Easily distinguished by its pinkish orange colour, pink mould can easily work its way into your bathroom and the rest of your home if not treated correctly, and can pose a health risk. Unlike its counterparts, there are a few distinctions between pink mould and other common household moulds that are important to take into consideration.
Finding pink mould in your home is never a good sign, however, by understanding what it is, its risks and how to treat and prevent it, you can begin to take action against it. So let’s take a look into understanding what pink mould is and what can be done about it.
What is pink mould?
Also known as Serratia Marcescens, pink mould, despite its name, is actually classified as a bacteria and is commonly caused by a buildup of soap or shampoo residue left in the shower or bathroom. However, there are several types of pink mould that can also be found around the home with different appearances and health risks.
Like the rest of its fungi counterparts, pink mould thrives in moist, warm environments if not caught and treated accordingly. Despite its name, pink mould can also appear with an orange, yellow, or sometimes even with a grey tinge to it and easily spreads in environments with inadequate ventilation.
As a bacteria, pink mould is most likely to spread when there is already a buildup of bacteria when the area is not regularly cleaned or dried out. Pink mould grows in areas where there are high levels of fatty substances. So, sinks, bathroom mats, showers and bathtubs are all common places in which a build up of scum, or soap residue can quickly turn into the perfect breeding ground.
Having pink mould does not cause any immediate health risks, however, for those who have underlying health conditions are at more of a risk than others. With that being said, if left untreated, pink mould has a higher chance of causing harm and can be harder to treat and eradicate the longer it is left to linger.
Are there different types of pink mould?
Yes. There are three different types of pink mould that can be found within the home:
This is the most common type of pink mould and is most commonly found in bathrooms, toilets and showers. It is, however, a strain of bacteria, not a fungus. It is pink or orange in texture and can easily spread between bathroom tiles, sinks, toilets or showers where there is a buildup of soap scum or other bacteria. S. Marcescens also can be found in the water lines of toilets and showers while also being known to make an appearance on floors and cabinets.
Another common variant of pink mould, and while it still is often found in bathrooms, it is more likely found on organic matter such as house plants and wooden window frames. In its early stages, A. Pullulans can appear a light pinkish or yellow colour, maturing to a darker brown or black colour with grey edges.
This variant is the least common pink mould and is not usually found within the home. If it does appear within the home, it will likely appear on household plants, or even on wallpaper or carpets.
How to remove pink mould
Because Serratia Marcescens is a bacteria, there are a few common household products that can help remove pink mould:
Vinegar: Mix a 50/50 ratio of water and vinegar into a spray bottle, shake well, spray onto the mould and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before scrubbing it clean.
If pink mould is found on your clothes or shower curtains, then you can wash them (preferably on a heavy duty cycle) with a solution including vinegar, bleach and your regular washing detergent.
Bleach: Mix a 1:10 ratio of bleach and water and scrub onto the mould for removal or mix in a small amount of colour-safe bleach to your washing machine to thoroughly wash clothing, curtains and fabrics.
Tea tree oil: Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your washing detergent along with a small amount of vinegar to act as an antibacterial agent.
If you have found pink mould on your food, then the best thing to do is to throw the food away in its entirety. Make sure you throw the food in the bin, do not throw it into the compost as the bacteria will sink into the soil.
If you have a recurring pink mould problem or need a more long term solution, then it is best to seek out a professional mould removalist.
Is pink mould harmful?
Because pink mould is often found in bathrooms, it can easily pose a health risk due to it being a place of hygienic upkeep. The nature of pink mould can become dangerous if it enters into your system through an open wound, your toothbrush and contact lenses. Furthermore, if breathed in over long periods of time, it can also cause respiratory issues.
Pink mould is not immediately harmful, however, if left untreated can cause health problems, especially for those who have underlying health conditions. Pink mould can be known to cause infections in the respiratory tract or in the urinary tract, however these are extremely rare cases and will only tend to occur with people in poor health.
More serious risks of overexposure of pink mould can include lung infection, inflammation, rashes if it makes contact with broken skin or enters your system.
Pink mould also has a tendency to grow in contact lenses, so be sure to store these out of the bathroom if you are aware of pink mould growing in the bathroom. If your bathroom has pink mould be sure to cover any cuts or wounds to prevent the mould coming into contact with broken skin. Pink mould can also grow in humidifiers, which can allow it to travel airborne throughout the home.
In any case, pink mould can be dangerous if left untreated. If you notice pink mould growing around the home or the bathroom, it’s important to take action to eradicate the pink mould as soon as you see it. Pink mould can be tricky to completely get rid of, so if you are unsure about how to best treat pink mould, seek out a team of professionals for advice and a treatment plan.
Can pink mould affect your health?
For those with healthy immune systems, pink mould is generally harmless unless it works its way into your system.
For those with underlying health conditions, pink mould has been associated with infections, gastrointestinal distress and other respiratory issues.
Commonly, symptoms of breathing in any kind of mould can include:
- Eye irritations
- Allergic reactions
- Coughing or sneezing
- Skin rashes
Those with underlying health conditions such as allergies, asthma, cystic fibrosis, can suffer from more serious symptoms. If you are experiencing severe reactions to mould exposure, please contact your GP or healthcare professional.
When to Call a Mould Removal Professional?
Whether it’s a bacteria or fungus, pink mould will easily find its way into your home if it is not regularly cleaned or aerated and can be tricky to eradicate once it’s found.
If you are afraid of mould becoming a problem in your home and are looking for a long-term solution, be sure to call upon a professional team to help you. The MouldMen team will inspect, treat, and provide you with a Mould Management and Prevention Plan to ensure that your home is kept safe and free from mould. Call us on 1300 60 59 60 or click on the link below to book your free inspection today.