How to Clean a Shower Curtain – The Ultimate Guide

How to Clean a Shower Curtain - The Ultimate GuideYou might think a shower curtain stays relatively clean between uses because of its watery environment. However, bacteria, mold, mildew, and other undesirable elements can fester on an uncleaned shower curtain. Cleaning the shower curtain may seem like a chore, but we have plenty of helpful tips and hints to make cleaning easy.

When cleaning your shower curtain, there are a few things to remember:

  • Tackling a shower curtain coated with mildew, mold, and soap scum require being proactive and using good cleaning practices.
  • Regularly spray down your shower curtain with a solution of bleach and water, or apply a paste of baking soda to the curtain to dislodge debris.
  • Scrub down your shower curtain vigorously with a sponge, dampened cloth, or brush to remove troublesome mold, mildew, and scum.
  • Reduce build-up and keep your curtain looking its best. Open up your shower curtain and allow it to dry completely between showers and after each cleaning.
  • If short on time or dealing with a difficult-to-clean shower curtain, throw it in the washing machine whether it’s plastic, vinyl, or fabric.

Don’t break a sweat and stress about cleaning that pesky shower curtain! If you thought you have to take your shower curtain down when it needs a good scrub, think again. Depending on your lifestyle, schedule, and cleaning approach, you do have options. Most shower curtains can be thrown into the washing machine, and other curtains are responsive to getting a periodic wipe down with a solution. Keep reading to explore all the details about how to better care for your shower curtain.

How to Clean a Plastic Shower Curtain

When it comes to cleaning your plastic shower curtain, there are two methods you can use to get it sparkling fresh. First off, consider pre-treating your curtains before you begin using it for the first time. You will want to place your curtain in the machine on the rinse cycle with some distilled vinegar; this helps to resist soap scum build up in the future. Make sure to wash your plastic shower curtain on a warm water setting in the washing machine and avoid hot water. You can clean your curtain using mild laundry detergent, adding vinegar, or baking soda to the cycle to remove debris.

If you want to avoid taking your shower curtain down, scrub down your shower curtain with a dampened sponge or microfiber cloth, and use baking soda as a debriding agent. Blast away troublesome mildew and scum when you use half of a lemon instead of a sponge or cloth, which scrubs the curtain clean and leaves behind a fresh scent. After you wash away the dirt, give your curtain a rinse with warm water and allow the curtain to dry before its next use entirely.

Keep up your curtain’s cleanliness by giving it a spritz with a natural cleaner using an antibacterial essential oil and distilled water during the week. If the smell doesn’t bother you, you can spritz your curtain with a diluted solution of water and distilled white vinegar for maintenance.

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How to Clean a Clear Plastic Shower Curtain

Resist the urge to toss out a clear plastic shower curtain that is soiled with scum, mildew, or mold, and try your hand at cleaning it by hand or in the washing machine. Toss your shower curtain in the washing machine with a bath towel or two, and add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the cycle. When it’s time to rinse the shower curtain add about 1’2 cup of white vinegar.

Remember, avoid washing a plastic shower curtain in hot water and let your curtain drip dry instead of taking a risk in the dryer. If you wish, feel free to add 1/2 cup of bleach to the measured laundry detergent, and allow the water to run in the machine a bit before placing your curtain inside.

How to Clean a Fabric Shower Curtain

There’s nothing comparable to the look and feel of a fabric shower curtain, but cleaning it might seem tricky at first glance.  A fabric shower curtain can be laundered in a washing machine to remove stains, mold, and mildew. When cleaning a fabric shower curtain, make sure to take it down from the hooks, and check the suggested care instructions.

It is ideal to wash a fabric shower curtain at least once a month because they are more susceptible to retaining moisture. You will want to clean a fabric shower curtain in a washing machine in warm or cold water and use mild laundry detergent. To boost the cleaning power, add baking soda or Oxyclean to the load, as well as a pair of bath towels to help agitate. Additionally, it is a good idea to pretreat stains and mildew with a paste of baking soda and lemon juice, or a blend of borax and lemon juice for easier removal in the wash. If possible, allow your fabric curtain to dry in the sun for some fresh air and UV rays, or place in a dryer on low heat.

