Laundry

Your shower curtain is disgusting—here's how to clean it

News flash: Showering does not clean your shower curtain

A woman holding her shower curtain Credit: Getty Images / tacojim

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Have you washed your plastic shower curtain this month? Merry Maids says that if it has been more than one to three months since you washed it, your shower curtain is due for a cleaning.

Since you hop into the shower daily to get yourself clean, you might not have realized that the shower curtain was dirty. But it’s probably coated with disgusting soap scum and possibly mold and mildew, none of which you want to come in contact with every day. No worries: You don’t need a scary scrub brush or a bottle of bleach to get a shower curtain clean. All you need to do is run it in your washer.

Step-by-Step:

Here's what you need to do to make sure your plastic shower curtain is clean:

1. Take down your shower curtain.

If you need a ladder to reach it, get a friend to spot you.

2. Place the curtain in the washer with two bath towels.

The towels scrub your shower curtain clean.

3. Add liquid detergent to the dispenser.

Your usual brand is fine.

4. Start a delicate cycle.

You don't want your shower curtain to be handled roughly.

5. When the cycle finishes, remove the curtain and hang it up in the shower to dry.

Do not put your shower curtain in the dryer!

Wash-shower-curtain-with-towels
Credit: Getty Images / brizmaker

Add a couple of bath towels to the washer to help scrub your shower curtain clean.

Now, keep it clean

Yes, your shower curtain will get dirty again. It’s inevitable. It won’t last forever and you will eventually need to get a new shower curtain—we’ve designated a shower curtain as one of 15 bathroom products that will change your life.

There are, however, a few things that can help it stay cleaner for longer.

Closed-shower-curtain
Credit: Getty Images / mrod

Keeping your shower curtain closed helps it to dry. If you leave it open, mold can proliferate in the folds.

1. Close the curtain when you step out of the shower

Doing this will help it air dry. Leaving the curtain open encourages mold growth in the curtain’s folds.

2. Switch to a liquid or gel body wash

Soap scum forms when bar soap mixes with minerals in tap water. Body washes are usually made from detergents, not soap. This body wash is one of Allure’s favorites. Using it in the shower will prevent soap scum from building up on your shower curtain.

Open-bathroom-window
Credit: Getty Images / Beeldbewerking

After you shower, open a window to let the bathroom air out. This can reduce mold buildup on your shower curtain.

3. Open a window or turn on the exhaust fan after you shower

Airing out the bathroom will help the shower curtain to dry more quickly, discouraging mold growth.

4. Make sure your shower curtain isn’t touching the bottom of the tub or shower

Either raise the shower rod or cut a small amount off the curtain so it doesn’t touch the floor. This will help it to avoid bacteria and mold.

5. If all else fails, replace the shower curtain

The trouble is that many new plastic and vinyl shower curtains off-gas, so they can smell terrible for weeks after you unwrap them. You can take care of that, though—now that you know how, just wash the curtain before you hang it up.