional help. Pink mold removal costs will depend upon the extent of mold growth and prices in your local area.

Author:
Water Damage Advisor

The Water Damage Advisor content team is made up of multiple contributors, writers, and editors. We are your resource hub for anything related to water damage, mold and restoration needs that you may be challenged with facing.

4 References
  1. INSPQ. (2020). Aureobasidium Pullans. https://www.inspq.qc.ca/en/moulds/fact-sheets/aureobasidium-pullulans?themekey-theme=desktop
  2. Antibiotic Resistance. (2016). Serratia Marcescens. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/serratia-marcescens
  3. Clean Water Solutions. (2017). Pink Mold Facts: Its Danger and Removal Solution. https://cleanwaterpartners.org/mold/pink-mold/
  4. Look Mold. (2019). Detect. https://lookmold.com/detect
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