Tips on Cleaning Shower Curtains

It doesn't seem like a shower curtain could get so dirty. After all, it takes a shower every time you do. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. Soap scum and hard water buildup remain on the shower curtain long after you've gotten out and dried off. These things accumulate over time and can eventually make for a very unclean shower curtain. Cleaning it is simple and should be done on a regular basis, such as once a month.

Pre-Treating the Shower Curtain Before Cleaning

Shower curtains

If you notice mold or mildew or even a large buildup of soap scum, you will need to pre-treat the curtain before you can effectively wash it. If mold or mildew are the problem, use caution. Wear gloves, glasses and a mask to protect yourself as mold and mildew have been linked to numerous respiratory ailments. Take the curtain outside and use a medium bristle brush to brush away the mold and mildew, making sure that none of it comes back into the house with you. If you must get rid of the mold inside, brush it over the trash can and dispose of the bag immediately. Fill the bathtub with enough water to submerge the curtain and add a cup of bleach. Let the shower curtain soak for 15-20 minutes. If the shower curtain is made of fabric rather than plastic, bleach may fade it so use a cup of white vinegar instead. Soaking it with either will help to eliminate mold and soap scum.

Washing the Shower Curtain

Read the label on your shower curtain first and follow any manufacturer's instructions for special care for your shower curtain. While you can wash most shower curtains in the washing machine, some shower curtains may say specifically not to. For those you can, wash the shower curtain in warm water with detergent and add a cup of bleach or vinegar. Add a couple of towels to the load so they will rub up against the curtain during the cycle and help it get clean. When the cycle is finished, hang the curtain up to dry. Do not put shower curtains in the dryer.

For hand-washing the curtain, fill the bathtub with warm water and add a scoop of detergent and a cup of white vinegar. Place the curtain in the tub and let it soak for a few minutes before washing it clean by gently scrubbing with a clean cloth or sponge. Rinse the shower curtain with clean water and hang it up to dry.

About the Author

Melynda Sorrels spent 10 years in the military working in different capacities of the medical field, including dental assisting, health services administration, decontamination and urgent medical care. Awarded the National Guardsman’s Medal for Lifesaving efforts in 2002, Sorrels was also a nominee for a Red Cross Award and a certified EMT-B for four years.