How to Clean a Vinyl Shower Curtain

Skip out on scrubbing a vinyl shower curtain with a paste of baking soda and rinsing it off with a solution of vinegar and water. Throw a vinyl shower curtain into a washing machine to restore to its original condition, free of mold, mildew, and soap scum. When starting a load of laundry using warm water, add 1/2 a cup of white vinegar before adding an appropriate capful of laundry detergent to the water. Balance out the wash by including 3 or 4 bath towels to help agitate debris off of the shower curtain.

It is best to hang the shower curtain to dry in the sun. If that is not possible, hang up the shower curtain fully extended, with an open window and door to promote good air circulation. It is essential to remove as much moisture as possible from the bathroom to reduce mildew and mold buildup, and to fully get rid of excess water.

How Do I Keep My Plastic Shower Curtain Clean?

The best way to keep your plastic shower curtain clean is to regularly spritz it after each use and allow it to fully dry. Open your bathroom window, any doors, and turn on exhaust fans to get water out fast. Extend your shower curtain after each use, so there is no water hanging out in the creases or crevices that help mold or mildew gain a foothold. Spray your curtain with water and diluted bleach, or a blend of distilled water, essential oils, and lemon juice, or use diluted white vinegar to keep undesirable elements away. Use an old toothbrush or a sponge to scrub away debris with baking soda.

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How Do I Clean the Bottom of My Shower Curtain?

The bottom of a shower curtain can get dirty, especially if pink or black mold shows up, or gunky looking mildew. Instead of giving up on your shower curtain, consider making a paste of salt and baking soda over troubled areas, and allow it to sit for 2 hours before scrubbing off with a sponge. You can also try soaking the bottom of the curtain in a solution of 1/2 cup of borax and 1/2 cup of vinegar in 2 cups of lukewarm water. Scrub away debris after 10 to 15 minutes using a sponge, toothbrush, or dampened cloth. Finish off the job with a rinse using dishwashing liquid, bleach, and water.

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How to Clean a Shower Curtain Without Taking it Down?

Don’t stress about taking down your shower curtain to get it clean. You can spray down a dirty shower curtain with a solution of mild detergent and water, and scrub the curtain by hand with a dampened sponge dipped in baking soda. It is a good practice to use circular motions to agitate and loosen up dirt and debris. If you have a removable shower head with an extended hose, you can quickly rinse the shower curtain off and allow it to drip dry. Make sure to open a window, turn on an exhaust fan, and open doors to increase the air circulation to dry out your curtain fast.

How to Remove Mold From a Shower Curtain?

Seeing mold on your shower curtain might make your skin crawl, but you can remove mold successfully. There are a few handy solutions to remove mold naturally from a shower curtain. First, you can make a solution of 2 cups hydrogen peroxide to 1 cup water, and then spray this mix on the affected areas of the shower curtain. Allow the curtain to sit for a minimum of 30 minutes before using a sponge or brush to scrub away the mold. You can also make a paste of borax and water, or baking soda and water to apply to a moldy shower curtain. After at least 30 minutes, up to an hour, wipe down the curtain to eradicate mold.

If you are not comfortable with tackling a moldy shower curtain by hand, throw it into the washing machine with 1/2 cup of baking soda and laundry detergent. Add vinegar or bleach to the rinse cycle to help kill mold spores. Make sure to let your shower curtain drip dry, and follow-up with a spritz of vinegar or bleach after each use to prevent mold growth. Ensure that you keep mold growth on your shower curtain under control by improving air circulation, opening up your shower curtain after each use, and reducing humidity and moisture in your bathroom.

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Is Mold on Shower Curtains Dangerous?

The bathroom can secretly harbor undesirable and harmful toxins. Unless you have mistakenly installed a PVC shower curtain or liner, mold can prove a health problem. Thankfully, most mold growing on your shower curtain or liner is not dangerous unless it is black mold. Unbelievably, mold can be quietly impacting the sinuses, may trigger depression, and can lead to allergic reactions similar to the common cold.

It is best practice to remove mold on shower curtains to reduce the chance of an adverse reaction. It is imperative to spray or wipe down shower curtains periodically with a solution of bleach and water to reduce and remove mold. Keep windows open after a shower to remove moisture from the air and increase air circulation. Be mindful of humidity and areas where water can remain trapped in the bathroom; these are things that help mold and mildew thrive. Installing an air purifier to remove allergens, mold, bacteria, and other harmful elements in the home may be helpful.

