Pink Mold in Humidifiers – Is It Concerning?

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With the advancement of technology, we have seen the development of many gadgets that help improve the quality of life in our surroundings. One such gadget is the Air Humidifier. These maintain the air humidity keeping the air from getting too dry. But like many gadgets, this comes with some caveats as well.

Humidifiers are really helpful for people with certain medical conditions. Humidifiers help with bloody noses. The water container of humidifiers gathers a mold-like structure, which can cause problems. It can be of many colors, like a beautifully disgusting rainbow. Pink mold in humidifiers is one such coagulant material.

This is not as harmful as its black counterpart, but its existence should not be taken lightly.

What Is the Pink Stuff in My Humidifier?

Finding pink mold in a humidifier can be a cause for caution as it may put your health in jeopardy, so let’s discuss and try to understand what it is.

Pink Mold in humidifiers

There are mainly three types of pink mold.

1. Serratia Marcescens: This is the first type of pink mold; though it looks like a mold, it is a form of bacteria. This type of mold can also turn in orange color, and areas of the house are prone to dampness other than humidifiers.

2. Aureobasidium Pullulans: Are the second type of pink mold commonly found in humidifiers. And unlike the first mold, this one is an actual fungus. Although it initially is pink, it takes on a darker shade of brown or grey with time.

3. Fusarium: This third type of mold is rare to find in households, but if found, it can, later on, spread to various other areas of your house.

Why Does My Humidifier Turn Pink?

For those of you who’re wondering how this cute yet hazardous to health mold gets into your humidifiers, there are a few factors that contribute to this.

Why Does My Humidifier Turn Pink

The cleanliness of the water used, the number of bacteria present already in the humidifier, the usage of humidifier between each replacement of water, etc., contribute to whether the humidifier will form pink mold or not.

It takes about 24-48 hours for molds to start forming inside your humidifier. So, if you’re finding pink mold in your humidifier, you need to step up your housekeeping game.

Is Pink Mold Harmful?

Pink molds are nothing alarming that would require any high-tech equipment to keep under control or for you to call specialists to clean your home appliances. These are not as worse as black molds, but that doesn’t mean we should consider these being safe.

Is Pink Mold Harmful

Long-term exposure to pink mold can cause respiratory complications, heart problems, urine infection, and intestinal issues due to the growth of this bacteria.

For those who already suffer from similar health problems, this mold will only help to amplify those problems. If left unattended, these will soon become a volatile threat to your health and well-being.

1. Serratia Marcescens

does not concern for those with good health. However, it is of great caution for those with health problems. If you have someone who wears lenses, make them aware of pink mold spreading into their lens. Serratia marcescens can cause severe infection if exposed to open wounds, keeping with its role as an opportunistic infection.

2. Aureobasidium pullulans

are a threat to your health when exposed to them for the long term. These molds are usually undetectable, and they float around the house quite well. So it may be weeks before you notice. Long exposure to these molds can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis, also known as ‘humidifier lungs,’ which causes cough, difficulty breathing, and fever.

3. Despite Fusarium

being quite harmless for those with a good immune system, you should be aware of this getting into your eyes, nose, or toenails. As for those with a weak immune system, avoiding fusarium at all costs is necessary.

Pink Mold in Humidifier

Among the molds, we discussed the most common one you are most likely to find in your humidifier: Aureobasidium pullulan. These molds stay unseen to the human eye and spread around the house quite easily without anyone’s notice.

This mold can cause troubled breathing in you and also cough. So if you find yourself or anyone in the house with the symptoms, you might want to check your humidifier for pink mold.

The breathing problems you might face are due to the inflammation of the lungs from the mold infection and could cause permanent scarring to your lungs. The hypersensitivity pneumonitis caused by this mold is not contagious, so the development of this disease can easily be traced back to your humidifier. And with such discovery, it is obligatory to remove any sign of pink mold found in the entire house.

How Do I Get Rid Of Pink Mold In My Humidifier?

So, now you know what is this pink mold in a humidifier and how it is formed, so you want to know how to get rid of it. If the size and spread of the mold are small and in an easily accessible area and you are a healthy person, you can remove the pink mold by yourself.

