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Pink residue in my humidifier tank?!?

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Pink residue in my humidifier tank?!?

Postby m_k_rich » Fri May 11, 2007 9:12 am

I recently cleaned out my heated humidifier's tank with a rag (not an easy task on my unit) to remove this pink residue that collected in there. Neither water nor vinegar nor Clorox bleach cleaner were sufficient to remove it without some mechanical scrubbing.

I probably should have collected some and sent it to a lab; Lord knows what nasty stuff was growing in there. :-& Anyone have an explanation/practical advice?

The particulars:
Humidaire 3i heated humidifier attached to Resmed S8 Compact.
Used with heat set about 3/4 of the way up
Use only distilled water (except in rare emergencies)
Don't usually use bleach cleaner but I was desparate (I don't recommend it either; took a lot of rinsing with vinegar and water to remove the chlorine smell).
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Postby wheezer » Fri May 11, 2007 12:15 pm

A little elbow grease is usually necessary to get stuff clean. My tank on my respironics humidifier separates from its base and needs a thorough cleaning in the corners from time to time. A Q-tip works. Your unit may pose problems because of design but if you got it clean once then keep it clean with more often cleaning.
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Postby RichCMH » Sun May 13, 2007 11:14 am

Do you clean the tank every week? Sounds like algea-like mess.
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Postby jpezz » Thu May 17, 2007 4:14 pm

I leave my stuff soaking in a 1/3 vinegar solution in a container for an hour or so. Just quick cleaning with it may not be enough to kill all the germs. Then I wash it with plain soap and water and let it dry completely. (Use a hair dryer to dry it completely if sitting there is not long enough). I only wash the stuff monthly except for the nasal pillow itself. In 1 1/2 years, it still looks new.

I also use just enough water so that in use, it runs out of water at least once every few days so the water (an associated germs) don't sit in the unit.

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Postby CrohnieToo » Thu May 17, 2007 5:28 pm

How long have you had your humidifier? Maybe its time to get a new tank for it?
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Postby RosemaryBee » Thu May 17, 2007 9:05 pm

RichCMH wrote:Do you clean the tank every week? Sounds like algea-like mess.


Is algae pink? I've had problems in my bathroom with pink stains on the tub surround. It was like this when I bought the house and some of it never came off. I also get pink stains in my sink rather easily, but it comes off I clean it frequently though. I've asked a lot of people if there's such a thing and pink mold (including the county extension service) and no one seems to know anything about it.

I didn't like the idea of putting my Remstar (classic) dehumidifier in the dishwasher, but if it might get this stuff, I'm willing to do that.

If anyone knows whether this is algae it would help. Very tough/impossible to get off some surfaces.
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Postby RichCMH » Fri May 18, 2007 5:56 pm

from googling pink water stains...

What is this pink residue in my bathroom?

Pink residue is generally not a problem with water quality. In fact, pink residue is likely a result of airborne bacteria which produce a pinkish or dark gray film on regularly moist surfaces. Such surfaces include toilet bowls, showerheads, sink drains, and tiles.

Some people have also noted that the pink residue appears in their pet's water bowl, which causes no apparent harm to the pet and is easily cleaned off.

Many experts agree that the bacteria that causes these pink stains is most likely Serratia marcesens, a bacteria which is found naturally in soil, food, and in animals. Serratia, which produce a characteristic red pigment, thrive on moisture, dust, and phosphates and need almost nothing to survive.

The pinkish film often appears during or after construction or remodeling, when dust and dirt containing Serratia bacteria are stirred up. Once the bacteria is airborne, it will seek a moist location in which it can grow. Some people have reported that the pink residue only appears during certain times of the year, when their windows are left open for most of the day. This bacteria is present in a number of environments and wind can carry the airborne bacteria or stir up dust in which the bacteria is present.

The use of activated carbon filters, which remove chlorine from the water, can make the problem worse. The absence of the normal levels of chlorine in tap water allows Serratia to thrive.

How do I get rid of the pink residue?

The best solution to this problem is to continually clean the involved surfaces to keep them free from bacteria. Compounds containing chlorine work best, but keep in mind that abrasive cleaners may scratch fixtures, making them more susceptible to bacterial growth.

Chlorine bleach can be used periodically to disinfect the toilet and help to eliminate the occurrence of the pink residue. An easy way to do this is to stir three to five tablespoons of fresh bleach to the toilet tank, flush the toilet to allow the bowl to be disinfected, and add another dose of bleach to the tank as it is refilling. The use of toilet "cakes" containing disinfectant can help keep the problem under control. By keeping bathtubs and sinks wiped down and dry, the formation of pink residue can be avoided.


Hoseheads.... this is disgusting. Clean your tanks weekly as recommended by the manufacturer! ! ! !
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Postby RosemaryBee » Fri May 18, 2007 10:33 pm

RichCMH wrote:
Some people have also noted that the pink residue appears in their pet's water bowl, which causes no apparent harm to the pet and is easily cleaned off.

Hoseheads.... this is disgusting. Clean your tanks weekly as recommended by the manufacturer! ! ! !

And if the residue is already there, you could use your tank as a pet water bowl :lol: :lol: :lol: .

Thanks, Rich. That information is really helpful. I have noticed that bleach works except for the ingrained stains that were here when I moved in. I got a great deal on the condo, but used a whole large bottle of bleach on the bathroom the first time I cleaned it, then more later. I will try to bleach the stains more, since I'd like to eradicate it as I don't want it in my hose, etc.
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Postby hhopper » Sat May 19, 2007 1:13 pm


Would you believe that I haven't had to wash my tank once in six months. I use nothing but distilled water and it stays perfectly clean.
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Postby jpezz » Sat May 19, 2007 4:54 pm

And to think I thought the bathroom color was due to the pink paint she made me use!

So I told her it wasn't pink paint but probably paint full of bacteria. So I had to repaint in green.

Then she said it looked like mold so I had to paint it black.

Then she read about black mold so I painted it brown then yellow.

I won't say why but now it is a neutral, slight purple color.

Anyone know of any evil purple things (other than the Purple People Eater from the '50s or '60s)?

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Postby hhopper » Sat May 19, 2007 5:28 pm


If you put any more layers of paint on those bathroom walls, there won't be any room in there for you.
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