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How to Clean Shower Curtains

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How to Clean a Shower Curtain in a Washing Machine
A white washing machine contains a load of white laundry in a laundry room.
  • If your shower liners or curtains are labelled machine washable, begin by detaching them from the shower curtain rings. 
  • Place them in the washing machine along with one or two clean, white towels, which will help scrub the curtains and liner while keeping them from wrinkling. 
  • Add mixture of half a cup of baking soda to the usual amount of gentle laundry detergents or mild all-purpose cleaners.
  • Run on the washing machine’s warm, normal cycle. 
  • Stop after the rinse cycle – the spin cycle is usually unnecessary when cleaning shower curtains or liners. 
  • Reattach to the curtain rings and allow to hang dry. 

Tip: Most shower curtains and liners don’t need to be sent through the dryer and will adequately hang-dry in the shower. An exception is shower curtains of heavy natural fibers, which may need to tumble dry and be ironed afterward. Check instructions. 

How to Wash Shower Curtains With Deep Stains
A person pours laundry cleaner into a cap atop a white washing machine.

There are two alternate methods for how to clean a shower curtain liner or curtain with stubborn stains. 

  • Run in the washing machine as above, but use mixture of 1/2 cup laundry detergent and 1/2 cup baking soda. Before the rinse cycle, add 1 cup of vinegar. After the rinse cycle, hang the curtain and liner to dry. 
  • For the more stubborn stains, run in the washing machine as above, but use mixture of 1/2 cup chlorine bleach and 1/4 cup mild laundry detergent. Only use bleach on white or transparent shower curtains. 
How to Wash a Shower Curtain by Hand
A gray shower curtain hangs outside a bathtub in a white bathroom.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on a damp, microfiber cloth
  • Scrub the entire shower curtain. 
  • Rinse with a clean, damp cloth until all the baking soda is removed. 
  • If the curtain has more stubborn stains, scrub them again with baking soda until the stains are gone, then rinse again. 
How to Clean Shower Curtain RIngs
Shower curtain rings hang on a shower curtain rod in a bathroom.

This method allows you to clean your shower curtain rings.

  • Remove the rings from the shower curtain rod.
  • Fill a bathroom sink with warm water and a cup of white distilled vinegar.
  • Soak the rings while the curtain is in the wash, then drain and rinse with warm water. 
  • Any stubborn soap scum residue can be removed with a brush or even your fingernails. 
Tips for Shower Curtain Maintenance
Vinegar, baking soda and a spray bottle stand next to a bucket for mixing a cleaning solution.

Knowing how to wash your shower curtain is important, but shower curtain maintenance can prevent mildew from happening in the first place. 

  • Shower curtains should be washed at least seasonally, and more often if the bathroom has poor air circulation or otherwise frequently sees visible mold or mildew. 
  • To keep mildew at bay, mix a solution of half water and half vinegar, and spray the shower curtain every day. 
  • If you keep your shower curtain and liner clean, they should not need replacement unless they become torn. 

Having a dirty shower curtain and liner may keep you from feeling completely clean. Knowing how to wash a shower curtain and keeping up with regular maintenance are important parts of keeping your bathroom fresh.