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Have you ever noticed a pale, pink staining in your bathroom; particularly around plug holes, the bases of taps or in the corners of showers? You may have thought this was perhaps the pigment left behind from soap, grout, rust or mould, however you might be surprised to read that it is actually none of those things.

What is that pink residue in a bathroom?

This staining is actually a bacterial biofilm –caused by Serratia Marcescens. Unlike other bacterias which are virtually invisible to the naked eye, this airborne bacteria has the ability to produce a red pigment making it easy to identify when it begins to build up.

As you can imagine, a warm damp bathroom or washroom is the ideal breeding ground for bacteria, and this bacteria in particular has an appetite for your typical washroom products such as soaps and shampoo meaning no matter how often you clean, chances are, it’ll be back within a week or so.

Is it harmful?

Part of the Enterobacteriaceae family, Serratia Marcescents is a species of rod-shaped gram-positive bacteria. It was initially considered harmless however after years of research it is now treated as a pathogen known to cause urinary tract infections, wound infections and even pneumonia. Some strains studied also have many anti-biotic resistant properties meaning they are much harder to kill off.

That being said, the bacterium isn’t generally harmful to healthy people however it is known to be ‘opportunistic’. This means that humans with a weaker immune system such as the sick or elderly can suffer from infections caused by these bacteria.

Why does it keep coming back?

The humid, damp environment of a bathroom or washroom is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Wet surfaces coupled with food sources from bodily waste through to cosmetics means bacteria will rapidly multiply and spread across a surface so regular washroom cleaning is essential.

How to keep the residue at bay:

You’ll notice that it is fairly easy to wipe away the pink residue using a traditional cleaning solution and a good cloth. However, although the visible pink pigment has been removed the bacteria are still lurking in the microscopic indentations of the surface and it wont be long until it creeps back.

The key to keeping the pink slime at bay is with a good biological cleaning solution, specifically formulated for the washroom environment. The ingredients in these products have been carefully selected for their ability to degrade and remove a wide range of residues and soils from a surface.

Pro 4 Biological Washroom Cleaner is a great example of this. The solution is a blend of surfactant technology along with a live, natural probiotic formula. Once sprayed onto a surface the probiotics remove all food sources leaving nothing behind for harmful germs to breed on. Compared to a conventional cleaning product which will either just bleach dirt or temporarily disinfect a surface, probiotics continue to work and protect a surface, keeping it clean and ‘pink reside’ free for longer. Not only that, but biological solutions are natural and 100% biodegradable meaning you’ll reduce your exposure to toxic cleaning chemicals and won’t be leaving behind any residue for bacteria to feed on.

On-going tips to inhibit the spread of pink slime:

  • Ensure bathrooms and washrooms are well ventilated. This includes the use of extraction fans and open windows allowing a flow of clean, fresh air.
  • After each use of a shower or bath make sure the sides are wiped down using a squeegee or sponge to remove soap residues
  • Fix leaky soap dispensers to avoid long-term problems
  • Always clean using a biological product to eliminate all food sources from a surface
  • Along with these tips make sure fabrics and shower curtains are cleaned and replaced regularly. This will go a long way to putting a stop to that pink slime problem.