5 Most Common Shower Curtain Liner Materials

shower curtain

A shower curtain liner come in a variety of materials, including vinyl and plastic. While there are 3 basic categories of shower curtain materials, fabric, vinyl and plastic, there are many subcategories of each material. Liners usually come in vinyl or plastic. The traditional vinyl or plastic liners have been reported to be toxic and that "fresh new liner" smell you get when opening the package of a new liner is really just off-gassing of chemicals that have been shown to cause liver and neurological damage, even after hanging and aired out. Things to look for in vinyl or plastic shower curtain liners are liners made of Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) or Polyethylene Vinyl Acetate (PEVA). Both are safe vinyls.

Although they're more expensive than their vinyl counterparts, shower curtain liners made out of organic hemp or cotton, polyester, or nylon are also good alternatives. They can be waterproofed by washing or spraying with a commercial fabric waterproofer to make them more water resistant. Whether you select vinyl, plastic, or a fabric liner, all are lightweight and hang easily on permanent or spring loaded shower curtain rods.

No matter what the liner material, consider design elements as well. Plastic and vinyl liners with a printed design may hold up under a few machine washings, but inexpensive curtains may have designs that flake off, fade, or crack after repeated washings. Fabric liners designs may fade after repeated washings.

Things to Consider When Selecting a Shower Curtain Liner

  • What kind of shower curtain will you be pairing it with?
  • Will the liner be the only shower curtain you want to use?
  • What color of liner will you need? Translucent? Clear? Colored?
  • How much use does your shower get? Get a heavy duty curtain if it will be used a lot.
  • What is your budget? Inexpensive liners cost from $4 to $12.
  • Will plastic or vinyl compliment your bathroom best?
  • Should you get a themed curtain with a design printed on it?
  • How often will I clean it? Repeated washings may weaken, fade or harm many designs on vinyl, plastic or fabric.
  • How easy is it to replace? If you see a unique or unusual design, it might be good to buy 2.

Types of Safe Shower Curtain Liners

  • Organic hemp or cotton
  • PEVA
  • EVA
  • Polyester
  • Nylon

Advantages of Vinyl and Plastic Shower Curtain Liners

  • Plastic and vinyl liners can be washed.
  • Plastic and vinyl liners can be wiped down quickly with a sponge and vinegar to remove soap scum.
  • Good quality plastic or vinyl are durable, long-lasting, and won't fade.
  • Plastic and vinyl come in a variety of colors to match or compliment most décors.
  • Plastic and vinyl liners can be transparent or translucent.
  • Plastic and vinyl liners made of non-toxic chemicals are hypo-allergenic.

Advantages of Fabric Shower Curtain Liners

  • Fabric liners like cotton, nylon, polyester, or hemp can be washed.
  • Fabric liners appear warmer, softer, and more natural.
  • Fabric liners can be more closely matched to bathroom curtains or décor.
  • Nylon and polyester are very lightweight and easy to maintain.
  • Fabric liners can be waterproofed with commercial waterproofing to make them more water-resistant.