How to Clean Bathroom Curtain?

Bathroom curtains collect a lot of soap scum and mildew over time. In that case, it may feel tempting to throw the curtain out and replace it.

Don’t resort to that just yet. Deep cleaning the bathroom curtain can bring it back to excellent condition—like it were new.

The process is not long or arduous. So, you’ll actually save time cleaning it instead of purchasing a new one.

Moreover, you’ll save money cleaning than purchasing replacements frequently. So, here’s a guide on how to clean a bathroom curtain.

Steps on How to Clean a Bathroom Curtain with Your Hands

There are two ways you can clean your bathroom curtain.

You can clean it with your hands or with the washing machine.

Using your hands is a better option because it ensures more attention and care.

Therefore, it’s recommended you clean the shower curtain with your hands.

Know the Difference Between a Bathroom Curtain and Curtain Liner

Before you begin cleaning your bathroom curtain, you must understand that there’s a difference between the bathroom curtain and the curtain liner.

The shower curtain (same as the bathroom curtain) is on the outside of your bathtub.

On the other hand, the curtain liner is on the inside, facing the bathtub. Curtain liners are made of plastic, and some bathroom curtains are too.

It’s important to know this distinction because the curtain is a little more challenging to clean. You will have to take care not to damage the bathroom curtain during the cleaning process.

With that said, here are the steps you must follow when cleaning a shower curtain with your hands.

Step 1. Remove the Bathroom Curtain from the Rings

You will need to remove the bathroom curtain from the rings to clean it.

You cannot clean it while it’s still hanging. Doing so may compromise the integrity of the rod.

Step 2. Gather the Necessary Cleaning Supplies

You will require a few cleaning supplies to ensure you clean the bathroom curtain effectively.

All of the supplies are common household items, so you most likely won’t have to purchase anything separately.

The cleaning supplies you need include:

  • A microfiber cloth (this material is ideal for picking up soap scum, and it’s soft, so it won’t scratch or damage the plastic curtain)
  • Baking soda

Step 3. Sprinkle Baking Soda onto the Bathroom Curtain

You will need to make the bathroom curtain damp. After that, sprinkle some baking soda onto the damp curtain.

The water and baking soda will mix to make a paste-like cleaning agent.

It should effectively remove soap scum and mildew that may have clung to the bathroom curtain.

Step 4. Scrub the Bathroom Curtain

Place a portion of the bathroom curtain against your hand.

Start from one corner of the curtain and keep moving gradually to the opposite corner.

Next, use the microfiber cloth to scrub that part of the curtain.

Using your palm as support instead of a hard surface is better because it reduces the chances of damaging the curtain.

Make sure to scrub the curtain in a circular motion to clean it effectively.

You won’t need to spend more than a few seconds cleaning one portion of the bathroom curtain.  

When scrubbing, move horizontally and then vertically so that you clean the entire surface of the bathroom curtain.

Clean the other side after you’re done with the first.

Step 5. Rinse the Bathroom Curtain with Warm Water

Rinse the bathroom curtain with warm water after scrubbing it.

Make sure that there are no traces of baking soda left on the curtain.

Step 6. Inspect the Bathroom Curtain for Some Stains You May Have Missed

Often, you’ll find that some hard water stains or traces of soap scum are harder to remove than others.

Therefore, you must inspect the bathroom curtain once to look for any pesky stains.

Clean the stains with baking soda and water again, but don’t apply much force when you’re scrubbing.

Rinse the curtain once again with warm water until it’s completely clean. 

Step 7. Let the Bathroom Curtain Air Dry

Install the bathroom curtain back onto rings and hang it on the rod in the bathroom.

Doing so will allow the curtain to air dry.

Steps on How to Clean a Bathroom Curtain with a Washing Machine

Cleaning the bathroom curtain with the washing machine is an excellent choice when you’re short on time.

It also won’t damage your plastic bathroom curtain if you use the correct settings on the washing machine.

The first step from the previous process, i.e., removing the curtain from the rings, is the same.

Before you toss your shower curtain or curtain liner into the washing machine, make sure to check the care label for any special instructions.

First, remove any grime, limescale, and discoloration with a pre-treatment. For this, you can use a mixture of equal parts water and bleach in a spray bottle. Lightly spray the curtain and let it soak for a few minutes before proceeding to the washing machine.

Here are the steps for cleaning fabric bathroom curtains in the washing machine. These steps are applicable for fabrics such as polyester, cotton blend, vinyl, or microfiber.

Step 1. Fill the Washing Machine with Water

You should put your washing machine on the largest load setting and fill it with warm water.

Step 2. Add the Cleaning Agents to the Washing Machine

Add about two drops of a soft detergent. Next, add a cup of white vinegar into the warm water.

Let the three ingredients mix well.

