How to Clean a Plastic Shower Curtain

This may be a dumb question but there is one chore in my house that I absolutely detest. It is cleaning the blasted shower curtain. Maybe it’s just me? Mine tends to get all dingy and eventually moldy and I just can not seem to get rid of it. I usually just end up buying new curtains every few months but I figure there must be a better way. How do I get the darn thing clean?!?

There are two answers to this question: an easy one, and a more difficult one.

I’ll start with the more difficult one.

Step 1: To clean your plastic shower curtain toss it in the washing machine, then add a cup (or two, if it’s really moldy) of white vinegar.

Step 2: Put the washing machine on the gentle cycle and toss a couple towels in with the curtain to keep it from getting rolled into a big ball.  Plastic is a little trick to wash so it’s better if there’s something in there with it.

Step 3: Run the washing machine with hot water to help the vinegar to be more effective.

Step 4: When the washing machine has completed it’s cycle hang the curtain back up and use a sponge or Magic Eraser to scrub off any mildew that’s still hanging on.

Step 5: Rinse with warm water and then let it hang to dry.

Here’s the easy answer:
Toss the “blasted” plastic shower curtain in the trash and buy a fabric liner.  I discovered fabric liners in college and I’ll never go back.

Fabric liners are great because they are easy to wash and easy to keep clean.  In our house we have a stall shower in the master bathroom so only the guest bathroom has a shower curtain.  It doesn’t get used very often but before and after guests stay with us I always toss it in the washing machine.  You can buy different colored fabric liners but ours is white so that I can bleach it.  I have had our current liner for about 10 years and it still looks new.

So there are 2 ways to clean your shower curtain, the choice is yours. :)

Edit: I’ve had a lot of emails asking me where to buy one of these fabric liners.  Here is a link to one, similar to what I have, that you can buy at Target.  They are only a few dollars more then the plastic ones!


About the Author

"Hi I'm Anna! Welcome to Ask Anna where I love to answer your household questions! I have always loved to clean, organize and decorate and this blog is a fun way for me to help you love it too! I am a busy mom of a beautiful little girl and I'm married to the love of my life. Together we fill our days with projects , laughter and love. I serve an incredible God and overall I'd say I'm truly blessed!"

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  1. When I saw the title my thought was "throw the thing out!" so I laughed when I read your suggestion hahaha. I have not moved to cloth liners as of yet – personally, I don't care from them but that is just me! Instead, I buy a new one about 3 times a year!

  2. glad to know i'm not alone w/ this problem! i just bought the 2nd new one since moving into this house. i've tried cleaning it w/ bleach/water mix. whenever i clean my bathroom.. but that doesn't seem to make one bit of difference in the forming of the mildew/mold. disgusting!! cloth liner.. hmmm

  3. I am so thankful you gave me the cloth shower curtain advice six years ago and I have not gone back! Your cleaning advice is THE best. =)

  4. I like the second option. I usually just buy the plastic curtains at 99 cents store. I use both a cloth and a plastic. The plastic one in the inside and the decorative cloth curtain on the outside. Once the plastic one gets dirty, I throw it out and wash the cloth one.

  5. Thank you so much for the tips!

  6. Is the cloth liner on the link the same brand that you use? I have tried some in the past, but they didn't hold up to their 'water proof' claim. I prefer the cloth to the plastic, but not when the cloth lets water get outside of the shower area.

  7. After reading this post, I am your newest fan and follower!

  8. I currently use a cloth shower curtain with a plastic liner. I wash both of them (not at the same time) in the washing machine, but am interested in your idea of using a cloth liner. Is this used instead of a plastic liner. Does it keep the outer shower curtain dry?

  9. I throw my clear plastic liner in the washing machine with a couple of light colored towels, bleach and hot water. Comes out sparkling clean every time. I only have to do it about once every 6-9 months.Karhttp://flipsidesanity.blogspot.com

  10. Oh, you are so smart! Where do you get the good cloth liners? I have plastic and I wash them once every month or so…but they get nasty quickly. All the hotels have cloth liners, so why shouldn't that work at home? Great idea! I DO was my plastic one just like you say – works great, but you MUST use HOT water or it won't clean it! Becky B.www.organizingmadefun.comOrganizing Made Fun

  11. The kids have the shower curtains in their bathroom. I also hate them! I've always just buy new ones. But thanks for the how to on how to do it if I decide to be good and actually wash it next time!! lol Thanks for linking it up to my Organizing mission link party.

  12. I also use a cloth liner, but not the nice decorative cloth ones, I save those for the outside. Look for one that has the word "liner" in it, that might help anyone get the right one. I have had mine for six years and it is still great…and I also bleach mine, it's the best.

  13. Awesome idea! I'm slowly trying to "de-plasticify" my life but hadn't really thought there was an alternative to the shower curtain. When the current one's trash I'll definitely get a cloth one! 😀

  14. I find that my plastic curtain tends to not get mildewy as quickly if I make a point to keep my shower curtain drawn across the tub all the time. This allows it to dry faster, and I think that's key in preventing the mildew. I only replace my shower curtain once a year or so.

  15. I agree completely with this. It took me years to figure it out, but washable fabric ones are the way to go.

  16. That's a good idea; I didn't know there were waterproof fabric shower curtains. I may have to try it when my current plastic curtain needs to be replaced.–

  17. You may want to be sure the holes that you loop into the shower curtain rings are the sewn "button holes". The "metal holes" will rust and it is a pain to try cleaning them off.

  18. I bought a fabric liner a few months ago, and it worked great until I washed it. Now it's no longer waterproof!!!

  19. I use ZEP soapscum remover just spray on and it melts away.