Pink Residue in Your Shower? What is it and How to Get Rid of It?

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Pink Residue in Your Shower? What Is It and How to Get Rid of It?

Maintaining a sparkling clean bathroom can sometimes seem like an impossible task. After just one use, watermarks and soap scum can undo all of the time and effort you have spent scrubbing and sanitizing your bathroom. This is made even worse when you then throw in the annoying pink residue that so many of us have come across in our bathrooms at one stage or another.

It seems to crop up out of nowhere and before you know it, your shower tray, door, walls, and other bathroom furniture are all playing host to those slimy pink marks. This can be both frustrating and confusing. You’re cleaning your bathroom regularly, and yet you still notice the pink residue returning to your shower basin or walls.

So, what is this pink residue in your shower? Could it be harmful to you and those in your household? What causes it? Is there a way to prevent it from ever coming back?

Well, we’re going to cover all of those questions here. From exactly what is causing these irritating pink marks, to how best to get rid of them and prevent their reoccurrence.

Let’s begin by finding out exactly what it is that we’re dealing with.

What is the Pink Residue in Your Shower and What Causes it?

The pink residue in your shower and bathrooms is often mistaken for mold. In fact, the scientific name for those pink rings or marks is Serratia Marcescens.

Serratia Marcescens is a type of bacteria that grows in warm, damp environments and oxidizes to leave that pink slimy residue in your shower. The bacteria are extremely common and can be found in various locations and carriers including animals, food, and soil. The bathroom is a prime location for Serratia Marcescens to thrive thanks to the mineral and fatty deposits that are left behind by lots of soap products.

This pink residue can be found almost anywhere in the bathroom; shower trays, doors, tiles, grout, baths, sink basins, and toilets are all common areas where Serratia Marcescens can be found. The bacteria are airborne and can quickly spread throughout your bathroom if left untreated.

If removed quickly, the pink residue is generally pretty harmless. It can, however, be dangerous if it enters the body through the mouth, nose, eyes, or any open wounds, and could be harmful to those with compromised immune systems. The potential health risks in extreme cases are thought to include urinary tract infections, breathing difficulties, pneumonia, and meningitis. So, of course, we want to be getting rid of those unsightly pink marks as soon as possible!

As well as being potentially harmful to you and anyone else within your household, the pink marks can actually permanently stain your shower and other bathroom furniture if allowed to grow. Prolonged exposure to this bacteria can cause damage to the surface of the shower and may eventually lead to corrosion, requiring expensive repair work or complete replacement of the shower tray, door, or tiles.  

Related: How to Keep Your Glass Shower Doors Sparkling Without Chemical Cleaners

Getting Rid of the Pink Residue

Getting rid of Serratia Marcescens and its pink, slimy residue is pretty straightforward and can be done without any harmful toxins or chemicals! When aiming to remove harmful bacteria from your home, it simply doesn’t make sense to replace them with equally, if not more, harmful chemical cleaning agents.

The following steps should enable you to get rid of the pink residue in your shower pretty efficiently, and all you’ll need are some basic household products and tools.

1. Spray with Your Choice of Cleaning Solution

Any regular bathroom cleaner will remove most of the pink residue. You could use a store-bought cleaner, in which case, here are some great all-natural, toxin-free, antibacterial soaps and sprays:

  • Dr. Bronner’s Castile Liquid Soap is a great all-around product when it comes to cleaning your home. It can be used for washing dishes, freshening surfaces, cleaning floors, and cleaning and sanitizing your bathroom. It is antibacterial, completely natural, and highly concentrated; when diluted with water a little really goes a long way.

Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Peppermint, 32 ounce, 2-Pack) - Made with Organic Oils, 18-in-1 Uses: Face, Body, Hair, Laundry, Pets and Dishes, Concentrated, Vegan, Non-GMO Dr. Bronner’s – Pure-Castile Peppermint Liquid Soap

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  • Method Bathroom Cleaner is another excellent choice. With plant-based, non-toxic, and biodegradable ingredients, Methods bathroom cleaner is effective and not harmful! It also comes in a convenient spray bottle.

Method Bathroom Cleaner, Eucalyptus Mint, 28 Ounce, 8 pack, Packaging May Vary Method Bathroom Cleaner – Eucalyptus Mint

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Sun & Earth All Purpose Cleaner, Light Citrus, Pack of 6, 132.0 Fl Oz Sun & Earth All Purpose Cleaner – Light Citrus

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Alternatively, you could make your own DIY cleaning solution using just vinegar and water. Mix equal parts white vinegar and lukewarm water in a clean spray bottle and give it a quick shake to mix. White vinegar has antibacterial properties and is also a natural deodorizer, so it’s great for cleaning bathrooms. This is an extremely cheap option and is also suitable for use all over the home.

