How to Wash Shower Curtains

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Your shower curtain. It covers the area where you get yourself clean. And mostly, it just gets hit with soap and water. So it's already naturally clean....right? After all, isn't soap and water how you clean things? The truth is, your shower curtain can get dull and dirty over time. You need to know how to clean it because you need to regularly perform this task to keep your shower curtain nice and keep the area where you bathe clean.

How to Clean a Fabric Shower Curtain

There are all kinds of different shower curtains out there. One pretty classic setup is to have a fabric shower curtain and a plastic shower curtain liner. This creates two different layers. And yes, you have to clean them both. If you have a fabric shower curtain, start there because this is the easiest.

Take it Off

Remove the shower curtain. This means you'll have to detach the curtain from the shower curtain hooks that hang along the rod.


Once you have the curtain and the hooks removed, separate the two layers so the fabric shower curtain is separate from the plastic liner.

Check Label

Check for an instructions tag on the shower curtain. Most fabric shower curtains will have cleaning instructions so you know exactly how to wash and dry the curtain. Many times, you can simply do this in the washing machine.

Target Stains

If there are stains or areas of the curtain that look particularly grimy or covered in soap scum, use a stain-treater to loosen up the dirt before you wash the curtain.

Wash as Directed

Follow the instructions to wash the shower curtain. If there are no instructions, wash the curtain on a gentle cycle in warm to hot water.

Gently Dry

Unless otherwise instructed, dry the shower curtain on a low heat and promptly remove it from the dryer. If you aren't ready to hang it back up, you can fold it until you're ready for it.

hands removing shower curtain from hanging rings

Tip: Add a large white towel or two medium-sized white towels to the load with your shower curtain. The towels have a slightly coarse surface that will help scrub the shower curtain clean.

Tip: If your shower curtain is particularly dirty, add about one-half cup of baking soda to the detergent receptacle and a half cup of distilled white vinegar to the washer during the rinse cycle. If there is mold on the shower curtain, use bleach or a bleach alternative that won't whiten your colored shower curtain. This will kill the mold so you can keep your shower curtain.

How to Wash a Plastic Shower Curtain or Liner

It is possible to clean a plastic shower curtain or liner but the method is just a little bit trickier. There are two different options you can use to clean a plastic shower curtain.

Machine Washing the Curtain

Pick a Cleanser

Machine wash the curtain. You can do this by using either a mild detergent, baking soda or white vinegar. Don't use all three or even two of these cleaners at once. Just use one.

Gently Wash

Use the gentle cycle. If you notice some shower curtain areas aren't completely clean, scrub these spots by hand using a cleaning cloth with white vinegar.

Hang Dry

Hang the curtain back on the shower curtain rod to dry. Don't put your fabric curtain, if you have one, back on the rod until the plastic curtain has dried. Don't ever put a plastic shower curtain in the dryer!

Hand Washing the Curtain

hands washing mesh curtain in soapy basin

If you don't want to machine-wash your plastic shower curtain or liner, it can be washed by hand.

Prep a Cloth

Dampen a cleaning cloth and sprinkle baking soda on it.

Wipe Down

Use the cloth to wipe down the shower curtain front and back, re-dampening the cloth and adding baking soda as needed.


Rinse the shower curtain thoroughly.

Target Problem Spots

Spot treat any problem areas that remain and rinse again until the curtain is clean.

Hang Dry

Hang the curtain up to air dry.

Cleaning Tips

Fill up a spray bottle with half water and half distilled vinegar. Add a few drops of lemon juice. Mix. Spray this solution on your plastic shower liner daily to remove soap scum and keep the curtain clean.

You should technically clean your shower curtain daily, but in the real world, that isn't always possible. So try to stick to a cleaning schedule of washing your shower curtain about once a month and you'll keep it clean and looking nice.

You can clean your shower curtain rings with white vinegar, too. Fill up a large bowl (or the bathroom sink) with about half hot water and half vinegar and let them soak while you're cleaning your curtain. You may need to scrub away any stubborn soap scum or grime with a cleaning toothbrush.