We asked handyman Bob Vila as well as Marla Mock, president of Molly Maid, to share their tips for cleaning a shower curtain and liner. It’s so easy, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
Are you supposed to wash shower curtains? | How often should you clean your shower curtain and liner? | What should you avoid while cleaning? | Can you clean your shower curtain/liner in the washing machine? | How do you clean plastic shower curtains? | Tips to keep your shower curtain/liner cleaner longer | Products for cleaning your shower curtain/liner
Are you supposed to wash shower curtains?
Yes! Washing your shower curtains prevents mildew. Your shower curtains can also get stained, so they should be routinely washed, especially if you have a lighter colored curtain.
How often should you clean your shower curtain and liner?
Mock says you should be wash your shower curtain/liner at least once per month to keep it mildew-free. She also suggests having two curtains so you can rotate them out while one is being washed.
What should you avoid while cleaning?
Make sure not to mix cleaning solutions, as mixing them can cause toxic fumes. Also, Mock advises that it's best to machine-wash the curtain/liner with a towel or two, which helps to balance the load and can also rub against the liner to help remove dirt and debris.
Can you clean your shower curtain/liner in the washing machine?
Regardless of the material you choose, you should plan to machine-wash your shower curtain about once a month to keep it mildew-free. Double check the care tag on your curtain to make sure you clean it properly.
The following instructions work for most nylon, polyester, cotton and vinyl shower curtains:
- Remove the rings, then toss the curtain and the liner in the washing machine along with a couple of white towels. The towels will provide extra scrubbing for better cleaning, as well as balancing the load.
- Add the regular amount of detergent and ½ to 1 cup of baking soda. Add a laundry booster, such as oxygen bleach or borax, to help remove soap scum and mildew.
- Wash in cold, warm or hot water, depending on the material. For example, for plastic curtains/liners, you should wash on cold to prevent melting or warping.
- At the rinse cycle, add ½ to 1 cup of distilled white vinegar.
- Allow fabric curtains to run through the spin cycle, then hang to dry. You can also dry cloth shower curtains on low in the dryer, but don’t attempt this with vinyl, which could start to melt.
- Note: If the curtain is plastic, you don't have to run it through the spin cycle either. It’s ready to hang in the bathroom right after it rinses.
How do you clean plastic shower curtains?
"Washing a plastic shower curtain requires you to add either a half cup of color-safe bleach, detergent, vinegar or baking soda to your washing cycle, along with a few towels on a cool setting," says Mock. "If you are specifically looking to kill mold spores or remove mildew, we highly recommend bleach as your washing product choice. After washing, simply hang your plastic curtain back up to dry."
Here are a few other things to remember while machine washing a plastic curtain:
- Keep it the washing machine on a cool setting to avoid warping or melting.
- Add a bath towel or two to help balance the load and remove mildew or dirt.
- Never put your plastic curtain in the dryer — always air dry it.
Tips to keep your shower curtain/liner cleaner longer
While our experts suggest washing your curtain/liner about once a month, there are definitely some things you can do so that you can wait longer between washings.
- Most bar soaps cause soap scum. Use body wash or a non-soap cleansing bar instead of bar soap.
- Make it part of your daily routine to spray the shower curtain and liner with a mixture of half water, half distilled white vinegar. To tame the vinegar smell, add a few drops of lemon oil to the mix. There's no need to rinse as it will wash off the next time you shower.
- Once a week, spray the bottom of the curtain and liner with the vinegar/water mixture then scrub with a brush. This will remove any buildup you might have missed with daily spraying.
The best products for cleaning your shower curtain/liner
Add baking soda to your washing machine next time you clean your shower curtains and liners for an extra boost and top-notch cleaning power.
Keep a mix of half distilled vinegar and half water in a spray bottle in your shower and give that liner a good spritzing every time you shower to keep mildew and mold at bay.
This continuous spray bottle will spray every one to two seconds so you don't have to repeatedly pull the trigger, which makes for easier and quicker daily spritzing with your vinegar mixture.
Give that shower curtain and liner a clean boost with this high-performance laundry booster that uses bio enzymes to break down tough stains.
Even with lots of careful washing, your shower curtain liner will most likely need to be replaced at some point. Outlines makes that easier, with a subscription to get a replacement liner every three, six, or nine months, depending on your preferences. They even send you a mailing label and bag so you can send your old liner back to get recycled!