If you have a fabric shower curtain and don't want to use a vinyl liner, consider waterproofing your fabric. The easiest way to waterproof the curtain is to take the fabric to a dry cleaner or tailor for professional service. If you're willing to risk spotting or hurting a small piece of your fabric to see if it can be waterproofed, you have several options.
Step 1 - Decide if You Need a Waterproof or Water-Resistant Curtain
There's a difference between waterproof and water-resistant shower curtains. A water-resistant curtain repels water but will still get wet when exposed to water for long periods of time. Decide which type of show curtain you need so you know which product to buy.
If your curtain will be exposed to soap scum or high humidity, select waterproofing rather than water-resistant methods. Your fabric will often determine the method you'll need to use. Check instructions on any chemical or treatment you plan to use.
Step 2 - Select a Waterproofing or Water-Resistant Method
Fabrics are traditionally waterproofed by coating them with rubber or a synthetic resin, then baking or vulcanizing them. This process isn't really an option for the average homeowner, but new chemical applications may be.
If you want to waterproof your fabric shower curtain, you'll need a chemical repellent used to waterproof outdoor wear like jackets and pants. You may use some spray products for waterproofing a variety of fabrics used in the outdoors or in car interiors.
Step 3 - Apply Waterproofing Treatment
Before applying any waterproof or water-resistant treatment, thoroughly wash the fabric to get rid of sizing and starch that may repel or interfere with the waterproofing. If you cannot wash the fabric, dry clean it before applying sprays or treatment. Don't use scented cleaners, dyes, or fabric softeners prior to waterproofing, as they may weaken or interact with the waterproofing.
Remember to work in a well-ventilated area. Don't spray chemicals on or near wood surfaces. Test a small area of the fabric shower curtain for color-fastness before you waterproof the entire curtain. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, as each product is different.