What Causes Pink Mold & How to Get Rid of It

Pink mold, also known as pink yeast or red yeast, is a fungus that can grow in your home. It has a pinkish hue and tends to thrive in damp, humid areas like bathrooms, basements, and attics. While pink mold itself is usually not dangerous, it can be a sign of excess moisture and potential water damage in a home. Addressing pink mold growth properly is important to protect your health and your home’s structural integrity.

What Causes Pink Mold to Grow?

Pink mold grows due to excess moisture. The spores need wet conditions to thrive. Common causes of pink mold include:

Plumbing Leaks

Leaky pipes, water heaters, sinks, tubs and other plumbing can allow moisture to accumulate in walls, floors, and ceilings. This moist environment enables pink mold to grow rapidly. Even small leaks over time can lead to pink mold issues.


Flooding from weather, overflowing appliances, or other water damage causes very damp conditions ideal for pink mold. Floodwater soaking into walls, carpets, floorboards, and other materials promotes pink mold growth.


Warm, humid conditions encourage pink mold growth. Bathrooms and basements tend to have higher humidity levels. Coastal climates also tend to be more humid on average.


Condensation occurs when warm air meets cooler surfaces. The moisture can gather on windows, walls, pipes, and building materials allowing pink mold colonies to thrive. This is common in basements and places with poor air circulation.

Roof Leaks

A leaking roof can lead to very damp attic conditions and drips that promote pink mold, especially if the leak goes unnoticed. Water damage from bad or damaged shingles, flashing, vents, and gutters can all cause moisture issues.

Plaster Walls

Plaster walls naturally absorb more moisture than drywall. With age, plaster can crack and deteriorate, which allows dampness to penetrate deeper. Pink mold then feeds on the organic materials in the plaster.

Poor Ventilation

Limited fresh air circulation and airflow in a home can lead to excess humidity. Stagnant, moist air encourages pink mold growth in attics, basements, and closets.

Overflowing Gutters

Clogged or overflowing gutters can allow rainwater to soak into the exterior walls of a home. If moisture penetrates the siding or brick, it can provide the perfect wet environment for pink mold inside the walls.

Dangers of Pink Mold

While pink mold itself is not hazardous, extensive growth can cause larger issues:

  • Allergies & Asthma: Pink mold releases spores that can trigger allergic reactions or asthma flare ups in sensitive individuals. Symptoms may include coughing, congestion, rashes, and sore throats.
  • Respiratory Problems: With chronic exposure to large amounts of pink mold, some people may develop respiratory infections or illness. Those with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable.
  • Wood Decay: Pink mold slowly eats away at porous materials like wood as it grows. Extensive growth can lead to structural weakness and eventual collapse in wood framing and cellulose building materials.
  • Bad Odors: A large amount of pink mold growth can lead to a musty, stale, or rotten egg smell. This is from microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs).
  • Property Damage: Pink mold causes aesthetic damage to surfaces where it grows. It also indicates excess moisture which can buckle walls, warp floors, deteriorate drywall, and erode building integrity over time.
  • Short Circuits: Excess moisture from pink mold growth can damage electrical systems, possibly leading to short circuits and fires.

So while the mold may seem harmless, it is important to promptly address pink mold growth and remedy the underlying moisture issue. Consider mold testing if an infestation is suspected.

Signs of Pink Mold Growth

Be on the lookout for these common signs of pink mold so you can take action:

  • Pink, reddish, or orange fuzzy growth on surfaces
  • Musty, earthy odor
  • Visible moisture on walls, ceilings, or vents
  • Bubbling or peeling paint or plaster
  • Dark spots on wood surfaces
  • Cracked or warped floorboards
  • Damp drywall or drooping ceiling tiles
  • Moisture dripping from pipes or ceilings
  • Repeated respiratory issues or allergy flare-ups
  • Increased humidity levels indoors

Inspect any areas that tend to get damp like basements, bathrooms, attics, and crawlspaces. Pay close attention after floods or water leaks too. Act quickly at the first sign of pink mold to prevent widespread growth.

How to Get Rid of Pink Mold

With diligence and proper remediation methods, pink mold can be removed from your home. Here are the basic steps:

Step 1: Fix the Water Problem

Pink mold cannot be fully eliminated unless excess moisture is addressed first. Locate and repair all leaks. Install proper ventilation. Address gutters, condensation, and humidity levels. If needed, contact a water damage restoration company.

Step 2: Contain the Area

Seal off moldy rooms with plastic sheeting. Open windows to circulate fresh air. This keeps mold spores from spreading during the removal process. Wear proper safety gear.

Step 3: Remove & Discard Moldy Materials

Cleaning is rarely enough for moldy drywall, carpet, insulation, soft woods and other porous items. Remove and bag them carefully to avoid spreading spores.

Step 4. Clean Surfaces

Scrub remaining hard, non-porous surfaces with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush to remove mold residue. Disinfect nooks and crannies with an antimicrobial like tea tree oil.

Step 5: Let Things Dry

After cleaning, allow all surfaces to fully dry to discourage regrowth. Use dehumidifiers, fans, and heating as needed.

Step 6: Repaint & Repair

Once dry, repair any structural issues. Prime cleaned areas and repaint with mold resistant paint to encapsulate any remnants.

Step 7: Disinfect the Air

Use HEPA air filters, UV disinfection, and dehumidifiers to clear any lingering spores and lower humidity.

Proper PPE, containment, and remediation techniques are essential for effective and safe mold removal. Consider hiring a professional mold remediation company for large infestations.

