Written by Grove Collaborative

Clean Team: How (and when) to clean your shower curtain.

Last Updated: September 30, 2020

Your shower curtain is susceptible to mold, mildew, and water stains, which are unsightly and even allergy-inducing. Cleaning your shower curtain should be part of your usual cleaning routine. Here’s how to do it right.

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Cleaning your shower curtain may not already be part of your bathroom-cleaning routine, but it's an important step to maintaining a healthy space. Because bathrooms are so damp, it's easy for mold and mildew to grow on your shower curtain liner and even on the curtain itself. And if your shower curtain is near the toilet, it's a breeding ground for bacteria. Fortunately, most shower curtains are quick and easy to clean with a few simple additions to your housekeeping routine.

Why should you clean your shower curtain?

The bathroom is one of the most humid rooms in the home. Over time, mold and mildew can grow on your shower curtain, causing unsightly black stains and making your allergies flare up. Adding the shower curtain to your cleaning schedule will not only keep the bathroom looking fresh and clean for family and guests, but it will also extend the life of your shower curtain.

How often should you clean the shower curtain?

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 — monthly will do.

Daily cleaning tasks

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

Weekly cleaning tasks

Clean just the shower curtain liner.

Monthly cleaning tasks

Clean both the shower curtain and the liner.

Grove tip

How do you clean a shower curtain liner?

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 — monthly will do.

Things you’ll need to clean the shower curtain

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

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

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

Step two: 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 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 without a washing machine:

    If the curtain or liner is not approved for machine washing, fill a large bucket — or even the bathtub — with warm water and laundry detergent. Wash the curtain and liner by hand, and then hang them to air dry. For the liner, you can use vinegar in lieu of laundry detergent; just add a cup of vinegar to the water to remove soap scum.

Step three: 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.

Sustainability tip

Cut down on drying time

When you place the shower curtain in the dryer, throw in a few wool dryer balls. These chemical-free alternatives to fabric softener 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.

Shower curtain cleaning tips & tricks

How do you clean a moldy shower curtain?

Mix together equal parts of 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.

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 plastic or glass spray bottle with one part white 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 an oxygenated cleaner instead of bleach to brighten tough stains.

How do you clean shower curtain rings?

  • If you’re dealing with plastic shower curtain rings: Remove the rings and wipe off with a cloth dampened with a multi-surface cleaner, dry, and replace on the hook. Easy!
  • If you’re dealing with metal shower curtain rings: You’ll want to both keep ‘em clean and remove any hard-water stains. To keep them clean, the basic upkeep is the same as with plastic rings: Remove the rings from the shower rod, wipe down with a microfiber cloth sprayed with a multi-surface cleaner (bonus points for a stainless steel–specific cleaner!), dry, and replace. To tackle hard-water stains, soak the rings in a mixture of vinegar and water, then rinse, dry and replace on the rod.

Shop natural shower cleaners

Looking for more cleaning how-tos and other sustainable swaps you can make at home? Grove has you covered with our buying and cleaning guides. From timely topics such as our handwashing and hand sanitizer breakdown to evergreen primers like our simple ways to reduce your plastic use at home, our handy guides are here to answer your most pressing questions. And let us know how if you have any cleaning questions (or share your own tips using #grovehome) by following Grove Collaborative on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

If you're ready to take on germs, shop Grove Collaborative's cleaning essentials for the cleaning tools to tackle the job.

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