How To Clean Shower Curtain

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Below is a video showing several ways to clean a shower curtain.

The reason, of course, to clean a shower curtain is when it starts to get moldy and mildewy, and starts to look really nasty.

You don't want to be taking a shower next to that, do you?

So, when your shower curtain starts to look pretty nasty you could just throw it away and get a new one, especially if it is just a cheap vinyl one.

However, you may have a nice cloth shower curtain, or a fancy print on your curtain that you really like, and don't want to get rid of it, or you may be feeling frugal and environmentally friendly and want to reuse what you've got.

In any case cleaning a shower curtain is really simple to do. If you've got a cloth shower curtain just throw it in the wash, with laundry detergent, and then dry it.

If you've got a vinyl curtain you can wash it too, using laundry detergent and white vinegar. The video below says to wash it on the gentle cycle, but I have had no problem with a sturdier wash, personally.

You want to throw a couple of towels in with a vinyl curtain, and the video does not explain why, but it is because the towels rub against the curtain and help get all that nasty stuff off.

I also suggest washing in hot water to help kill all the mold and mildew on the shower curtain, so it doesn't grow back.

When it is finished washing just hang it back up in the shower and let it drip dry.

The video also says how to wash a vinyl curtain when you don't have a washing machine handy, but I think it sounds like a lot more work. If I had to I would just lug it down to the laundry mat with the rest of my clothes.

Here is the video for full details:

So, have you had any trouble washing a vinyl shower curtain in the washer on a setting other than gentle? I would love to know, so tell me in the comments.

In addition, you can share your own house cleaning tips here, or read other tips already submitted.

Top photo by EvelynGiggles

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How I Avoid Mildew Spots On My Shower Curtain

by Fee

Fee says:

Once a month I take my shower curtain and put it in the washing machine with a couple of old towels, just as you suggest. I don't use added detergent, as with daily use of soaps, shower gels and shampoos, a hot wash at 60C in the machine is enough for my fabric curtain.

If you have a vinyl or waterproof type curtain, possibly 60C may be a little too hot, and I would opt for a 50C wash.

I clean my bathroom daily, though once a week I go for the big clean-up. This also includes the shower curtain, which can tend to get mildew spots.

I've a good tip to avoid these. What I do: I get a spray bottle of Clorox Clean-Up, the one in the green bottle. I spray the black spots on my curtain and on any ceramic tiles or grouting, and I leave it.

When I check back next time I use the shower I find they have all completely disappeared.

Taylor says:

Thanks for your tips Fee.

So how do you clean this item in your bathroom? You can share your own tips here.

In addition, check out more tips for cleaning up mildew in the bathroom here.

How to clean a shower curtain when it gets dirty or moldy so that it looks great again. It's frugal, easy and doesn't take much time! {on Stain Removal 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Top photo courtesy of Nico Paix

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Comments for How I Avoid Mildew Spots On My Shower Curtain

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Works for me!
by: Anonymous

I wash my vinyl shower curtain liners 3 or 4 times before buying a new one. I think the one I have now is almost two years old. It is due for a washing. I have never thrown towels in with it though. I just throw it in with a little detergent and some bleach. It comes out totally clean every time. I just hang it back up and let it drip dry. Easier than driving to the store to buy a new one!

fading picture
by: KimS

I've washed my vinyl shower curtains in the washing machine with towels, as mentioned. The problem I run into is the decorative picture washes off. Any tips to avoid this? I'd like to get nicer shower curtains but wonder how it is with younger kids, is it harder for them to open and close a cloth curtain with a liner?

response re fading picture
by: Taylor

Hi Kim, I totally understand your frustration. Unfortunately, because this suggestion basically relies on the towels to rub and kind of scrub the shower curtain while it is being washed, resulting in friction, I'm not sure you can avoid this problem. Yes, shower curtains are cheap, but obviously if you're reading this page you'd like to reuse it, not just buy a new one. But the nature of their cheapness means they fade and have their pictures off easily. So, the answer for you in your situation is you don't want to use a cloth curtain in front of a plain vinyl liner might be to just buy a plain colored vinyl liner. Then, there isn't a picture to fade away. Anyone else have ideas?

can you do this in a front loader?
by: Anonymous

Can you do this in an HE front loading machine? Where do I pour the vinegar? Thanks!

response re HE machine question
by: Taylor

Yes, you can do this in a front loader just as well as a top loader. To add the vinegar you can actually just pour it into the machine, in the drum, at the beginning of the load when you're throwing in your shower curtain. Even at full strength it won't harm the curtain. The other possibility would be to add it to the detergent dispenser along with the detergent itself. Anyone else use an HE machine for this purpose that has any other suggestions?

tip to keep vinyl curtains from growing mold
by: Lori Craig

This is an easy self taught tip I came up with after living in homes with little or no air flow/exhaust fans in the bathroom. When you buy a vinyl shower curtain take it out of the package. Get a pair of scissors. Look at the bottom hem of the curtain, it is usually about 1/4 inch. Carefully take your scissors and cut that hem off. That's it! The 1/4 inch won't effect the usefulness of the curtain. When the water drains from your curtain it does not collect into the hem and that is where any mold begins. The water falls straight into the tub. I have never had mold grow on one again. It will get dingy from soap scum after awhile and I use the vinegar wash with the bathmat added to the machine, always comes out brand new looking. Easy Peasy!

