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Do You Need a Shower Curtain Liner? Types, Facts & FAQs

modern bathroom with shower curtain liner in the bath

If you find yourself stepping into a puddle of water each time you get out of the shower, the answer to this question is simple. Yes, you do. The main purpose of having a shower curtain liner is to keep water contained inside the tub and off your bathroom floor. This not only makes a mess, but it can be very dangerous.

The difference between a shower curtain and a shower curtain liner is that the curtain goes outside the liner and provides privacy and aesthetic appeal. The liner is water-resistant and sits on the inside of your shower.It protects the shower curtain from mold and prevents mildew buildup. Some shower curtains are water-resistant. However, if your shower curtain is purely decorative and not made from a water-resistant material, you will want to purchase a shower curtain liner.

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What Are the Types of Shower Curtains?

There are generally two types of liners available for purchase: plastic and fabric (typically vinyl or polyester). Most liners are made from cheap yet durable plastic. They are easily replaced and simple to scrub off any buildup that inevitably occurs. While fabric shower curtain liners are slightly pricier, they are also available at relatively affordable prices. They repel water and serve as the primary shower curtain.

Whether you choose plastic or fabric is entirely a personal preference, as there are pros and cons to each. However, fabric liners tend to be more pleasing to the eye and hang better, although they are less water-resistant than plastic.

Regardless of which material you decide to go with, weighted magnetic hems are recommended because they help the liner cling to the tub and not your body. From a sustainability standpoint, fabric liners are more environmentally friendly as they last longer and can be washed more often.

white shower curtain
Image Credit: Ana Anderson, Shutterstock

What Size of Shower Curtain Liner Should You Buy?

Standard shower curtain dimensions are 72 inches by 72 inches, however, they also come in extra-long or extra-wide options. You need to measure your shower before purchasing a liner to ensure that it is able to reach below the edge of the tub..

How Often Should You Replace Your Shower Curtain Liner?

This depends on a number of factors such as your environment, water hardness and calcium content, amount of humidity, and the type of material you have. The easiest way to know if your liner needs to be replaced is to keep an eye out for any buildup that is not washable. If your liner is no longer easy to wash, it may be time to replace it.

Bathtub with orange and blue shower curtain
Image Credit: charlotte-may, Pexels

How Do I Wash My Shower Curtain Liner?

For a plastic liner that is not machine washable, it is recommended that you scrub it with a sponge and white vinegar/water combination. If this does not remove the buildup, you will know that it is time for a new liner. For fabric liners that are washing machine friendly, it is effective to add baking soda to the wash (or use a baking soda-based detergent) to break down the grime.


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Shower curtain liners are essential when you have a curtain that’s not water- . Plastic liners are the most cost-effective, but fabric models last longer. However, you can use a plastic liner longer if you periodically clean it a vinegar and water solution. Whether you pick fabric or plastic, your bathroom floor will be dryer and safer with a liner.

Featured Image Credit: Artazum, Shutterstock


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