What Causes Red Ring in Toilet Bowl?

No one wants to be inviting guests over, only to have them see a red ring in your toilet. Seeing a red ring in your toilet can be a cause for alarm, but luckily, you won’t be having to spend too much money to get the problem resolved.

beautiful bathroom setup

Why Do I Have A Red Ring In My Toilet?

A red ring in your toilet is typically due to a certain bacteria known as serratia marcescen. The bacteria aren’t known to too severe or harmful to the body, but it can lead to medical conditions when it comes to wounds or pneumonia. The best to way keep bacteria in your toilet under control is through routinely cleaning it with an effective chlorine bleach solution.

Serratia Marcescen

Before going on further with how to get rid of serratia marcescen, it’s important to go over the fundamentals of it. Serratia marcescen is a bacterium that is found in many different environments. You’ll commonly see it throughout bathrooms located in environments that are moist and damp.

The bacteria don’t need oxygen to survive and the hallmark sign of this bacteria in a toilet is the reddish or pinkish color that it comes with. You might also see this bacterium in the corners of your shower and on the grout in tile.

Sometimes, it can cause infections in people, most commonly in those that have wounds and pneumonia.

How Do I Get Rid of The Red Ring In My Toilet?

Toilets can sometimes become a common breeding ground for serratia marcescen bacteria because the bacteria is found in fecal matter and grows in moist environments. If you add both components together, you have an environment where the bacteria will thrive. If you don’t clean your toilet bowl regularly, this gives the bacteria and mold more opportunity to grow.

Sometimes people will get in a fit and try to scrub the stubborn stain in the toilet bowl with a metal brush. You won’t want to scrap pink residue in your toilet with a metal brush because it will scratch the porcelain, leading to more areas where serratia marcescen can grow and thrive.

Chlorine is known to be the best way to get rid of serratia bacteria. A lot of municipal drinking water is chlorinated already, but when chlorine has been sitting still for long periods, the effectiveness of it begins to dissipate.

When you’re cleaning the toilet bowl stain, there might not even be any chlorine at all between your cleaning routines. Some people will grow impatient and try pouring chlorine bleach in the tank or even use a chlorine bleach sanitizing brick.

You won’t want to do this because chlorine is known to cause damage to rubber parts in tanks.

What you will want to do to get rid of the pink mold in your toilet is to get some chlorine bleach solution and a plastic-bristled brush.

If some areas are difficult to reach, dip an old toothbrush in the chlorine bleach solution. Make sure you don’t mistakenly use the same toothbrush later to brush your teeth.

As always, you’ll want to wear protective gloves and eye protection to prevent any chemicals from getting to your hands and eyes. The more frequently you clean your toilet bowl, the fewer chances that bacteria have to grow.

Why Does My Toilet Get a Ring So Fast?

The serratia marcescen bacteria don’t require oxygen to stay alive. It thrives in moist environments such as:

  • Bathtubs
  • Toilets
  • Sinks
  • Sink faucets
  • Shower curtain
  • Pools

If water has been sitting in a moist environment for a long time, serratia marcescen can build up in that environment. If you haven’t cleaned your toilet for a long time, then the bacteria will grow and breed much quicker than if you cleaned it on a routine basis.

The bacteria also feed on fatty substances like shampoo and soap.

How Do You Get Rid of Serratia Marcescen In The Toilet?

If you see a red or pinkish ring in your toilet, there is a good chance that it is serratia marcescen bacteria. You’ll want to get rid of the bacteria as fast as you can so that it doesn’t have a chance to grow and breed further.

  • Keeping serratia marcescen under control in your toilet can be done in a few steps:
  • Get a chlorine bleach spray and coat the toilet bowl with it, including underneath the toilet rim
  • Get a 1/4 cup of bleach, and put that into the toilet tank
  • Wait about 20 minutes for the bleach to sit
  • Ensure that you don’t let it sit for longer than 20 minutes at a time because it can cause damage to the valves and seals in the toilet tank
  • If you ever start noticing the pink film coming back, do this same process again

Sometimes people try to flush chlorine through their toilet in an attempt to kill the bacteria. This method doesn’t fully get rid of the root of the problem, but it still might keep the bacteria slightly under control.

You’ll always want to keep your sinks and bathtubs dry. Ensure you use a chlorine solution whenever you’re trying to get rid of serratia marcescens bacteria.

cleaning a toilet with brush

Does WD-40 Remove toilet rings?

WD-40 isn’t a common cleaning solution that comes to people’s minds when thinking about cleaning their toilet bowls. It’s a penetrating oil that is used to loosen up connections that contain rust and corrosion.

Surprisingly, WD-40 can also effectively get rid of the pink stains in a toilet bowl. All you must do is spray the area and give it about 15 minutes to penetrate the stain. Get a toilet brush and scrub down the stains afterward.

How Do I Know If I Have Serratia Marcescen?

Many patients with serratia marcescen will develop:

  • A fever
  • Chills
  • Respiratory distress
  • Shock
  • Frequent urination
  • Dysuria
  • Pyuria
  • Painful urination

All in all, if you ever happen to spot the pink bacteria floating around your bathroom, you’ll want to get rid of it as soon as you can.

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