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Your Shower Curtain Is Probably Gross, Here’s How to Clean It

Keeping your home clean can be surprisingly beneficial, both for your body and your mind. Washed laundry, cleaned dishes, and vacuumed floors contribute to an environment that is more hygienic and proven to help you relax. However, comprehensive house cleaning involves undertaking every task, not just the quick and easy ones. A frequently forgotten chore is the potential bacteria and feces-covered barrier in your bathroom. No, not the toilet seat. We’re talking about the curtain in your shower. So here’s a handy guide for how to clean a shower curtain.

Compared to everyday tasks like wiping down kitchen counters or decluttering your desk, places like your shower curtain can be a little harder to keep sanitarily neutral. While keeping one of the best bathroom cleaners on hand definitely helps, shower curtains quickly collect mold, mildew, and bacteria in the hot, humid bathing environment. That’s why knowing the best way to wash a shower curtain is a smart idea. But before we look at how you do it, let’s delve a bit deeper into why you should.

How Dirty Is a Shower Curtain?

Your shower curtain is probably dirtier than you think. Some studies have shown that it’s not, in fact, the toilet seat, the sink knob, or your toothbrush head that contains the most germs in the bathroom – it’s the shower curtain. You know, the translucent piece of plastic you slide back and forth pre- and post-cleanse. It likely has more grime on it than you expect, especially if it’s within spitting distance of your toilet. We won’t get too graphic, but if you aren’t already closing the toilet cover before every flush, you may have been unknowingly spreading fecal matter throughout your bathroom – including onto your shower curtain.

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Furthermore, things like mold, mildew and fecal matter can easily gather on a shower curtain. Once it starts growing, the warm and humid environment allows bacteria to thrive if left unchecked. While there’s little evidence that the grime on a typical shower curtain poses any kind of significant risk to the average household inhabitants’ health, regularly cleaning your shower curtain remains a good idea.

So if the shower curtain in your bathroom looks a little worse for wear, such as discoloration or splotches of an unknown origin, a cleaning is well overdue.  

How Often Should You Clean a Shower Curtain?

Wondering how often you should clean a shower curtain and/or liner? The answer to this question really depends on how often your shower gets used. If you only have one shower in your home and it’s in action daily, a monthly clean (at the very least) is a good idea. However, if the shower is located in a spare bedroom or guest room and is used far less frequently, a post-use or quarterly clean is perfectly acceptable.

TOP TIP:  A simple way to prevent mold growth and decrease the likelihood of bacteria build-ups is to spray the inside of your shower with a cleaning solution every week. There are several made-for-purpose cleaners available online. Alternatively, if you already have white vinegar in your home, a one part vinegar to four-parts water solution is an effective cleaning agent.


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This Wet & Forget shower cleaner is designed not to require scrubbing or wiping and cleaning to prevent the build-up of grime, oils, soap scum, mold, and mildew stains on your shower curtain. It contains no bleach or harsh fumes, which can be harsh when sprayed directly into your shower and not rinsed afterward, and it has a soft vanilla scent. The formula is designed to contain 12 weeks of cleaning power in each spray, making it a convenient and practical choice.


Method makes a tremendous daily shower cleaning spray of biodegradable formula that dissolves quickly and prevents soap scum. It cleans without the need for rinsing, is cruelty-free, and is formulated with a crisp eucalyptus mint scent that leaves behind a pleasant smell.


For an all-natural way to ensure your shower curtain receives a comprehensive clean, try adding some Lucy’s Family Owned White Vinegar into the mix. It comes in a sizeable one-gallon bottle, which means you’ll have enough vinegar for months, if not years, to come. Handily, this versatile product can also be used to clean hard surfaces around the house, whiten clothing garments, or restore a glass shower screen.


Powered by plant-based ingredients, including tea tree oil and aloe vera, this ECOS Shower Cleaner with Tea Tree Oil is an eco-friendly way to keep your shower curtain in top condition. For the best results, it’s recommended you spray the area you wash it after every use and then leave it to soak in without using wipes or scrubbing. By doing this, this popular spray helps to prevent future soap scum, mildew, and mold.

