What is the pinkish film in my toilet, shower or pet's dish?

The pinkish film is caused by an airborne bacterium known as Serratia marcescens. The bacteria will grow in any moist location where phosphorous containing materials or fatty substances accumulate. Sources of these substances include soap residues in bathing areas, feces in toilets, and soap and food residues in pet water dishes. The pinkish film may appear after remodeling activities or during a time of year when windows are open for the majority of the day. It is frequently observed in toilet bowls, on surfaces in shower stalls and bathtub enclosures, on tiles, in sinks, and in pet water dishes. Serratia marcescens does not come from drinking water. It cannot survive in chlorinated water. We understand that the presence of the pinkish film can be a disconcerting nuisance and we offer the following tips to help address the occurrence of this phenomenon: To clean pet water dishes, bathroom and kitchen surfaces:

  • Scrub the surfaces where phosphorous and fatty substances or the bacteria accumulate with a brush and a household cleanser.
  • Disinfect the surfaces where the slime has formed with a strong chlorine bleach solution.
  • Leave the disinfectant solution on the affected surface(s) for 10-20 minutes before thoroughly rinsing away with clean water.
  • Use care with abrasives to avoid scratching the fixtures, which will make them even more susceptible to the bacteria.

To control pink "stuff" in toilets:

  • Clean the bowl thoroughly and spray chlorine bleach into the bowl and under the bowl rim.
  • Also add ¼ cup of bleach to the toilet tank.
  • Let the bleach stand for 15-20 minutes.
  • After 15-20 minutes, flush the toilet a couple of times to rinse the disinfectant out of the tank and the bowl.
  • The bleach should not be left in the toilet tank for prolonged periods; it will damage the rubber valves and seals inside.
  • Whenever a pink film starts to reappear, repeat the cleaning and disinfection process.
  • Cleaning and flushing with chlorine will not necessarily eliminate the problem, but will help to control these bacteria.

Keep bathtubs and sinks wiped down and dry to avoid this problem. Using a cleaning solution that contains chlorine will help curtail the onset of the bacteria.

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17. What is the pinkish film in my toilet, shower or pet's dish?
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