Image of a couple sticking their heads out from the top of the shower curtain with towels on their heads.

How to clean a shower curtain & liner: 3 easy, natural ways.

Last Updated: May 6, 2022

Learn how to clean your shower curtain and liner using only natural cleaners with these fast and easy step-by-step instructions.

Did you know that the shower curtain has the most bacteria in your bathroom?

Because bathrooms are so damp and humid, it's easy for mold and mildew to grow on your shower curtain liner and even on the curtain itself.

If your shower curtain is near the toilet, it's also a breeding ground for bacteria, as we learned from the Cleveland Clinic.

Fortunately, most shower curtains and liners are quick and easy to clean with a few simple additions to your cleaning routine. Here’s how to do it with natural cleaners to keep it safe.

How often should you clean the shower curtain?

illustration of a blue calendar

The shower curtain features two components: the shower curtain itself and the shower curtain liner.

Consider cleaning the liner—which is much more prone to mold and soap buildup—weekly.

Since the shower curtain hangs on the outside of the liner, it requires less frequent cleaning—so monthly will do. This timeline will help you avoid mold and mildew buildup on your curtains.

Daily shower curtain cleaning tasks

Pull the shower curtain closed after use to allow for proper drying.

Weekly shower curtain cleaning tasks

Clean just the shower curtain liner, using the steps and natural cleaners below.

Monthly shower curtain cleaning tasks

Clean both the shower curtain and the liner, using the steps and natural cleaners below.

Things you’ll need to clean the shower curtain

illustration of orange dish washing gloves

How to clean a shower curtain: Step-by-step instructions

Step 1: Remove the shower curtain (and liner) from the shower curtain hooks.

Check the care instructions to see if it’s machine washable.

Step 2: Clean the shower curtain and liner.

How to clean a shower curtain with a washing machine:

If the shower curtain and liner are machine washable, wash them in the machine with your usual natural laundry detergent, making sure the machine is big enough to hold each comfortably.

Then, either line dry or tumble dry, according to care instructions—most liners need to be hung to drip dry.

How to clean a shower curtain by hand:

If the curtain or liner is not approved for machine washing, fill a large bucket—or even the bathtub—with warm water and natural laundry detergent.

Wash the curtain and liner by hand, and then hang them to air dry.

For the liner, you can use vinegar instead of laundry detergent; just add a cup of vinegar to the water to remove soap scum.

Step 3: Replace the shower curtain and liner on the hooks.

While you have the shower curtain and liner off for cleaning, use the opportunity to clean the tile, grout, and bathtub as well.

You'll have a clean slate for your fresh shower curtain, and it won't be in your way as you clean.

Grove Tip

How to dry a shower curtain and liner in a drying machine

When you place a shower curtain in the dryer, throw in a few wool dryer balls.

These chemical-free alternatives to fabric softener and dryer sheets cut down on drying time and will have your shower curtain coming out fresh and wrinkle-free.

You can even add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to the dryer balls to give your curtain a spa-like aroma.

A couple more FAQs on how to clean a shower curtain

How do you clean a moldy shower curtain?

Mix together equal parts water and baking soda in a bowl to create a paste.

Use a coconut scrubber sponge or brush and a bit of the paste to scrub the offending areas.

Rinse the paste away, and see if the process needs repeating in any other areas.

To learn more ways to get rid of mold and mildew around your house naturally, check out our guide here.

How do you clean a shower curtain without taking it down?

When you want to get your shower curtain clean, but you can't take it down, fill a reusable glass spray bottle with one part white vinegar or cleaning vinegar and four parts water.

Spray the mixture on the side of the shower curtain facing inside the tub, and allow it to sit for a few minutes.

Rinse the shower curtain with clean water, and allow it to air dry.

Should you clean a shower curtain with bleach?

While you can clean a shower curtain liner with bleach, using chlorine bleach can lead to long-term negative impacts on the environment and can permanently stain any liners that aren’t white or transparent.

Instead, try using the baking soda paste trick mentioned above, or tackle tough mildew by adding vinegar to the water when soaking the liner.

If you have a cloth shower curtain, try laundering with a color-safe, non-chlorine bleach that is free of harsh chemicals and works on white curtains or those with colors.

Learn more about the benefits of oxygen bleach from our senior director of science formulation here at Grove.

How do you clean shower curtain rings?

  • If you’re dealing with plastic shower curtain rings: Remove the rings and wipe them off with a cloth dampened with an all-purpose cleaner. Then dry and replace on the hook. Easy!
  • If you’re dealing with metal shower curtain rings: You’ll want to keep ‘em clean while removing any hard-water stains. Remove the rings from the shower rod, wipe them down with a microfiber cloth sprayed with an all-purpose cleaner. Then dry and put them back up. To tackle hard-water stains, soak the rings in a mixture of vinegar and water, then rinse, dry, and replace on the rod.

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