Whatever you choose to use, spray a generous amount over the affected area. Fully saturate the pink residue and the surrounding area and then leave to soak for a minimum of ten minutes. This should be long enough for the cleaning agents to penetrate the bacteria and begin to lift the residue away from your shower surface.

2. Scrub with a Soft Bristle Brush or Slightly Abrasive Sponge

Once the cleaning solution has soaked into the stain, go in with a soft brush or sponge to lightly scrub away the pink residue. The slimy film should come away pretty easily.

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
Top Choice
Natural Plant-Based Scrub Sponge by Scrub-it
Natural Plant-Based Scrub Sponge by Scrub-it
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SCRUBIT Cellulose Scrub SpongeSCRUBIT Cellulose Scrub Sponge
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Zwipes Microfiber Kitchen and Bathroom Cleaning Sponges
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If, after scrubbing the surface, there is still some pink residue left on the shower, repeat steps one and two.

Be sure to wear gloves when scrubbing or touching the area! You don’t want to risk getting it into any cuts or grazes on your skin. It’s also important to make sure that you don’t touch any other surfaces while wearing the gloves as this is a surefire way of spreading the bacteria further throughout your home.

3. Spray Again with the Antibacterial Cleaning Agent

Once you have scrubbed off most of the pink residue and removed any suds, give the area another spritz with your chosen cleaning solution to make sure any leftover bacteria is eliminated. It’s a good idea to spray the surrounding areas as well to make sure there are no leftover particles or bacteria lingering in the vicinity.

4. Wipe Off with a Dry Microfiber Cloth or Towel

Finally, give the entire area a wipe-over with a clean, dry cloth or towel. Microfiber cloths are great for picking up any remaining residue or dirt particles.

Our Top Pick
E-Cloth General Purpose Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
  • High-quality microfiber
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Our favorite microfiber cloths for use around the home are the general purpose clothes from E-Cloth. Whether you're wiping down the kitchen table, countertops, or scrubbing just about any other surface in your house, these clothes are effective, durable, and affordable. Over the course of a year, you'll save a huge amount of money on paper towels and cleaning solutions, plus you can keep the chemicals out of your home.

You should now be left with a gleaming shower, free from any unsightly or potentially harmful pink marks.

If you find that beneath the surface of the pink mark you have discoloration or damage to the finish or surface of your shower, things can become a little more difficult.

When left to grow and sit on a surface for a long time, Serratia Marcescens can cause permanent damage that is unlikely to be repaired by simply cleaning the area. If this is the case, you may need to seek professional help to figure out whether the shower can be salvaged.

Preventing the Problem in the Future

The best way to prevent lasting damage to your shower or bathroom furniture is by cleaning frequently and removing any pink marks or residue as soon as possible.

Of course, not everyone has the time or desire to carry out a deep clean of their entire bathroom every day, but try to keep your eye out for any pink marks and give them a quick spray and a scrub as soon as they appear. This way, you’ll avoid any staining or corrosion to your shower or bathroom furniture, and could save yourself a considerable amount of money on expensive replacements.

Most people find that these irritating pink marks tend to reoccur pretty often in similar places. They’ll crop up most often where there is a lot of water and soap scum. After showering, give the entire shower a rinse with some hot water, and then use a squeegee to remove any residual water and prevent pooling in the bottom of the shower or tub. This should prevent or at least delay the growth of Serratia Marcescens.

It’s also important to always use an extractor fan in your bathroom to prevent too much moisture from being left in the room after showering. A dehumidifier can also help with this, or you could simply leave your windows open. It really all comes down to removing as much moisture as possible and cleaning your bathroom regularly to avoid pink residue in your shower.

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
Top Choice
Kesnos 70 Pint Dehumidifier
Kesnos 70 Pint Dehumidifier
  • Able to handle removing moisture in large spaces, up to 4500 Sq Ft 
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hOmeLabs Dehumidifier
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Honeywell Energy Star DehumidifierHoneywell Energy Star Dehumidifier
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Final Thoughts on Pink Residue in Your Shower? What is it and How to Get Rid of It?

The pink residue in your shower caused by Serratia Marcescens is both unpleasant to look at and extremely irritating to clean. It is a regular occurrence for lots of people and unfortunately, it’s something that requires constant maintenance to prevent.

The good news is, in most cases, if these pink marks are dealt with quickly and effectively, they’re typically not too difficult to remove. With a little elbow grease and some basic household products or ingredients, you can get rid of the pink residue and have a sparkling clean bathroom in no time.