How to Clean a Shower Curtain

Whether you want to know how to clean a shower curtain or how to clean a fabric shower curtain liner, our handy step-by-step guide has you covered. The easy-to-follow steps can be used on cloth curtains, liners, and everything which is washing machine safe. If your shower curtain isn’t safe for cleaning in a washing machine, you can choose to hand clean it instead. In addition, we’ve included a number of products to help you to clean and restore your curtain to a like-new state:

  • Step 1: Remove the shower curtain/liner from the rail. 
  • Step 2: Throw it into your washing machine with a small amount of detergent, vinegar and baking soda. You can also add one or two towels to produce more friction and help prevent the curtain from sticking to the washer drum.
  • Step 3: Start your machine on a gentle, warm water cycle (never hot or high-speed).
  • Step 4: Once complete, hang the shower curtain out to dry. A backyard (weather permitting) or any other well-ventilated space will allow the curtain to dry fully.
  • Step 5: Once the curtain/liner is dry, fit it back on the rail.

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This foaming bathroom cleaner is basically the opposite of the gentle, plant-based cleaners above, but it’s made to deep clean surfaces without the need for intense wiping. This 19-ounce bottle contains an OxiClean citrus scent, sprays on blue, and turns white when it’s ready to be wiped away. It’s formulated to remove tough dirt and grime and would work perfectly on those stubborn grooves in your shower curtain where bacteria accumulates.


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By topping up your wash cycle with a little bit of this Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, you’ll be able to achieve next-level results when cleaning a plastic shower liner. In addition, baking soda is a highly versatile product used for specific baking recipes and cleaning and deodorizing surfaces around your home. The powder is also free of harsh chemicals and gentle enough to use around the house. However, it’s still more than capable of delivering impressive results when it comes to cleaning tasks.


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Adding Tide Liquid Laundry Detergent Soap to the machine is a simple yet effective answer to cleaning a shower curtain. This product boasts Tide’s original scent, delivering a refreshing finish. The formula is also designed to tackle general dirt while brightening colors. To top it off, the bottle cap features level markings to show how much product is required for different load sizes, so you can be confident you’re pouring in just the right amount.


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Grab Green Natural Bleach Alternative Pods are a great choice if you’re concerned about reacting to the product used to clean your shower curtain. Their hypoallergenic formula is made from plant and mineral-based ingredients, making them safe for you and your family. Plus, the fact that they come pre-packaged in individual pods means you don’t need to worry about measuring the correct amount each time.



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This Gain + Aroma Boost Liquid Laundry Detergent is another impressively well-reviewed product. The included Oxi Boost, which is made up of pre-treaters, surfactants, and enzymes, remove unpleasant odors and leaves everything smelling noticeably clean and fresh after every wash. The versatile cleaning detergent can also be used in all kinds of machines, as well as at different temperatures, including cold water.

Shower Curtain Spot Cleaning and Quick Fixes

If you need a quicker, less time-consuming method for cleaning a shower curtain or liner, we’ve put together a selection of top-rated products which can be used in the interim to spot, clean, disinfect and remove stains without having to take it down.


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Get yourself an MR.SIGA Microfiber Cleaning Cloth and some bicarbonate soda, and you’ll be on your way to a clean shower curtain. Dampen the surface, sprinkle a little bicarbonate soda on and use one of the cloths to wipe away unwanted dirt or bacteria. Each included cloth is surprisingly soft yet highly effective at cleaning and can be machine washed for reuse.


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Given the backing from more than 75,000 five-star ratings from Amazon users, these Clorox Disinfecting Wipes really are a must-have cleaning aid. Each powerful wipe can remove 99.9% of viruses and bacteria from surfaces and can be used in almost any room, including bathrooms, offices, classrooms, and pet areas. These versatile wipes are also supplied in a resealable pack, making them the ideal go-to for quick cleaning jobs or unexpected spills.