Home Treatments That Don’t Work for Pink Mold

It’s vital to avoid tentatively treating pink mold on your own. Here are some common DIY methods that do not reliably get rid of pink mold or address the root moisture issue:

  • Bleach – Bleach only removes surface mold temporarily and does not kill mold roots or spores deep in materials. It can also react with organics to create toxic byproducts.
  • Vinegar – Vinegar is acidic but not strong enough to penetrate and neutralize mold, especially not on porous surfaces. It also does not fix underlying moisture.
  • Baking soda – Like other household products, baking soda only cleans minor surface mold. It does not remove mold roots or stop regrowth.
  • UV light – UV lamps do not penetrate porous materials enough to kill pink mold throughout. They only disinfect airborne spores temporarily.
  • Oils & plant extracts – Natural antifungal oils like tea tree oil have limited effects on established mold colonies. They do not fix root causes.
  • Paint – Painting over mold traps moisture and allows the mold to continue growing under the paint unnoticed.

These methods may seem convenient but allow the pink mold issue to persist and worsen over time. It’s imperative to properly remediate water damage and remove affected materials to get rid of pink mold for good.

When to Call a Professional for Pink Mold Removal

Seeking professional mold remediation services is recommended in these situations:

  • You have health issues like allergies or asthma that make DIY mold removal unsafe.
  • More than 10 square feet of visible mold growth in your home.
  • Signs the mold may have spread into walls, HVAC systems, crawlspaces or other hard to access areas.
  • Porous materials like drywall and carpeting are involved. Safe removal and disposal is essential.
  • The moisture source cannot be located or repaired easily, like with seeping foundation cracks, plumbing in walls, etc.
  • Mold keeps recurring even after thorough DIY cleaning efforts.
  • Landlords or homeowners insurance may cover professional mold remediation.

Mold professionals have the expertise, equipment, and safety protocols to fully eliminate pink mold and moisture damage. Their services are often well worth the cost for your health and home.

How to Prevent Pink Mold Growth

Once you get rid of existing pink mold, taking proactive measures can help keep it from coming back:

  • Fix all plumbing leaks and moisture intrusions promptly.
  • Improve ventilation and air circulation.
  • Run dehumidifiers to maintain indoor humidity under 50%.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect damp areas.
  • Insulate cold water pipes and surfaces prone to condensation.
  • Make sure appliances drain properly and check for overflow.
  • Clean gutters and outdoor drainage regularly.
  • Install moisture sensors in problem areas to detect leaks early.
  • Use mold resistant paints and building materials when renovating.

With vigilance and healthy moisture levels, pink mold can be kept at bay for good. Contact a mold remediation company at the first recurrence to nip regrowth in the bud.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pink Mold:

What are some symptoms of pink mold exposure?

Some symptoms of exposure to pink mold include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, sore throat, itchy eyes, congestion, rashes, headaches, and increased allergy or asthma flare-ups. Those with mold sensitivities may react more severely.

Does pink mold smell?

A large growth of pink mold can emit a musty, earthy, or stale odor. Some describe it smelling like mildew, rotting wood, or a damp basement. The scent comes from microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs) released by the mold.

Can pink mold make you sick?

While not acutely hazardous, chronic exposure to high levels of pink mold can potentially lead to respiratory infections or irritation. Those with asthma/allergies, infants, and elderly or immunocompromised persons are most at risk for health issues.

Is pink mold dangerous to pets?

Like humans, animals can be susceptible to respiratory irritation and allergies from airborne pink mold spores. The mold can also damage surfaces and materials in their living spaces over time if excess moisture is present.

Does pink mold grow in the cold?

Pink mold prefers warmer, humid conditions but can also grow in cold environments. Mold can thrive in unheated basements, attics and crawlspaces if sufficient moisture is present from leaks, flooding, etc. Proper insulation helps regulate cold surface condensation prone to mold.

Should I paint over pink mold?

No, paint applied over pink mold will only seal in moisture and obscure the mold temporarily while allowing it to spread unchecked behind walls and ceilings. Professionals do apply mold resistant primer and paints as a final step after full remediation.

How do you get pink mold out of carpet?

For minor surface growth, immediately treat pink mold on carpets with an antimicrobial cleaner formulated for porous materials. But extensive mold requires removing and replacing sections of contaminated carpet and tack strips since mold easily penetrates the carpet backing and pad.

Does white vinegar kill pink mold?

White vinegar does not reliably kill pink mold or stop regrowth. The acidity only removes minor surface mold temporarily but cannot penetrate porous materials to neutralize root structures. Proper protective equipment and antimicrobials are needed to remove mold.

How do you clean pink mold in the shower?

To remove minor pink mold in showers, scrub tiles with hot water mixed with aSpecialized mold killing cleaner bathroom cleaner. Re-caulk seals and make sure the space has adequate ventilation to prevent condensation moisture that feeds mold. More extensive shower mold growth requires remediation.

Can pink mold return after remediation?

Yes, pink mold can return after treatment if the excess moisture source is not fully eliminated. Other reasons for recurrence include failing to remove all mold roots, not drying materials completely, or missing moisture hidden in walls or under materials. Prevent regrowth by fixing all water issues and maintaining low indoor humidity.


If overlooked, pink mold can slowly damage your home and pose health hazards. But with attentiveness to any moisture issue and proper mitigation techniques, pink mold can be controlled and avoided in the future. Seek help from water damage restoration and professional mold remediation services for serious infestations. With diligence and preventative care, your home can stay safe and pink mold free for good.