Shower Curtain: Mold and Mildew Protection

shower curtain

Mold and mildew thrive in the bathroom, especially on your shower curtain. Whether you use a heavy opaque vinyl curtain or a lightweight plastic curtain, your shower curtain can't resist mold and mildew, a leading cause of respiratory allergies. Follow these suggestions to protect yourself and your family from unsightly mold and mildew growth on shower curtains.

Before You Shower

Shake out the shower curtain and check for existing mold or mildew. The fungus will look like black spots or film on water-resistant materials, and as brown or black stains on water-absorbent fabrics. Put the bottom edge back inside the tub.

Spray the shower curtain with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water before showering to discourage new mold and mildew growth. Turn on the bathroom light and ceiling fan before turning on the hot water in the shower area. Check for any water leaks or existing mold spots around tiles and grout. Spray these with the vinegar and water solution before showering.

Remove any wet bath mats, facecloths or towels already in the bathroom. Remove them and hang up to dry out of the bathroom, near a source of fresh air if possible. Have a large sponge, thick hand towel, J-cloth or squeegee handy to wipe down the entire shower area, including the walls, tub or floor, fixtures, ceiling, and shower curtain immediately after you shower.

Use liquid soap on a bath puff, or a hard-milled soap bar with a facecloth in the shower. Cream soaps create foamy lather that clings to every surface, inviting mold and mildew growth. With prolonged use, they will clog the drain. Put the towels you will dry with near the shower so you can reach them from inside the shower space. Use a separate towel for long, thick, wet hair.

During Your Shower

Keep the shower curtain closed to prevent splashing water onto absorbent soft surfaces, such as bath rugs, cloth outer curtains, and bath mats. Point the shower head down at the steepest angle that is comfortable. Doing so prevents water getting onto the floor, where it can be absorbed by mats and carpets.

After Your Shower

Dry yourself inside the tub or shower enclosure to prevent wet splashes all over the bathroom, creating spots where mold may grow undetected. Wipe every surface, including the shower curtain, thoroughly with the wiper or squeegee. Leave the light and fan on while you do the cleanup to help speed drying. Spread the shower curtain over the tub edge, out to its full width to dry completely.

Hang your wet shower towel on a drying rack. Put 1 in each bedroom near the window to make this habit easy. Noisy ceiling fans are often clogged with dust. Clean the fan regularly and lubricate it with WD-40 or other spray lubricant if it still squeaks after dusting. Keeping the bathroom dry between showers will greatly reduce mold and mildew buildup, so everyone will feel cleaner and breathe more easily.