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Mold, Slime, Sludge: What's In My Shower?

We've all been there. You hop in your shower or bath with luxurious hopes of relaxing in the warm water it provides. Once your in-house oasis is ready, you step into the tub. You reach for your shampoo when you suddenly notice something pink. Or maybe it's green, or even black. No matter the color, it's alarming because you just know the sludge shouldn't be there.

So, what is this mysterious intruder? How can you get rid of it? That's where we can help! Here's the breakdown:


What Is It? The pink film or slime that you find in your shower is one of two things. It is either an airborne bacterial called Serratia marcescens, or something called methylobacterium.

Is It Dangerous? Serratia marcescens can be dangerous, as it is known to cause UTIs, wound infections, and even pneumonia in some cases. Methylobacterium, on the other hand, is generally harmless. It might stir up a few minor allergies, but not much more.

How Do I Fix It? We suggest treating all pink foreign substances like Serratia marcescens, just to land on the safe side. Clean it with a disinfectant (such as bleach) and let it air dry OR try this: clean the spot and its surrounding area with a paste made from baking soda (1/2 cup), dish soap (1 TBS), and a bit of water. Scrub the spot with a bristle brush covered with your paste, then rinse. When that's done you can spray your shower with a mix of water and white vinegar. Let it sit for 10 minutes, rinse again, and then towel dry your shower!


What Is It? If your slime is orange, than it's developed. Orange is an indicator that the serratia marcescens has gone undetected long enough to mature. Gross.

Is It Dangerous? Yes. It can produce the same issues we mentioned above with serratia marcescens.

How Do I Fix It? See solution under "pink film". Again, it's just a longer-standing version of your pink film.


What Is It? You're not going to want to hear this, but what you are looking at is black mold. Black mold thrives in damp, warm environments, just like your bathroom shower. Be very careful when dealing with this one.

Is It Dangerous? While not every splotch of black mold you see should be panic-inducing, you out to take precautions here. Some black mold can be extraordinarily dangerous.

How Do I Fix It? Honestly, call a professional to do it. As we mentioned, not all black mold is dangerous, you don't want to take chances with this stuff. Have a professional test it out, and if it isn't dangerous you can then move forward with cleaning it yourself. Otherwise, let them take care of the issue.

Did you get the green light to do it yourself? Great! Clean the stains with a solution of equal parts water and bleach. Spray the shower down and scrub the gunk off. To prevent the problem from reoccurring, spray the finished product with white vinegar and let it dry.


As always, be sure to add your shower to your cleaning list. While most gunk turns out to be shampoo, soap, or water stains, you can occasionally run into some of these unwanted intruders.

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