Don’t add more detergent because it may react badly with the vinegar, potentially spoiling the curtain in the process.

Step 3. Toss the Bathroom Curtain in the Washing Machine

Remove any pins or hooks from the curtain before placing it in the washing machine to avoid any damage. Then put the fabric bathroom curtain into your washing machine.

Next, start the cycle at a gentle setting.

Step 4. Put the Fabric Bathroom Curtain Back

The fabric bathroom curtain should be clean after the cycle. Remove it from the washing machine and install it onto the shower curtain rod to let it air dry. Do not put the curtain into the dryer.

What You Must Do to Clean a Plastic Bathroom Curtain

You can also wash a plastic bathroom curtain in a washing machine.

It won’t get damaged as long as you wash it along with a few other clothes. Keep the following in mind.

Use the Cold Setting

The cold setting is best for cleaning a plastic bathroom curtain because cold water is more gentle than warmer water.

In addition to that, you should use half a cup of any of the following cleaning agents:

  • baking soda
  • color-safe bleach
  • vinegar
  • detergent

Make sure to use any one of these cleaning agents—do not mix them.

Mixing them could cause a chemical reaction that could ruin the curtain.

Moreover, you should consider using bleach as the cleaning agent when the curtain has mildew or mold spores.

Wash the Curtain with Other Clothes

You should toss in two bath towels when washing a plastic bathroom curtain.

As a result, the bath towels will provide the curtain a bit of protection during the cycle. Plastic curtains can tear easily.

In addition to keeping the curtain safe, the towels will act as a scrub for the plastic bathroom curtain. Therefore, you can expect it to be clean even if it is particularly dirty.

Always Air Dry a Plastic Bathroom Curtain

Like fabric bathroom curtains, you should also air dry plastic ones. That said, plastic curtains are more susceptible to damage, so putting them into the dryer will most likely damage them.

You can clean plastic shower curtain liners in the same way.

Because they are of the same material as the curtains in question, there are no specific changes needed in the cleaning method.

Removing Stubborn Stains and Odors

When it comes to cleaning your bathroom curtain, removing stubborn stains and odors is essential. Follow these steps to ensure your curtain looks and smells fresh:

  1. Check for mold and bacteria: Inspect your bathroom curtain for any visible mold growth or discoloration caused by bacteria. Mold usually appears as black or green spots, while bacteria can cause your curtain to have a damp or musty smell.
  2. Pre-treat with a spray solution: In a spray bottle, mix equal parts water and white distilled vinegar. Spray this solution on the affected areas of your curtain and let it sit for a few minutes. The vinegar will help loosen the stains and neutralize odors.
  3. Scrub your curtain: Use a soft-bristle brush or sponge to gently scrub the stained areas of your curtain, focusing on areas with mold, bacteria, and hard water stains.
  4. Use a shower cleaner: If your curtain has persistent stains, you can use a shower cleaner specifically designed for bathroom curtains. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and scrub gently using your brush or sponge.
  5. Wash the curtain: After scrubbing, place your curtain in the washing machine with a few dirty towels to help with agitation. Add laundry detergent and a cup of white distilled vinegar. Set your machine to a gentle cycle with warm water.
  6. Clean the curtain liner: If your bathroom curtain has a liner, don’t forget to clean it as well. You can follow the same steps mentioned above to remove stains and odors from the liner.
  7. Steam clean: If you have access to a steam cleaner, use it to clean your bathroom curtain and liner. The steam will help remove any remaining germs and bacteria, while also loosening hard water stains.

Tips to Make Cleaning the Bathroom Curtain Easier

You can make the process of cleaning your bathroom curtain easier and quicker by following tips.

Clean Your Bathroom Curtain Often

The buildup of soap scum and mildew on the bathroom curtain will increase when you leave it unclean.

Therefore, you should aim to clean the bathroom curtain once a month. This way, you won’t have to spend much time scrubbing the curtain to remove some pesky stains.

Cleaning the bathroom curtain once a month can also remove odors from the bathroom and keep sickness away.

Wash Your Bathroom Curtain Rings When Cleaning the Curtain

It’s always best to wash the curtain liner when washing the curtain. At the same time, you could also clean the rings while the curtain and the liner are in the wash.

Like the curtain and curtain liner, the rings also gather soap scum and mildew. So, you can clean it by filling hot water in the bathroom sink.

Next, add a cup of white vinegar to the sink.

Soak the curtain rings in the sink when the curtain is being washed. When the wash cycle is complete, the rings should also be clean.

Drain the sink and use your fingers to remove any soap scum or limescale that may be present. Rinse the rings with water to finish the process.

Preventive Measures to Keep Curtains Clean

Taking preventive measures can save you time and effort when it comes to cleaning bathroom curtains.