Question on health concern
by: Anonymous

I'm a slight germaphobe. If you're not adding bleach, because mine is a colored curtain, with the towels, is this sanitary?

HE & Vinyl Suggestion
by: Kay

I use a front loading HE washing machine. Depending on when you want the vinegar released or how much you want to use, you can add the vinegar at the beginning of the wash cycle pouring directly into the detergent dispenser or in the fabric softener and/or bleach dispenser. They say it's good to wash towels w/vinegar so I add my fabric softener to the dispenser and fill it to the full line w/vinegar and fill the entire bleach dispenser w/vinegar. It helps to soften them, remove excess soap (bath & detergent) and cut down on the lint.

As far as trimming a vinyl shower curtain you can actually trim it much more than just the hem so your not dancing w/all that excess near the bottom of the tub. It gets dirtier down there and it's less to put into the washer.

I do this all the time, but sometimes I add bleach instead
by: Missy

I use this method and it works every time. However I do sometimes use a little bleach instead of the vinegar.

get hooks for both curtains to save yourself hassle
by: Anonymous

I have two shower curtains hanging. One is the vinyl on the inside of the tub and the pretty one made of fabric hangs on the outside of the tub. You can buy shower hooks that will accommodate both curtains and not have to unclip the hooks each time the curtain needs washing.

Use Bleach And Water
by: Deb C

I spray bleach and water til wet and let dry. Nothing is easier!

Hard water build up
by: Michal

We have very hard water. I also think that there is rust in the water because I get a layer of something that looks like the scale in the tea kettle all over the curtain. I wash it and it's better but it's still cloudy in spite of being clean. Any ideas to deal with it? Thanks

Cut the hem
by: Anonymous

When I buy a new vinyl shower curtain, the first thing I do is cut the hem off but I use pinking shears. Seems to drain better than just a straight cut.

Washing Machine
by: Stephen Osterday

We have a front load washer so I expect that to be more gentle on a vinyl curtain, but I've washed ours many times with just laundry detergent and I even run it through the dryer on low. I'll throw in some Borax along with it to do the heavy lifting.

Cloth Curtain
by: Karen

How do you get stains out of a cloth shower curtain?

hydrogen peroxide
by: msm

Peroxide removes mildew. I squirt it along bottom of shower curtain longer to prevent mold/mildew from developing and discoloring. That way I don't have to scrub stains.

spray with bleach solution
by: John

I do the bulk of bathroom cleaning with a spray bottle mixed with bleach and water. For the shower curtain, I never take it down, I just give it a good spray over with the solution, making sure I spray inside of folded over areas and the bottom well. Come back an hour later and all mold is gone and the curtain is spotless.

Top loader high efficiency
by: Anonymous

I actually just did this yesterday. It didn't come out totally clean. My top loading HE does not seem to clean nearly as well as my old agitator one. I even took the shower curtain out once to adjust it.

Does anyone else have this problem with a newer washer?

Shower curtains
by: Anonymous

In 6 years of living in this house, I have only washed the vinyl curtain once, when Taylor said I had to. I live in central Florida and the AC is on almost everyday. I washed it and it came out fine. The humidity is always low in our house.

I had a huge disappointment when I bought a beautiful shower curtain at Bed Bath & Beyond. It meshed so well with the rest of the room. I washed it before hand and it was ruined. It shrank 4 or 5 inches and the color ran. I returned it and just haven't found another I liked. Buyer beware.

On cutting off the bottom of the curtain....
by: Anonymous

Save yourself some time, and turn that plain curtain around so the 'hem' is on the outside. It won't show, and it won't collect any water!

Also, I use a little shampoo cup each day and rinse the soap off of the curtain (and the back wall) when I finish showering.
THEN, I pull the curtain almost closed on the far end, and open a bit more on the spout end so it actually has a chance of getting dry!

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CAUTION: This website is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees. Some stains and messes just won't come out, and are permanent. Further, some cleaning methods can harm your item, so if what you want to clean or launder is sentimental or expensive call a professional. See disclaimer of liability for more information.