What's black & white & pink all over?
If you guessed your shower curtain, you might just be right. What IS that pink, orangish stuff on the bottom of your shower curtain?? If pink isn't your signature color, why are you decorating with it in your bathroom?
Is it pink shower mold? Pink mildew? Orange mold? Orange mildew?
Close! It's actually:
Serratia marcescens (SM): orangish-pinkish bacteria that develops in the shower and often discolors the shower curtain. It attracts a bathroom similar to mold because it likes to feed off of moisture and mineral deposits.
While the black spots are most likely mold, the orange pink (slightly reddish) portion in your tub is a bacteria, not to be mistaken as mold.
Recent findings suggest that bacteria (or the bacteria load of the home) is every bit of important to the health of the home environment as the mold load is¹.
Other lesser known facts about SM:
It loves watery areas and soap scum (soap or mineral deposits).
It can become airborne.
Bacteria, such as SM, puts out endotoxins (similar to how mold puts out mycotoxins).
If you have an open cut, it's possible to get infected with this bacteria.
Wound infections, eye infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs) and hospital acquired infections (HAIs) can all result from SA.
It's hard to eradicate once it's developed and bleach doesn't kill it (although it removes the pinkish color).
It has become hard to kill and they can survive even in the absence of nutrients. Powerful disinfectants may not fully eradicate it.
Time for a change
If your shower curtain has gone pink, it's best to toss it and replace. You can work to prevent growth on your new curtain and tub area by:
keeping the bathroom environment dry. Make sure there is air movement in the bathroom and run the fan.
removing soap dishes that hold soap bars (they accumulate moisture) & instead using liquid body soap.
keeping your bathroom very clean, especially the tub. Vinegar and baking soda are a great cleaning option to breakdown the scum/mineral deposits SM feeds on.
¹Adams, Mike. Evans, Jeremy. Episode 9 Bet You Didn't Know That Was Mold In Your Bathroom [Podcast]. Retrieved from https://www.mymoldmatters.com/episodes/lnt1157bajtuz85ha1fwlcop2zz2j9-ywj2z
Vocabulary.com [Web Page image]. Retrieved from https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/Serratia%20marcescens