How to Clean a Shower Curtain or Liner

How to Clean a Shower Curtain or Liner

How To
Cleaning
By Mateos Glen Hayes August 15, 2022

There are few things grosser than a dirty shower curtain. Indeed it is hard to imagine something more off-putting when you’re trying to take a bath than having to start at a shower curtain or liner covered in grime. You could of course buy a new curtain to solve this problem, but you really don’t have to. While a new and colorful shower curtain may be a nice upgrade for the future, you can easily clean your existing plastic shower curtain in a variety of ways.

With a bit of elbow grease, you can restore your curtains to their original shine and save some money while you’re at it. After all, your shower will also need to be cleaned regularly as a matter of course, so cleaning your shower liner is just one extra step that keeps things sanitary and looking good. 

Common Questions About Shower Curtains

What is the best way to clean a shower curtain?

What is the best way to clean a shower curtain?

You’ll be happy to know that cleaning your shower curtain is a pretty simple chore to complete. If you’re wondering how to get the yucky stuff off your shower liner, here are a few common questions and answers that should help. 

Can You Clean Your Shower Curtains in The Washing Machine?

The short answer is yes, but there can be some variables here to consider. Most shower curtains and liners can be washed in the washing machine, but sometimes this may not be enough for especially stubborn stains. If you find that there is still crud on your shower curtain after a normal cycle with standard detergent, it’s time to get creative and try some alternate approaches for washing shower curtains.

For example, you may try running the shower curtain through a normal cycle again, only this time adding some baking soda or alternatively some white vinegar. These natural cleaning hacks can help remove stubborn stains when detergent isn’t enough. If this fails, handwashing with some baking soda should work.

Natural cleaning products are the best solution for a dirty shower curtain.

Natural cleaning products are the best solution for a dirty shower curtain.

How Often Should A Shower Curtain Be Washed To Stay Clean? 

Ideally, you will want to give your entire shower a deep clean regularly so that everything stays sanitary and safe to use.  Your shower is constantly exposed to moisture, grime, and soap suds that will all leave behind marks and stains. These conditions can also attract mold and mildew which pose a threat to respiratory health.

The best policy is therefore to do a deep shower clean at least once a month. This is also the best time to clean the plastic shower curtains and liner as well. Aside from keeping everything squeaky clean, another perk of regular cleaning is that it makes the shower easier to keep spotless in the long run.

A shower that hasn’t been cleaned in months can develop tough soap scum and hard water stains that require a lot of elbow grease to remove. Regular cleaning will prevent these kinds of stains from developing in the first place. 

Steps to Shower Curtain Cleaning Success 

Most shower curtains have a hook design that allows them to be easily unclipped from the shower rod.

Most shower curtains have a hook design that allows them to be easily unclipped from the shower rod.

First things first. Before you start cleaning the curtain, it’s a good idea to get all your ducks in a row by setting out all the stuff you might need. If you have a washing machine, you’ll need a standard laundry detergent, some white vinegar, and some baking soda. An abrasive washcloth is also a good thing to have just in case. If you do not have a washing machine you will also need to get a large plastic tub for cleaning. 

Unclip The Curtain

Most plastic shower curtains have a universal hook design that allows them to be attached to the shower rod. To remove the curtain and liner you will need to unclip these hooks and remove the rings of the curtain one by one. This can be a time-consuming process but is nonetheless fairly easy.

We recommend holding the curtain as you unhook it because otherwise, the weight of the curtain will begin pulling on the remaining hooks, making removing the curtain more difficult. This excess load could also damage the curtain so it’s best to hold the curtain for extra support. 

Prepare Your Washing Machine 

Before placing the curtain in the washing machine be sure to check the label to verify there are no warnings. Most shower liners and curtains should be able to pass through a washing machine cycle trouble-free, but it’s always good to double-check. If your plastic shower curtain has a cloth layer it is especially a good idea to make sure it is washing machine safe.

For the most effective cleaning cycle, add a few drops of detergent to your washing machine along with a bit of baking soda or white vinegar. Either one of these solutions will be especially effective at beating back hard water stains and killing any potential mold spores. Both vinegar and baking soda are quite good at removing unpleasant odors as well.

We recommend running your washing machine on a light cycle with a bit of detergent and baking soda.

We recommend running your washing machine on a light cycle with a bit of detergent and baking soda.

You can use the vinegar and baking soda together if you are having trouble removing the stains but either one of these natural homemade cleaning solutions should work just fine on its own. Once the machine has been loaded and set up, configure the machine for a gentle cycle with lukewarm water to reduce the chance of the curtain getting damaged.  

Washing By Hand

If your curtain is not washing machine safe, the next best thing is to hand wash it in a large plastic tub. To do this, fill the tub with lukewarm water and use baking soda and a washcloth to gently scrub the curtain after soaking it in the tub.

Use as much force as necessary to remove stubborn stains but be mindful to avoid ripping the shower liner by agitating the load too much. Hand washing your shower curtain is usually more time-consuming but most stains should yield after enough scrubbing. If you have an especially dirty curtain you may have to refill the tub with fresh water if it starts to get too murky. All it takes is a bit of elbow grease and you’ll be left with a nice and clean shower curtain

Let The Curtain Dry

Be sure to open the windows in your house and turn on the bathroom ventilator so that the curtain dries thoroughly.

Be sure to open the windows in your house and turn on the bathroom ventilator so that the curtain dries thoroughly.

A clean shower curtain will need to dry. Fortunately, you have an excellent way to dry it that saves space and helps you to kill two birds with one stone. Simply reattach the wet curtain to its hooks on the shower rod and close it so that the curtain is fully extended. We also highly recommend opening all the windows in your home and also putting on a fan if necessary to help the curtain fully dry. To prevent mold from returning it is best to open the windows after each use of the shower so that the curtain can dry fully.

A heated shower floor can also help to speed up the drying process. Excess moisture that hangs around for a while is a perfect vector for mold and mildew. If your bathroom is not well ventilated you can also set it up outside on a clothesline for better drying. If you choose to set your curtain to dry outside ensure that it is well secured so that the wind cannot blow it away. 

Finishing Touches

Even after going through a full washing machine cycle with baking soda, your curtain may still be left with some stubborn stains that didn’t come off. If this is the case you will have to do some touch-ups to remove the remaining stains. Simply take a wet washcloth and scrub the stains with some baking soda, rinsing to finish the job.  

Mold Prevention 

A vinegar water mixture is a perfect thing to keep the mold and mildew at bay.

A vinegar water mixture is a perfect thing to keep the mold and mildew at bay.

To keep your plastic shower curtain nice and clean in the long run it is best to keep a spray bottle with a vinegar-water mixture close at hand in the bathroom. Spray the shower liner with this solution at least once a week so that the curtain is saturated before rinsing off the liner with hot water. 

This will keep the curtain defended against mold and mildew thereby keeping your shower safe from any health risks. If you want to go the extra mile to keep your bathroom dry, we recommend considering investing in heated bathroom flooring to keep things nice and toasty.

MG

Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes

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