While using your humidifier, you might have noticed a minor issue: pink mold!
A small layer of slimy “gunk” on the bottom and side edges of the water tank may have caught your attention the first time you opened the water storage tank to replace it. This slime has the ability to change color over time. You open to refill and immediately notice a pink material that vaguely resembles a scientific project!
Additionally, the spout where your humidifier discharges water vapor into the air may become covered in this slime. This can be really unsettling and make you second-guess turning it on once more. Fortunately, this residue is typical, usual, and simple to remove.
We’ll examine what it is, why it occurs, and how to stop it.
Pink Mold: What Is It?
Mold comes in a variety of hues, like a gorgeously revolting rainbow. While the most frequent sorts of mold you will likely find in your house range from green to black, mold also occurs in varieties of orange, pink, purple, brown, and even red. If you’re extremely fortunate, you might even have a mixture of these hues.
The most typical mold discovered in humidifiers is pink mold. Pink mold is notorious for growing in moist to wet, dark environments, making the water tank of your humidifier an ideal place for this mold to congregate. Pink mold will probably develop within your water tank, even if it is clear, because the water in the tank rests overnight in the room where your humidifier is located.
Types of Pink Mold
Pink mold generally comes in three different types:
- Aureobasidium pullulans (A. pullulans) – Although it may grow on organic objects like plants and wood, it also frequently found in restrooms. It may start out white or yellow before changing to pink over time.
- Fusarium: Most likely, you won’t ever have to deal with this kind of mold in your house. This mold can spread to surrounding surfaces after it has grown on organic, plant-based material. As a result, you would probably find this sort of mold close to a house plant and/or on nearby walls and carpet.
- Serratia marcescens (S. marcescens): This particular sort of pink mold is actually a type of bacteria rather than a mold. This is most observed around toilets, sinks, and showers in restrooms. Because this bacterium feeds on components in shampoos and soaps, your bathroom serves as a sort of breeding ground for it. By thoroughly cleaning your showers and sinks after using them to remove soap and shampoo residue, you can aid in the eradication of this sort of bacterial development.
Your humidifier likely contains A. pullulans if you notice any pink mold there. Although this type of mold is typically benign, extended exposure to it (as through the use of a humidifier that hasn’t been properly cleaned) can have some undesirable effects.
Pink Mold: How Does It Form?
Don’t worry if you’re wondering how this stuff ended up in your humidifier in the first place. It has nothing to do with your level of cleanliness and is nearly inevitable that mold will develop inside a humidifier.
Your humidifier functions by keeping water in a tank, whether or not it has been purified. When in operation, the humidifier draws water from that tank and emits water vapor into the air.
Within 24 to 48 hours of humidifier use, pink mold can start to appear. Depending on the amount of bacteria already present and whether or not the water in the tank has been purified, your humidifier may or may not grow mold.
Is Pink Mold Dangerous?
You don’t need specific tools to deal with pink mold or to call in a crew of professional cleaners to clean your little appliance because it is not intrinsically dangerous. However, prolonged contact with pink mold might lead to respiratory issues. If the pink mold in your humidifier isn’t removed, it will have a chance to spray into the air along with the cool mist vapor.
When this occurs, mold that has been released from the humidifier seeks out a new area to colonize, and frequently that area is your nose and lungs. “Humidifier lung” is a condition that can result from this. Because of this issue, some people mistakenly feel that using a humidifier is risky, however the problem is entirely the result of faulty maintenance on the humidifier.
The signs of humidifier lung are similar to that of a cold: wheezing, congestion, and fever.
Regular humidifier inspection and cleaning is the best method to prevent a pink mold problem. You won’t ever have to worry about becoming sick from your humidifier if you take the necessary precautions.
How to Clean Pink Mold from a Humidifier
Every time you refill your humidifier with water, which should be about once per week, you should conduct routine humidifier cleaning and maintenance. This level of maintenance and care ought to be sufficient to prevent pink mold from ever growing on your humidifier.
You can clean your humidifier in 5 easy steps if there is no mold present.
- Remove the water bowl from the humidifier and dump any residual water before unplugging your device.
- The water basin’s interior can be cleaned with a light soap and fresh sponge.
- Dry thoroughly and replace.
- Verify that there is no mold growth by looking at the vapor spout.
- The vapor spout can be cleaned with a light cleaner and a fresh rag or paper towel.
You can quickly clean and put your humidifier back to use if it has pink mold. Always adhere to the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations for your humidifier.
If your humidifier’s manufacturer’s instructions permit it, use the following procedures to clean it of mold and your humidifier:
- Remove the humidifier’s plug before removing the tank from the base.
- Either hydrogen peroxide or vinegar should be added to the water tank. The use of a chemical agent, such as bleach, is possible but not really necessary and, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations, may even pose a risk to the machine.
- Give the vinegar or peroxide in the tank around 30 minutes to settle. This provides the pink mold enough time to degrade so that it may be easily removed.
- Fill the tank with warm water after emptying the peroxide or vinegar.
- Dry completely.
- Carefully follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning the base with a water and vinegar or peroxide solution.
- Examine the vapor spigot. Use the same mixture of vinegar or peroxide and a toothbrush to remove the buildup if it includes mold.
You and your family should be safe as long as you maintain and clean your humidifier properly. Pink mold shouldn’t be a problem. Using distilled water rather than tap water in the humidifier is another preventative measure you may take to stop pink mold from growing.
A humidifier frequently develops pink mold, which is simple to get rid of by giving it a thorough cleaning. By periodically inspecting and cleaning your humidifier and choosing to use distilled water instead of tap water in your machine, you may stop the growth and accumulation of pink mold.
Pink mold can be dangerous if left untreated, so it’s critical to take action to ensure its prompt removal from your humidifier so the mold does not have a chance to spread out with the cool mist vapors.