By keeping your curtains clean, you can maintain a fresh and hygienic bathroom environment. Here’s how you can prevent dirt and grime from building up on your curtains:

  • After each shower, make sure to extend your shower curtain or liner fully, so it can air dry. Allowing it to hang properly maximizes the surface available for drying, which prevents moisture buildup and mold growth.
  • Regularly wipe down your shower curtains and liners with warm water and a mild soap or detergent. Doing this simple task weekly can reduce the accumulation of soap scum, mildew, and other residues.
  • Make it a point to check for and remove any water stains on the curtain. Acting quickly upon spotting a stain can prevent it from becoming a significant problem.
  • When not in use, keep your bathroom well-ventilated. Open windows or turn on exhaust fans to help reduce humidity inside your bathroom. This practice helps prevent mold and mildew from forming on your curtains.
  • If your curtain has a fabric outer layer and a plastic liner, you can still take care of both. For the fabric curtain, try to avoid direct contact with water as much as possible. For the plastic liner, ensure that it gets a regular cleaning to prevent mold formation.
  • When it comes to shower curtain rings, they may also accumulate soap scum and mildew. Clean them by soaking in a vinegar and water solution, followed by wiping with a soft cloth.
  • Clean your bathtub and surrounding areas regularly, as accumulated dirt and soap scum can transfer to your curtain, causing stains and odors. Wiping down your tub with a microfiber cloth or a damp sponge after each use is an effective way to maintain cleanliness.

By implementing these preventive measures, you can keep your bathroom curtains clean and looking their best.

Types of Bathroom Curtains

There are various types of bathroom curtains available in the market, each with unique characteristics and cleaning methods. Let’s explore some common curtains and their features.

Plastic shower curtains are a budget-friendly option that you often find in many homes. These curtains, usually made of vinyl or PVC, are waterproof and easy to maintain. However, they can be prone to mildew growth and may need regular cleaning.

Fabric shower curtains are another popular choice. They come in a variety of materials like polyester, nylon, and cotton. Fabric shower curtains may not be waterproof on their own but can be paired with a water-resistant liner. The main advantage of fabric curtains is their durability and the wide range of designs you can choose from.

Nylon shower curtains are lightweight, water-resistant, and less likely to mold or mildew compared to other materials. They are often used as a liner for fabric shower curtains, providing an extra layer of protection.

Vinyl is a common material for plastic shower curtains due to its water-resistant properties. These curtains are usually easy to clean and maintain, but they can release unpleasant odors and may pose environmental concerns.

Silk and polyester bathroom curtains are usually reserved for window treatments, as they are not typically water-resistant. Silk curtains are elegant and luxurious but require delicate care, while polyester curtains are more affordable and low-maintenance.

When selecting a bathroom curtain, consider factors like durability, maintenance, and design. Remember that proper cleaning and care can prolong the lifespan of your curtains and keep your bathroom looking fresh and clean.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I wash a shower curtain without removing it?

To clean a shower curtain without removing it from the rod, you should use a clean, damp cloth with some baking soda on it to gently scrub the surface while it’s still hanging.

Rinse off the baking soda using a container of warm water, like a small bucket or squeezable cycling water bottle, and then pat the curtain dry using a clean towel.

What is the most efficient method to clean a plastic shower curtain liner?

The most efficient method to clean a plastic shower curtain liner is by washing it in a washing machine.

Make sure to remove the liner from the shower curtain rings, place it in the machine along with one or two clean, white towels, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the wash setting.

After washing, hang the liner back up to air dry.

Which shower curtain cleaning hacks are most effective?

Some effective shower curtain cleaning hacks include:

  • Using a damp microfiber cloth sprinkled with baking soda for light stains
  • Soaking the curtain in a mixture of bleach and water for white or light-colored curtains to remove mildew and mold 
  • Using white vinegar as a natural cleaning solution

What steps can be taken to prevent mold on shower curtain liners?

To prevent mold on shower curtain liners, try these steps:

  • Ensure proper ventilation in your bathroom
  • Open the shower curtain fully after every shower
  • Regularly clean the curtain using one of the methods mentioned above
  • Replace the liner if mold and mildew become persistent

What is the ideal temperature for washing a shower curtain?

The ideal temperature for washing a shower curtain is cold or lukewarm water, as it helps prevent the curtain from shrinking or getting damaged. Be sure to use a gentle cycle and an appropriate mild detergent.

Can a plastic shower curtain be washed in a washing machine?

Yes, a plastic shower curtain can be washed in a washing machine as long as it’s labeled as machine washable.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wash it with one or two clean, white towels in cold or lukewarm water on a gentle cycle. After washing, hang the curtain back up to air dry.

Last Few Words

Cleaning your bathroom curtain is a straightforward and quick process. It will also save you from spending money on replacements.

Take out some time on one weekend in the month and clean all the parts of the bathroom curtain.

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