How to Make a Shower Curtain Mildew-Resistant?

The first line of defense against mildew on a shower curtain; remove as much humidity and moisture from a bathroom as possible. After each shower, spread open your shower curtain so that all of the water evaporates. Spray down your curtain with a solution of rubbing alcohol and water, or a solution of dish soap and hydrogen peroxide. Allow your bathroom to get adequate ventilation by running an exhaust fan for 15 minutes, opening windows, and removing wet towels and clothes from the floor.

My Shower Curtain has Pink Mold – What’s That?

Most visible mold in a shower or bathroom is often blue, black, gray, or green. However, pink mold can reveal itself on shower curtains and in the nooks and crannies of a damp bathroom. Pink mold is an airborne species of bacteria called Serratia marcescens, and it is not a mold. The reason this pink colony of bacteria thrives in bathrooms is that they love to feed off of soap scum or the fat found in shampoos.

For the most part, pink mold is not extremely harmful. But, pink mold may cause complications for anyone with a compromised immune system, or specific infections if the bacteria enters the eyes, brushes against the skin, or enters open wounds.

Should You Leave the Shower Curtain Open to Prevent Mold?

Yes, you should open up the shower curtain after each use to help prevent mold. A closed shower curtain provides plenty of spaces for mold to settle in and grow, and it is difficult for air to circulate and dry a closed shower curtain. Open up windows, turn on exhaust fans, and open up doors to help remove moisture from shower curtains and bathrooms. A drier bathroom with little to no humidity makes it challenging for mold to grow.

Orange Stains on Shower Curtains – What Are They and How to Get Rid of Them?

If you see orange stains on your shower curtain, don’t panic! Orange stains are usually not caused by mold but are stains resulting from shampoos, soap residue, or mineral deposits in your local water supply. Reduce iron and unwanted minerals and elements in your water by installing a water filter for your showerhead. Clean off orange stains from your shower curtain using a solution of bleach and water, dish detergent and baking soda, and use a circular motion with a sponge to remove stains. When in doubt, pre-treat stains with a paste of baking soda,  or scrub with a cut lemon and salt before throwing your shower curtain in the washing machine.

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Can You Put a Shower Curtain in the Washer?

Make sure to review the care instructions attached to a shower curtain, depending on whether it is made from plastic, vinyl, or fabric. Ideally, most shower curtains can be comfortably laundered in a washing machine, but be mindful to avoid washing a shower curtain in hot water or placing it in a dryer on high heat. Shower curtains that are machine washed should be allowed to drip dry hanging up and fully extended, or placed in a dryer on little to no heat.

Can You Wash a Shower Curtain with Magnets?

It is okay to wash a shower curtain with magnets by hand or in the washing machine. Preserve the longevity of a shower curtain with magnets and allow the curtain to hang dry rather than tossing it into a dryer. When in doubt, choose to wash a shower curtain with magnets by hand using a bleach solution, dish detergent, or baking soda and vinegar.

How to Clean a Shower Curtain with Vinegar

Vinegar is a helpful and natural cleaning agent to keep shower curtains clean. Typically, a rinse of white vinegar and warm water is applied to a shower curtain that has been scrubbed down with a paste of borax and detergent or a paste of baking soda and salt. When washing a shower curtain in the washing machine, adding vinegar during the rinse cycle helps lift and remove stains, mildew, and mold.

How to Clean a Shower Curtain with Bleach

Keep your shower curtain looking its best by spraying it regularly with a solution of bleach, water, and a mild detergent. When washing a shower curtain in the laundry, add 1/2 cup of bleach before the rinse cycle. Bleach is a trusted solution for removing mold, mildew, bacteria, and soap scum from shower curtains and bathroom surfaces.

How Often Should You Change Your Shower Curtain?

Whenever possible, it is good to invest in at least two shower curtains and rotate your curtains every month. A shower curtain should be changed after a maximum of 3 months, and preferably laundered every month to reduce the buildup of mold, mildew, toxins, and stains. Spray down your shower curtain with a cleaning solution, and allow it to get adequate air circulation to dry after each use to keep it looking its best.

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