Is Pink Mold In Humidifier Dangerous?

Most people know about mold and the dangers that come with it. Mold on your food is an immediate red flag that tells you it needs to be thrown away. You are probably pretty good at spotting dangerous molds, too.

If you see green or black splotches developing on your food, you know that it’s likely mold. But did you know that not all molds and mildews come in these colors? Some mold is pink and needs to be handled with caution.

If you run a humidifier in your home and come across this pink mold, your health could be in jeopardy. To ensure that you are up to speed on humidifier mold and the effect it can have on you and your family, let’s first discuss what it actually is.

Types Of Pink Mold

There are three main types of pink mold. The first one is commonly referred to as “pink mold”, but isn’t actually a mold at all. It certainly resembles mold and is even found where you would expect to find mold. But it is, in fact, a form of bacteria.

The scientific term for this first type of pink mold is Serratia marcescens. It is found in colors of pink and orange and often turns up in areas of your home that are prone to dampness. 

You may see it forming in your bathroom, as the indoor air here is one of the best places to promote the growth of pink mold due to the high humidity levels. And yet, it can also be found in your laundry room, kitchen, and even in cabinets— pretty much any moist environments. 

Another common type of pink mold is Aureobasidium pullulans. This is an actual fungus, unlike Serratia marcescens.

Aureobasidium pullulans starts off as a pink color but eventually turns darker brown or grey. This mold also loves to grow in bathrooms and grout, but it actually prefers organic matter. If you have plants or visible wood in your home, there’s a chance that you will find Aureobasidium pullulans because these are common places for the growth of mold.

The third type of pink mold is known as Fusarium. It is quite rare to find this form of mold growing in your home. But if it does, look out. It might begin in a potted plant, but it will soon transition to your carpet or walls.

The Dangers Of Pink Mold

It’s important to make it clear that pink mold is nowhere near the same level of threat as black mold. That’s not to say that pink molds are safe. On the contrary, any form of mold spore in your home needs to be taken seriously because it can contribute to health problems.

If you are around pink mold long enough, you could find yourself struggling with respiratory infections, heart problems, urinary tract infections, or gastrointestinal issues from this bacterial growth. 

What’s more, if you have anyone in your home who is already suffering from asthma, pink mold will only serve to make it worse. If left untreated, your breathing troubles can intensify and put your health and well-being at serious risk.

Those who are healthy shouldn’t have much to worry about if Serratia marcescens is found in your home. The only potential issue you could face is if this bacteria finds its way into your shower. 

Getting Serratia marcescens into an open wound could lead to serious infection. On the same subject, you should be mindful of Serratia marcescens if you or someone in your family wears contact lenses. Serratia marcescens has been found growing on contacts.

However, this is often when Serratia marcescens is already present in the room in which the contacts are regularly stored. If you wear contact lenses and this form of pink mold is found in your home, it is important to remove it as soon as possible. 

Fusarium isn’t likely to cause you problems as long as you have a healthy immune system. With that being said, it can prove problematic if it finds its way into your food, eyes, or under your finger or toenails.

Those with weak immune systems should avoid Fusarium at all costs, as it can cause life-threatening health complications in the form of infection. Fortunately, this form of pink mold is the least likely of the three to find its way into your home. 

Still, it’s important to keep any out for all types of mold. The sooner it is discovered, the better chance you have of eliminating it as a threat.

Pink Mold And Humidifiers

Out of all of the pink molds we mentioned, Aureobasidium pullulans is the type that is most likely to be found growing in home humidifiers. This is especially troublesome because the pink mold can circulate throughout your home for weeks without anyone even noticing it.

If anyone in your home starts developing a cough and fever with difficulty breathing, there’s a good chance that pink mold is to blame. Known as humidifier lung, hypersensitivity pneumonitis is caused by prolonged exposure to pink mold.

Your trouble breathing is a result of your lungs becoming inflamed and can lead to permanent scarring on your lungs. If more than one person in your home develops hypersensitivity pneumonitis, it is likely in direct relation with your humidifier. 

Humidifier lung is not contagious and therefore makes it easy to pinpoint the root cause of your symptoms. If this happens to you, it is imperative that you remove all traces of the pink mold from your portable humidifier.

Why Does My Humidifier Have Pink Mold?

If you notice pink mold growing in your humidifier, it means that it isn’t being properly maintained. It is therefore vital to your health and well-being that you regularly clean your humidifier. 

Pink mold loves the environment in your humidifier, especially your water reservoir. It’s damp, dark, and cool inside, making it the perfect breeding grounds for fungus to proliferate.

Since this is a constant attribute of your humidifier, what can you do to prevent pink mold from making its home there?

Preventing Pink Mold

The first thing you should do is get into the habit of refilling your humidifier’s water tank every day. This means swapping out the water, even if it looks clean. In doing this, you will effectively prevent mineral deposits from forming inside your tank

Your filter also needs to be thoroughly cleaned using fresh, warm water. Never use cleaning products on your filter and make sure to use a clean, dry towel to soak up any remaining moisture after you have rinsed it off. 

Mineral deposits are often found near the base of humidifiers, as well. If you notice this happening in yours, you can clean it using white vinegar and an old toothbrush. These two items work well together in safely removing buildup and debris.

If you notice that you have pink mold in your humidifier, you can use hydrogen peroxide or bleach mixed with water. Both serve as a great way to disinfect your humidifier while removing all traces of pink mold. 

To ensure that you get every area of your appliance clean, you will need to take it apart. This will allow you to reach areas that would otherwise be inaccessible. Use your disinfectant solution of water and either bleach or peroxide to scrub down your humidifier.

When you have successfully removed all signs of pink mold, use clean water to rinse it off. After using a towel to dry each piece or letting it air dry, put it back together, and fill its tank with fresh water.

If you are still concerned with the safety of your humidifier or couldn’t remove all of the pink mold, it’s better to discontinue its use and buy a new humidifier.

Maintaining A Clean Humidifier

It’s important to get into the habit of regularly cleaning your humidifier. While changing out your tank’s water every day is a great start, you should be actively working toward keeping your filter and other areas of your unit free of buildup.

The more often you do this, the longer you can look forward to your humidifier lasting you. Pink mold isn’t likely to grow in places that are kept clean. So be sure to do all that you can to reduce its chances of developing and causing complications in your home. 

In Conclusion

Now that you know where pink mold is often found, you can be proactive in limiting its likelihood of growing. If you want to play it safe and ensure that you and your loved ones are breathing in clean, healthy air, invest in a new humidifier.

Be sure to check out our store if you’re interested in products that will improve your quality of life. We carry small and large cool mist humidifiers so you can find the perfect addition for your home.

By investing in a modern cool mist humidifier, you can look forward to reduced airborne bacteria and viruses. And if you suffer from asthma, our humidifiers help alleviate the symptoms associated with it, as well as colds and seasonal allergies. 

There are many more benefits that will go a long way in ensuring that you are keeping your family safe. And in today’s landscape, it pays to do everything you can to prevent illnesses and stay healthy.

Sources:

http://www.antimicrobe.org/b26.asp

https://mycology.adelaide.edu.au/descriptions/hyphomycetes/fusarium/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/resp.13420_526

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