What is this pink slime?

Have you ever seen a pink substance in your bathroom toilet, shower, or tile? Don’t be alarmed, you’re not alone. Many homeowners experience this issue. What is it? It is known as serratia marcescens, otherwise known as “pink slime”. It is an airborne bacterium, not harmful to humans or pets, with an abundant supply in our environment. The bacteria will grow in wet areas, such as bathtubs, toilets, sinks, and tiles, with materials containing phosphorus or fatty substances. It is more commonly seen in the summer months when windows are open and the air has moisture. The bottom line, it’s a complete nuisance.

It is thought by many homeowners that the reddish pink stain is iron in the water. The pinkish stain can be wiped away with a cloth, its “pink slime”, in contrast to iron staining, which will not wipe away, leaving an orange, brownish color. It is also simpler to remove iron from the water and eliminate staining than to eliminate this “pink slime”. Is it possible to completely eliminate “pink slime” from areas in the home? No. Why? No matter how much you manage the bacteria, it will continue to show up due to its plentiful supply in the air. If you have this issue, it’s best to maintain the nuisance.

Here are ways to maintain or keep up with the pinkish staining:
1. Wipe it away when it first shows on the bathtub, toilet, tile, or other areas.
2. It is suggested to mix one part each water and vinegar, spray the solution onto the surface and let sit for 10 minutes to break down the bacteria. Scrub away the “pink slime”
3. For a shower curtain, place the shower curtain in the wash machine with a few towels and mild detergent. Hang curtain to dry.
4. For a toilet tank, add a ¼ cup of bleach to the toilet tank. Let sit for 15-20 minutes, then flush the toilet 2-3 times.

Take the time to control serratia marcescens with a bit of elbow grease and your time. Although, it’s impossible to completely remove the “pink slime”, know you’re not the only homeowner dealing with this annoyance.