But if it has spread a lot and you have a health problem, it’s better to call a professional, consult a licensed mold remediation specialist and be precise with all the data you have.

If you think that the mold is still under control and you can handle it yourself, be sure to wear gloves, goggles, and an N-95 particulate mask, to ensure your protection. Avoid using soap and water only as these are quite ineffective in the case of removing molds; using any other household cleaner can prove to be more effective than this.

Here’s a way you can clean your humidifier off of pink molds quite easily-

  • Vacuum: Make sure to use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter attached to it. Use this vacuum cleaner to clear out the unnecessary bits of the pink mold and reduce the amount floating into the air that might potentially be hazardous to others.

How Do I Get Rid Of Pink Mold

  • Cleaning Chemical: Check your manufacturers’ description of allowed cleaning chemicals usable on the machine for this one.

Vinegar

Bleach solutions are the way to kill off any type of mold or bacteria. Still, some manufacturers instruct not to use this chemical as it is inherently quite powerful and may end up damaging the machine’s surface or even internals.

Vinegar or hydrogen peroxide is a good alternative to bleach. These are relatively less powerful than bleach and, as a result, do not harm the internals or the externals of the machine, so these are safe to use.

  • Removing the mold: Use a spraying bottle or a bucket and sponge to spray or clean the humidifier. Use a generous amount of cleaner to soak the container and leave it for an hour. After an hour, the mold should be softened up and oxidized enough. Clean the container with a mold and then rinse it with warm water.

Item for cleaning Humidifier

After you’ve cleaned the container, be sure to dry it properly before using it again.

  • Others: Although biocides are available for remediation of molds, these are not advisable to be used at home. These are very powerful and may cause harm to your health if used in a closed environment like your home.

Prevention of Pink Mold in Humidifier

Pink mold is not a matter to panic about, but it’s also better to avoid. Since the long exposure to these is in no way healthy. To prevent the further manifestation of pink mold in the humidifier, you should try to develop some healthy habits like-

Prevention of Pink Mold in Humidifier

  1. Make sure the water you put in your humidifier tank is pure, and if not, purify it properly.
  2. Change your humidifier’s water every day, even if the water looks clean. This will reduce the chance of mold formation in the water tank of your humidifier.
  3. Check near the humidifier base; this spot is often the starting point for mold formation. Suppose you have used a brush with the desired cleaner to remove debris and build-up safely.
  4. Use warm water to clean your filters. These also need to be cleaned regularly, and use a towel to soak up water and moisture and dry it properly before re-use. Avoid cleaning chemicals to clean your filter as they may damage the filter.
  5. Apart from the humidifier, develop a habit of regularly spraying a light layer of vinegar on areas that may favor the formation of pink mold and dry them properly.

If the mold hasn’t spread far, you can use a borax solution to clean it properly with ease. But in the case of widespread mold, it is better to let the specialists handle it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is pink mold toxic?

No, the molds found in houses are not toxic or acidic by nature. Molds are mostly fungus and bacterial organisms similar to algae in some ways, but instead of being helpful, they can cause respiratory problems.

What happens if you touch the pink mold?

Touching the pink mold will have similar reactions to inhaling air polluted with these spores like breathing problems, coughing, inflammation in the chest, and amplifying the already present respiratory issues. However, if the contact is with an open wound, the situation can worsen pretty quickly.

Where does pink mold come from?

Pink molds grow in damp and dark places a lot of the time. This may be your humidifier, shower head, bathtub, and other places like this. The mold, once manifested, can spread to other areas of the house. So, it’s not absolute that where you might have found it is the origin of the mold.

Final Thoughts

Pink mold in humidifiers can be a common occurrence for some who live in a damp environment, and for those with poor cleaning habits, it may be something new for others. These can be classified into three types varying information and scientific origin.

Pink mold in humidifiers is a type of bacterial fungus that is not much of a threat to the healthy but can be problematic with long exposure and for the ones with weak immune systems. The presence of pink mold is nothing alarming, but it should be dealt with as soon as possible.

It can usually be cleaned and removed quite easily with a household cleaner, but in the case of widespread consulting, a professional is a better choice.

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