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How to Clean a Shower Curtain: Methods, Facts & FAQs

shower curtain

Shower curtains sit in a humid and damp environment, getting wet and then drying out before going through the same cycle over and over again. They can accumulate bacteria and may eventually harbor mold and mildew. Fortunately, it isn’t that difficult to effectively clean the shower curtain, although the best process will depend on the type and the material of the curtain.

In most cases, you will be able to clean a shower curtain using household products like baking soda and vinegar, negating the need to buy specialist cleaners.

Below, we show you three different techniques to clean a shower curtain using vinegar, baking soda, and the washing machine.

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Method 1: Using Baking Soda

Baking soda is a mild alkali, which means that it can neutralize acids, causing dirt and grease to break down and fall off the shower curtain. Because it is mild, it won’t cause any unwanted damage to the shower curtain, and it is perfectly safe to use even in a humid shower environment. To clean your shower curtain using baking soda, follow these steps:

1. Add Baking Soda

Baking soda
Image By: evita-ochel, Pixabay

Add baking soda to a warm, damp cloth. Ensure the cloth is clean before you start.

2. Scrub the Shower Curtain

Using the cloth with baking soda on it, scrub the shower curtain to break down the dirt on the surface of the material.

3. Wipe the Shower Curtain

Once you’ve given the shower curtain a good scrub, use another clean cloth, dampen it with warm water and wipe away the baking soda. Do this two or three times to ensure that all the powder has been removed.

4. Hit Mold and Mildew Again

Using your original cloth, add more baking soda and pay more attention to the areas of the shower curtain that are showing obvious signs of mold and mildew. Concentrating on these areas will allow you to apply more highly concentrated baking soda that will tackle difficult areas.

white shower curtain
Image Credit: Ana Anderson, Shutterstock

5. Wipe Clean

Dampen another clean cloth and, once again, rub the baking soda off the shower curtain, ensuring that you get all of it.

6. Rinse

Once you’ve finished rubbing with baking soda, rinse the curtains and then hang them up to dry.

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Method 2: Using Vinegar

Vinegar is another household item that can be used for cleaning applications. In this case, you will use a white or clear vinegar to make up a diluted solution.

Image Credit: focal point, Shutterstock

1. Remove the Shower Curtain

Take the shower curtain down and spread it out flat.

2. Wipe Away Dirt

Wipe away dirt using a damp cloth, paying particular attention to any areas of mold or patches of mildew.

3. Apply Vinegar Solution

Make up a solution consisting of equal parts of white vinegar and water. Put the solution in a spray bottle and then spray the surface of the shower curtain, especially around the areas where there was mold and mildew.

vinegar and cleaning supplies on the table
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

4. Add Bicarbonate of Soda

Add bicarbonate of soda, or bicarb soda, to any areas where there are still visible patches of mold, and then use a brush to scrub these spots clean.

5. Dry

Rinse the shower curtain and hang it up to dry.

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Method 3: Using the Washing Machine

Before putting a shower curtain in the washing machine, you should check the care label for special instructions. Some shower curtains may say to hand-wash them only, while others might have specific instructions on wash settings and temperatures. Be sure to follow the care instructions when putting a shower curtain in the wash. Adding bicarb soda and vinegar to the washing machine can also help remove particularly stubborn grime.

washing machine
Image Credit: Antonio_Cansino, Pixabay

1. Remove the Shower Curtain

Take the shower curtain down and ensure that you remove all hooks and rings before washing.

2. Add to the Washing Machine

Put the curtain in the washing machine with a couple of towels to help protect it and to prevent it from sticking.

3. Add Detergent and Baking Soda

Add your usual washing detergent with half a cup of baking soda.

scoop of detergent
Image Credit: karunasanghvi, Pixabay

4. Wash

Choose your wash cycle according to the instructions on the care label.

5. Add Vinegar Before the Spin Cycle

Before the spin cycle starts, but after the wash cycle has completed, add half a cup of vinegar to the machine.

6. Dry

Once the spin cycle has been completed, remove the shower curtain and hang it up to dry.

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Will Vinegar Remove Mold From a Shower Curtain?

Vinegar can remove mold, and it is worth trying this simple home solution before investing in and using a specialist mold remover or shower curtain cleaner. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and spray the affected area before scrubbing it to get any spores out of the fabric.

shower curtain hooks
Image Credit: Samuel Plainfield, Shutterstock

What Temperature Should I Wash My Shower Curtain On?

Always follow the instructions on the care label when possible. If your shower curtain doesn’t have these instructions and you want to try washing it in the washing machine, wash it using warm water. Ensure you hang the shower curtain up to dry as soon as the wash has finished. Otherwise, mold and bacteria may be allowed to form again.

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Shower curtains go through a continuous cycle of getting wet and drying out. They can harbor bacteria and dirt, and mold can start to appear if you haven’t washed the shower curtains in some time. If you are washing shower curtains in the washing machine, be sure to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Otherwise, you can use household items like vinegar and baking soda to help remove dirt and prevent mold build-up.

Featured Image Credit: Artazum, Shutterstock


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