Learn How To Clean Your Shower Curtain: 2 Of The Best Ways

How often do you clean your shower curtains? Are you surprised? Yeap! You have to clean them! Maybe not so often as your shower glass but still! It might continuously be in the water, but that doesn’t mean that it’s been washed.

A white shower curtain in a beautiful bathroom

Shower curtains and liners get dirty over time due to mould and soap scum build-up. Fortunately, most of the curtains and liners can be washed either they’re made of cloth or plastic. You can just toss them in the washing machine like the rest of the fabrics, or you can just wash them by hand. So, if you were used to throwing your dirty curtains, don’t do that anymore! You’re just about to learn how to wash them!

How to clean a shower curtain in the washing machine

Whether you own a fabric or plastic curtain, you can wash it in the washing machine, as long as they’re washable in the machine. You don’t have to do much. You just have to remove them from the rings and pop them into the washer. But you’ll still have to follow some tips to be sure that your curtain will be washed properly and safely. Just remember to check the care label first.

Here’s how you have to wash your curtain in the machine.

    1. Remove your shower curtain from the rings and throw them in the machine. Don’t forget to remove any metal hooks before placing them in the machine.
    2. Toss a couple of towels into the machine along with the curtain. Towels will prevent the curtain from wrinkling, sticking to itself, and being torn apart in the machine.
    3. Add the usual amount of laundry detergent you always use. You can also add a half-cup of baking soda. If you have a big curtain, you should add more.
    4. Set the machine to the gentle cycle and use water. If you wash a fabric curtain, you can use hot water instead. 
    5. As soon as the rinse cycle is on, add a half-cup of vinegar
    6. When the cycle ends, hang your curtain back to place. Never tumble dry them. They dry on their own on the rod. 

a woman placing her shower curtain in the washing machine

Extra tip: If your curtain is white or transparent, you can use bleach to remove dirt and grime. A 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach is more than enough. What’s more, avoid using fabric softener as it could damage your plastic curtain. 

Note: If you wash a plastic curtain, don’t run it through the spin cycle. After rinsing, you can hang it.

How to hand wash a shower curtain

Cleaning your curtain in the machine is probably the easiest way. However, if your curtain isn’t machine washable, there’s another way to clean it. Thus, instead of washing your fabric or plastic curtain in the washer, you can also wash it by hand

To hand-wash your shower curtain, you need:

  • Baking soda
  • Damp cloths
  • Warm water
  • Dry microfiber cloths


  1. Get a damp cloth and sprinkle some soda on it.
  2. Scrub the curtain with the damp cloth. Don’t unhang the curtain. Leave it as it is. Scrub the entire curtain to remove as much dirt and grime as possible.
  3. Get a dry cloth and soak it in water. Wipe the curtain to remove the soda. Damp the cloth again whenever is required so that all the soda residue is being removed. 
  4. Now, it’s time to focus on any stubborn stains. Get a new, clean cloth and damp it  (you can also use a scrub brush). Sprinkle again with soda and scrub the soap, scum stains and mildew
  5. Finally, get a new, dry, clean cloth and soak it in water. Scrub the curtain again to clean all the soda residue

Extra tip: Instead of wiping away soda residue with a damp cloth, you can simply rinse it with water

A woman hand washing her shower curtain

How to clean the shower curtain liner

Cleaning the shower curtain liner doesn’t differ in the process of cleaning the curtain. You can wash it either in the washer or hand-wash it. Always check the washing instructions before tossing it in the machine

Cleaning the shower liner in the washing machine

  1. Like a curtain, the first thing to do is to unhang the curtain liner and place it in the machine. Don’t forget to throw some towels too to protect the liner and help it get washed.
  2. Add the laundry detergent and a 50% cup of baking soda. Then, choose a gentle wash cycle using water.
  3.  Finally, when the cycle is finished, hang the liner back to the curtain rod to dry

Note: Don’t use fabric softener. It might damage the plastic shower liner.

Hand-washing the shower liner

If you have a plastic liner or if it isn’t machine washable, you can still clean it, without removing it from its place, as you did with the curtain

You’re going to need:

  • Baking soda
  • Damp cloths
  • Warm water
  • Dry microfiber cloths

Then, do as follows:

  1. Sprinkle some soda over a damp cloth and scrub the entire liner to get rid of as much grime as possible. 
  2. Next, soak a dry cloth in water and wipe the curtain to remove the soda
  3. After cleaning all the soda off the curtain, deal with the persistent stains, sprinkle soda on a new, clean, damp cloth and scrub the soap and scum stains
  4. Finally, with a new, dry, clean cloth soaked in water, scrub the curtain again to clean all the soda residue

Extra tip: Instead of wiping away soda residue with a damp cloth, you can simply rinse it with water

How to clean shower curtain rings

When it comes to cleaning the curtain, the shower rings should also be included. They might not be exposed to that much moisture as the curtain to develop mildew. However, they can get dirty as they’re exposed to steam, dust and soap scum. So, don’t neglect cleaning them. You don’t have to do much to clean the rings. 

A woman cleaning the rings of a shower curtain

Just follow the below steps:

  1. Remove the shower curtain rings from the rod and soak them in the bathroom sink filled with hot water and a cup of white vinegar.
  2. Let them soak for as long as the curtain is being washed.
  3. After you have washed the curtain, scrub with your fingers the rings to clean them of any dirt and limescale, and rinse them with water. While rinsing them, keep scrubbing to get rid of the remaining dirt.

How often should you clean a shower curtain?

The shower curtain and liner need regular cleaning. The ideal frequency is to wash them once a month or at least once every three months. You use your curtain almost daily. Do you want to come in contact with a dirty curtain

When it’s the right time to replace the shower curtain?

Whether you have a cloth or a plastic curtain, they can both accumulate dirt and absorb water, helping mould and bacteria to grow, especially between the curtain’s folds where water can’t escape. 

For health reasons and your bathroom’s good looks, you need to replace your curtain at least once a year, under the condition you wash it regularly. Otherwise, you should replace it more often, mainly when it wears down, or it starts to look really dirty. If you live, though, in hard water areas, then you should change it more often than once a year due to the high limescale that probably will accumulate at the bottom of your curtain. 

Proactive tips: How to keep a curtain clean for longer

Beyond cleaning your curtain every week and replacing it every year, there’s always a way to keep your curtain clean for longer. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you’ll never clean it again or you’ll never buy a new one. 

  1. Before hanging your new plastic shower curtain, run it through a rinse cycle first with some vinegar and set the wash cycle using water. When the cycle ends, hang the curtain on the rod and let it dry. This will keep the curtain and liner from getting dirty. 
  2. To avoid the soap scum that most bar soaps cause and build up at the bottom of the curtain, you can use body wash or a non-soap cleansing bar.
  3. Every day spray the liner and curtain with a mixture of equal parts of water and white vinegar. If you don’t like vinegar’s smell, add a few lemon oil drops to the spray bottle. You don’t have to rinse the vinegar solution. This will prevent dirt from building up. It’ll rinse the next time you’ll have a shower. 
  4. Every week, spray the curtain and the liner with the vinegar resolution and scrub the bottom with a scrub brush. This way, you’ll remove any dirt that the mixture didn’t prevent from building up. 
  5. After showering, open the curtain completely to help it dry and prevent moisture from being trapped in the folds of the curtain. 

A woman pulling her shower curtain to open it

Now, you know how to clean your shower curtain. Check the washing instructions and decide how to wash it. Clean it every week to get rid of dirt and prevent mildew from developing. You can also keep a spray bottle filled with vinegar and water and spray the curtain, focusing on the bottom,  to have a spotless curtain.

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