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Removing hard water stains is a frequent headache for folks who live in areas where the water contains more minerals than in other parts of the country. Hard water can leave behind mineral deposits, oily residue, and rust stains, but this cleaner is designed to tackle and remove it. The cleanser is formulated to remove everyday grime and comes with a non-scratch, dual-action sponge with a tough and smooth side. This formula works on a whole bunch of surfaces around your home, including showers and shower curtains.


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If your shower curtain already has mold stains or smells like mildew, this spray is formulated to get rid of them quickly and remove unwanted odors as well. This fast-acting spray requires no scrubbing and is safe to use on shower curtains, bathtubs, brick, drywall, and various other surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom.


When in doubt, use Clorox. This bleach formula is designed to sanitize almost any surface in your bathroom, from your shower curtain to your tub, toilet bowl, counter, and floor. The spray can kill up to 99.99% of germs commonly found in bathrooms, including E.coli, and cuts through soap scum, grime, mold, and mildew that can riddle a shower curtain. This 2-pack will set you up for several deep cleans and arm you with a powerful formula that can bring your grimy shower curtain back to an acceptable state.



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This Microban 24-Hour Bathroom Cleaner and Sanitizing Spray is a versatile cleaning tool that can be used to clear counters, sinks, toilets, bathtubs, showers, and tiles of 99.9% of germs and bacteria. It’s supplied in a handy spray bottle which allows for precision application. Additionally, the spray’s citrus scent leaves surfaces smelling fresh and appealing as they protect your hard surfaces from mold and mildew for at least seven days after cleaning.


If you’re not really into floaty shower curtains and opt for glass or perspex doors instead, this Coastal Shower Doors Restoration Kit is for you. The three-step kit is an ideal cleaning addition for any homeowner with a glass door on their shower. Each of the three included solutions takes you through a specific step when cleaning, including cleaning, sealing, and maintaining the quality of the glass. Additionally, the set comes with all the sponges and clothes required to deliver the best results.

The Best Replacement Shower Curtains

As with many of the regularly used items in your home, there is a time when your shower curtain will come to the end of its life. If your shower curtain has been scrubbed, passed through the washing machine and even undergone treatment with harsh cleaning chemicals, and it still isn’t coming clean, it’s time to invest in a new one. 

To help you find a suitable replacement, here are some of our picks for the best shower curtain and best shower liner available online.


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This shower curtain liner has a waterproof design to keep your bathroom as clean and dry as possible. It’s got a convenient and durable construction, with three heavy magnets on the bottom for keeping it as straight as possible. It’s made of high-quality, earth-friendly PVC material and rust-proof grommets, and it’s got a reinforced header that prevents tearing.


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Shower curtains don’t have to be expensive to look expensive. Clean, crisp, white, and easy to wash, this shower curtain is the perfect addition to the room you want to look and feel its cleanest. Using a 65% polyester and 35% cotton blend keeps the curtain soft but largely odor- and stain-resistant.


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This decorative shower curtain has a classic striped design for a fresh, clean look in the bathroom. The thick stripe is a darker taupe color, while the thinner, more complimentary stripes are a charcoal grey. It’s got tassels along the bottom that give it a fun, updated look, and it’s sized for standard bathtub dimensions. Since it’s a fabric curtain, it’s best to pick up a waterproof plastic curtain liner to pair with it and make it easier to dry.


This fabric shower curtain can be paired with a shower curtain liner or not, as it’s been given a waterproof treatment to prevent splashing and make it easier to dry after your shower. It’s got reinforced holes up top to avoid rupture after long-term use, and it’s machine washable.

how to clean a shower curtain peva light weight

At under $5, this PEVA Light Weight Shower Liner is the budget-friendly answer to installing or replacing a shower liner. The liner’s clear; transparent design makes it easy to pair with any kind of bathroom aesthetic or existing shower curtain. It’s also made from 100% PEVA and sized to fit standard-sized tubs. Additionally, a button-hole top makes it quick and easy to fit, while magnets on the lower hem keep the curtain in place during use.