How to Clean Plastic Shower Curtain by Hand: 6 Steps

Plastic shower curtains and liners are easy to clean and maintain if you know what to do. Given their exposure to soap scum, moisture, and dirt in general, they can easily develop mold and mildew. Before cleaning either by hand or machine, read the special cleaning instructions on the shower curtains or liners first. 

To clean a plastic curtain by hand, dampen a piece of microfiber clothing in a solution of water and baking soda then use the cloth to scrub the shower curtain. Soak and wring another piece of cloth in warm water then use it to wipe the curtain dry. Hang it on its shower rod then let it air dry.

Avoid ammonia as it’s corrosive on vinyl and other materials. Bleach can also fade the curtain and should thus be used carefully. You can use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to clean the shower curtain without taking it down. 

How to Clean Plastic Shower Curtain by Hand

How to Clean Plastic Shower Curtain by Hand

For this procedure, you need baking soda, white vinegar, microfiber clothing, warm water, and a sink or tub. 

Clean a plastic shower curtain by hand as follows:

  1. Remove the curtain from the curtain rod. 
  2. Soak a microfiber cloth or rag in a mixture of water and baking soda to dampen it.
  3. Use the microfiber cloth to scrub the shower liner and remove the surface grime. 
  4. Dip a second cloth in warm water then use it to wipe the water and baking soda off of the shower curtain.
  5. If the stains are stubborn, add more baking soda then use a sponge to scrub the dirt off.
  6. Re-rinse to remove dirt and baking soda before hanging it back up on its shower rod to dry.

This is a green cleaning method and also applies to how to clean a shower curtain liner by hand since most liners are made of plastic materials such as vinyl. You can clean the shower curtain in the tub or large basin as directed above. 

You can also soak the plastic curtains and rings in a tub filled with water and 2 tablespoons of laundry detergent and one cup of vinegar for 20 minutes. Rinse in warm water and let them air dry. 

How to Clean Plastic Shower Curtains in the Washing Machine

If you have a washing machine, clean plastic shower curtains as follows:

  1. Remove the curtain from the curtain rod. 
  2. Add the curtain or liner to the washing machine along with two full-sized towels. The towels scrub the dirt and provide a buffer between the curtains. 
  3. Clean shower curtain mold by adding a cup of baking soda to the washer to provide more abrasion. Add a cup of white vinegar to kill mold spores as well. 
  4. Add a regular detergent to the washing machine without a fabric softener. 
  5. Run the washing machine on a warm or hot cycle (104°F to 140°C/40°C to 60°C) and on the delicate setting. The water shouldn’t be too hot as it can damage the plastic curtains and liners. 
  6. When done, hang the curtains on their shower rods to dry up. 

Avoid washing plastic curtains with cold water since it makes them brittle and thus easy to damage by the washing machine. Also, avoid adding a dryer on the wash cycle as it can melt the curtains. Clean rusty shower rods with aluminum foil and white vinegar.

How to Clean a Shower Curtain Without Taking It Down

Spot cleaning and spray cleaning involve cleaning the curtain without taking it down from the shower rod. 

If you don’t want to take down your shower curtain, you clean it as follows:

  1. Spray the shower curtain with white vinegar.
  2. Use a soft piece of cloth to gently scrub off the grime and other dirt from the curtain. 
  3. Rinse with water then wipe dry. 
  4. Let it air dry further. 

You should spot clean your shower curtains as soon as the get the stains. Choose the right curtains for your shower for easier cleaning.

How to Keep Mold from Shower Curtains

Some of the ways to keep mold from your shower curtain or curtain liner include the following:

  • Keep the shower ventilated by opening windows or using a fan. Ventilating the room when you shower helps to keep mold from developing. When you use your bathroom, avoid keeping the door shut for too long. 
  • Close curtains and other curtain liners after each shower to allow the curtains dry up. Closing the curtains exposes more of them to the air for proper drying. 
  • Use a shower spray to kill any mold spores. Many home stores sell eco-friendly sprays that help prevent mildew from growing on fabric surfaces in the shower and tub area by killing surface bacteria. They also have antibacterial properties that inhibit the formation of mold and mildew on non-treated areas. The specialized sprays may be used as needed or daily for the best results. One product available is Lysol No-Touch.
  • After each shower, wipe down the shower or tub with a disinfecting wipe to clean off soap scum, mildew, and other icky things that are best kept off your skin. If you do not wipe down your shower or tub after every use, it is best to wipe it down at least once a week to kill off any mold that may already be present.
  • Wipe down the curtains with vinegar at least once every three months. Vinegar has antibacterial properties which discourages the growth of mold, mildew and other microorganisms. 
  • Wipe mildew off the shower curtain liner with tea tree oil and keep it from coming back by adding 2 cups of vinegar to the final rinse when you wash it. Check out the care label for washing instructions first as some curtains cannot tolerate this method.
  • Spot clean mildew as needed on your shower curtain with a solution of gentle dish soap and 10% bleach. Avoid using bleach on curtains that may fade. 

If you have a disposable shower curtain, wash it up to 6 times before changing it for another one. You can always compare shows doors to shower curtains to use the one that best fits your needs.

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