Help! What are these pink mould stains in my shower?

Posted by smol on



Ever spotted a pink, slimy substance lurking in your shower tray or creeping up from the bottom of your shower curtain? Chances are you have at some point, because pink ‘mould’ is really, really common.

But, here’s the surprising bit. It’s not in fact a mould.

Those pink mould stains in your shower actually come from a bacteria called Serratia Marcescens which is found in water and dirt pretty much everywhere in the world. And because it’s also airborne, it’s very easily blown into our homes on a daily basis.

What causes the pink ‘mould’ to grow in my bathroom? 

Serratia Marcescens LOVES damp places with lots of fatty deposits to munch on… and that’s why it delights in our bathrooms. There’s lots of moisture, plus our soaps and shampoos give it all the fat it needs to feed. And at this point it’s off and running, ready to produce all that strange pink pigment.

Sometimes the staining is just a pale pink whereas othertimes it can develop a blood-red tone (depending on the surface it is growing on and the size of the actual colony). As the colony grows, your shower will get pinker and pinker and the familiar slimy biofilm takes a hold.

Is pink ‘mould’ harmful?

Typically, no.

For the average healthy person it’s not of concern and getting it on your skin is not going to cause a problem.

BUT, this bacteria can sometimes cause issues like urinary tract infections or intestinal issues if they enter the body - for example via an open wound.

Rarely, it can lead to pneumonia but this is only in severe cases and generally is an issue for those with compromised immune systems. 

Of course the pinker your shower gets, the higher your chances of risking these issues.

So, how can I get rid of pink mould in the shower?

pink shower mould in tiles


Just follow our 5 simple steps to banish the bacteria.

  1. Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar into a clean spray bottle. 
  2. Spray the solution on the pink stains - be sure to include the shower tray, curtain, plug hole, shower head and taps.
  3. Leave the solution on the stains for at least 10 minutes. This pesky bacteria will NOT die instantly, so you need to give this stage some time.
  4. Scrub the staining with a soft brush and rinse away with warm water.
  5. Dry with a clean cloth.

Good riddance! And don’t come back! 

Once you’ve cleaned it all away, you’ll also want to ensure it doesn’t reappear. And that means making your bathroom less bacteria-friendly.

Try to reduce humidity and moisture in your bathroom with better ventilation - opening windows and doors or installing an extractor fan. 

Give your shower a quick spritz with smol multi purpose spray after you’ve washed - just to remove any soap or shampoo residue that the bacteria loves to feast on. Squeegees are a great help with this and also remove excess water.

If you use a shower curtain, pop it in your washing machine with a smol capsule once a month on a low temperature wash. 

Fix any shower leaks or dripping taps to cut down any damp conditions so loved by these bacteria.

Clean once more. 

Of course our bathrooms will always attract bacteria and mould but by following the steps above you should be in the clear and that biofilm will be kept at bay.

Want to dip your toes into planet-friendlier cleaning? Claim your FREE refillable cleaning spray. It's a great way to discover why thousands have already made the swap to smol. Cruelty-free & vegan cleaning products that cut carbon, plastic and chemicals AND STILL give results to match the big brands.



Older Post Newer Post