How to Clean a Shower Curtain

How to Clean a Shower Curtain hero image.

That dirty or aging shower curtain and shower curtain liner do not always need to be thrown away and replaced. They can be easily cleaned and brought back to like-new condition, saving you both money and time during those occasional house cleaning projects.

But how often should you wash your shower curtain?

You should clean your shower curtain every other week or once a month to keep mold growth under control. Keeping your bathroom clean, as well as dry and well-ventilated will help your curtain stay clean longer, but here are some helpful tips on how to consistently clean a shower curtain.

Tools and Materials Needed to Clean a Shower Curtain

Cleaning your shower curtain does not have to be time-consuming or expensive. It only takes a few household tools and materials to get the job done well.

Here is what you’ll need to achieve clean shower curtains:

  1. Mild detergent: Choose a gentle, non-abrasive detergent suitable for the material.
  2. Cleaning brush or sponge: Use to scrub away dirt and stains using a soft-bristled brush or sponge.
  3. Cleaning gloves: Wear gloves to protect your hands from cleaning agents.
  4. Towels: Use your towel to wipe down the shower curtain after cleaning.
  5. Bleach or vinegar: For tough stains, mold, or mildew removal, you can use bleach OR vinegar. Never use bleach and vinegar together because they create toxic gasses.

Step-by-Step Process for Cleaning a Shower Curtain

There are three common materials typically used for shower curtains: fabric, vinyl, or plastic. The cleaning process is a bit different for each.

Let the team at Molly Maid® walk you through each kind of shower curtain material and give a step-by-step process for cleaning.

How to Clean a Fabric Shower Curtain

Fabric shower curtain

Cleaning a fabric shower curtain requires a bit of extra care to remove stains, mold, and mildew. Follow these steps for cleaning a fabric shower curtain:

  1. Check instructions: First check the care instructions on the shower curtain tag for specific washing or cleaning recommendations provided by the manufacturer.
  2. Pre-treat stains: Use a mild detergent or stain remover and gently rub the stained areas.
  3. Machine wash: If the curtain is machine washable, put it on a gentle cycle with warm water and mild detergent.
  4. Hand wash: If the curtain is not machine washable, clean it by hand in a large basin with warm water and add a mild detergent. Gently scrub the fabric shower curtain using a soft brush or sponge.
  5. Hang to dry: Hang the curtain back on its hooks or rings to air dry. Do not use a clothes or hair dryer because the heat could damage the fabric.

How to Clean a Vinyl or Plastic Shower Curtain

Plastic shower curtain

Many people use the terms vinyl and plastic interchangeably when it comes to shower curtains, but differences exist. Vinyl shower curtains tend to be more durable and resistant to tearing, stretching, and fading compared to their plastic counterparts.

Even though there are small differences, the cleaning is the same for both shower curtain types. Baking soda and vinegar are best used to remove stains.

To keep your vinyl or plastic shower curtain clean in between washes, make sure to keep it spread out, which allows it to dry properly. This helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew. When it comes to removing the curtain from the shower and giving it a full clean, here are the step-by-step instructions:

  1. Check instructions: First check the care instructions on the shower curtain tag for specific washing or cleaning recommendations provided by the manufacturer.
  2. Remove the shower curtain: Take down the plastic shower curtain from the hooks or rings and lay it on a flat surface.
  3. Scrub: Use a sponge or soft brush dipped in a mixture of warm water and mild detergent to scrub the entire surface of the curtain.
  4. Baking soda or vinegar: For tough stains, mold, or mildew, use baking soda or vinegar. Make a paste using baking soda and water, or mix equal parts vinegar and water. Apply the mix to the affected areas, scrub, and then let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing the solution.
  5. Hang to dry: Once the curtain is clean, hang it back on its hooks or rings to air dry.

Can You Put a Shower Curtain in the Washing Machine?

Yes, you can wash a plastic shower curtain in the washer. Here are some shower curtain cleaning hacks for washing machines.

  • Keep it on a cool setting.
  • Add a bath towel or two.
  • Never put your plastic curtain in the dryer.
  • Always air dry your shower curtain.

How to Clean a Shower Curtain Liner

  • Simply take down the curtain and toss it in your washing machine.
  • Add a bath towel to help with scrubbing the shower liner.
  • Make sure you keep it on the gentle setting to avoid damaging the liner.
  • Hang the shower curtain liner to dry.

This method helps remove any built-up mold or mildew, which is very common on shower curtain liners that are constantly exposed to moisture and warmth. Following this suggestion can save you the cost of a new shower curtain liner, as well as help with the overall impression your shower makes.

Tips for Cleaning Tough Curtain & Liner Stains

Mildew on shower curtain

Always read your curtains tag for manufacturer cleaning advice first. For getting tough stains or mold off your shower curtain, use a one-to-one combination of bleach and water solution for spot cleaning. Scrub the stain with a brush.

How to Clean Shower Curtain Rings

Person removing shower curtain rings for cleaning

Your shower curtain rings are exposed to all sorts of steam, soap scum and dust—they can get pretty dirty.

Fill your bathroom sink with hot water and a cup of white vinegar. Soak your rings while your curtain is in the wash. Drain the sink and rinse the rings in warm water, using your fingers to scrape off any limescale or soap scum that remains.

How to Maintain Shower Curtain & Liner Cleanliness

Ensure Airflow

To maintain the cleanliness of your shower curtain and liner, ensure proper airflow in your bathroom. After showering, leave the curtain and liner partially open to allow moisture to evaporate. This helps prevent mold and mildew growth.

Regularly Use Bacteria Spray

Use a bacteria spray specifically designed for shower curtains and liners. Regularly spraying the surfaces after use can help inhibit the growth of bacteria and keep your curtain and liner fresh and clean.

Avoid Water Pooling

Avoid letting water pool on your shower curtain and liner. Ensure that they are properly hung to allow water to drain and dry quickly. Water pooling can lead to mold and mildew, so keeping the surfaces dry is essential for maintaining cleanliness.

Molly Maid Professional Bathroom and House Cleaning Services

While Molly Maid doesn’t include shower curtain cleaning as part of our regular cleaning services, we do clean bathrooms. Your shower walls, the inside of your tub, the sink, mirror, countertops, floor, and toilet. Learn more about our process for cleaning and how our services are backed by the Neighborly Done Right Promise™.

Ready to request a free house cleaning estimate in your area? Contact your local Molly Maid today!

FAQ About Shower Curtains & Liners

How often should you clean your shower curtains and liners?

You should clean your shower curtains every other week or once a month to keep mold growth under control. For shower curtain liners, it's best to clean them every two to three months to prevent mold buildup.

Are there signs that it is time to clean your shower curtains and liners?

Yes, some signs that indicate it's time to clean your shower curtains and liners include visible mold or mildew, lingering musty odors, or noticeable stains and discoloration.

How can you avoid damaging your shower curtains and liners during cleaning?

To avoid damaging your shower curtains and liners, consider following these tips:

  • Use mild detergent and avoid harsh chemicals.
  • Wash fabric curtains on a gentle cycle and air dry them.
  • For plastic or vinyl curtains, use a soft brush or sponge and mild detergent.

How can you clean a moldy shower curtain?

To clean a moldy shower curtain, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the curtain from the hooks or rings.
  2. Scrub the affected areas with a mixture of warm water and mild detergent.
  3. For tough stains or mold, use a paste of baking soda and water or a mix of equal parts vinegar and water.
  4. Let the solution sit for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly and air dry the curtain.

Check out this video for more tips on how to clean your shower curtain!

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