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How to clean a shower curtain and liner to remove mildew and stains

How to clean a shower curtain and liner to remove mildew and stains
Posted at 4:30 AM, Feb 22, 2024

These days, many families are more likely to toss their shower curtain and liner than clean them properly once they get old and gross. After all, you can get a liner at a fairly cheap price — a 72-by-72-inch plastic shower curtain liner with magnets starts at around $6 on Amazon.

But the costs do add up over time, and maybe you’d like to spend your money on other things, especially as prices on everything else get higher. Besides, tossing away a plastic liner is not particularly good for the environment.

If you’re willing to spend a little time cleaning your own shower curtain, here’s what you should know.

How Often Should You Clean Your Shower Curtain And Liner?

Lauren Bowen, former franchise director at Two Maids and a Mop, told Martha Stewart that you don’t really need to clean your shower curtain that often, as long as you have a liner that actually gets most of the water exposure. Once every three months should be sufficient.

Meanwhile, your shower liner should see a bit more care. Merry Maids suggests cleaning your shower curtain liner at least once a month to prevents bacteria and mold from building up. If your shower curtain gets wet a lot, you may even want to clean it more than that.

How To Clean Your Shower Curtain In The Washing Machine

woman turning washing machine dial

Simply place your fabric or plastic curtains in the washer on the delicate cycle, using a cold or warm water setting. Check any tags in case there are special instructions from the manufacturer.

Add a touch of detergent to the machine, but also throw in a cup of vinegar and half a cup of baking soda. The vinegar helps prevent the growth of mold, while the baking soda breaks down stains.

You may also want to throw in a few towels to reduce wrinkling on the plastic liner. The towels might even help wipe down the curtains during the wash cycle.

After you’ve put it through the washing machine, air-dry your plastic shower liner. You can simply place it back on the rod to do this. Do not put plastic curtains in the dryer.

MORE: 14 unexpected things you can clean in your washing machine

How To Hand Wash Your Shower Curtain

Some experts prefer hand-washing, especially for plastic curtains. There are a few methods you can use to do this. Fill a tub or large sink with warm water, then adding the curtain and a little detergent with about a quarter-cup of baking soda. You’ll agitate the water by hand until the level of cleanliness suits you.

You can also wash the curtain without taking it off the rod. You’ll simply create a solution that’s made up of one part vinegar to four parts water in a spray bottle. Spread your shower curtain out and spray the solution on it until it’s completely saturated on the side that faces into the tub.

MORE: 30 green cleaning products you can make at home or buy cheap

Of course, good products are available that will help you remove stains and bacteria from your shower curtain. One is Kaboom Oxi-Clean Foam-tastic Foaming Bathroom Cleaner.

oxiclean foaming bathroom cleaner

$8.48 at Home Depot

How To Get Rid Of Mold And Mildew On Your Shower Curtain And Liner

If your curtain has mold or mildew on it, it will require a little more work. Merry Maids suggests adding a little bleach to a tub of warm water and soaking your plastic curtain. Then, run it through the rinse cycle of your washing machine on warm.

For a cloth curtain, you can use a fabric stain remover to pretreat it and then wash it in the machine as usual. If your curtain or liner still has visible mold or staining after you wash it, it’s time to throw the old one out and replace it altogether.

For really tough stains, a commercial mold and mildew cleaner like this one from Tilex may be the answer.

woman using tilex mold and mildew cleaner

$14.49 (for 2) at Amazon

Maintain Your Curtain Between Cleanings

You can also treat your curtain or liner daily to make sure it lasts longer between true cleanings. Use a daily shower spray, for example. Method’s Daily Shower Spray Cleaner is great for keeping soap scum and dirt at bay, and you do nothing but spray it on after you shower. No rinsing is required.

Method shower spray

$12.50 (for a 4-pack) at Amazon

However you choose to maintain your shower curtain, make sure you’re cleaning it frequently to safeguard the health of your family.

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