Pay Attention to That Mold Behind the Curtain! A Shower-Curtain Cleaning How-To

by Michael Franco
Dark mold streaks on an interior plastic shower curtain in a light aqua bathroom

When it comes to deep cleaning your home, bathrooms aren’t usually a favorite to tackle. That said, you probably want your bathroom to be one of the cleanest rooms in the house; it is where we go to get clean, after all! Still, keeping your bathroom feeling fresh and sparkling is easier said than done. Tile floors can get dingy quickly, showers build up soap scum and don’t even get us started on toilets.

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Another important component of bathroom cleaning that often gets overlooked is the shower curtain, which can accumulate bacteria, soap scum and mold over time. The good news is that there are several ways to tackle cleaning a shower curtain and liner without using specialty cleaners or harsh chemicals. Below is a guide for how to clean a shower curtain and, spoiler alert: It’s probably easier than you think!

What Causes Mold on a Shower Curtain?

Because mold thrives in warm, humid environments, bathrooms can be a mold hotspot, especially on shower curtains that are being regularly exposed to water. You can help prevent your curtain and other bathroom textiles from becoming moldy and mildewy by making sure they’re able to dry out completely. You can help this process along by running the bathroom vent fan while showering and for 20 to 30 minutes afterward to help remove residual moisture in the room.

How to Remove Mold From a Fabric Shower Curtain

If you have a fabric shower curtain, you can launder it to remove mold. First, sprinkle baking soda or apply a baking soda paste to spots where mold or other stains are present and let sit for a few minutes. Then, use a damp microfiber cloth to scrub the stains before putting the curtain in the washing machine. You can wash using your regular laundry detergent, and add an additional cup of baking soda to the wash cycle if you’d like a little extra cleaning power. Wash in warm or hot water on a gentle cycle to prevent damage. Once your fabric shower curtain has been washed, you can opt to dry it in the dryer on low or hang it back up on the rod to air dry.

Note that vinyl or plastic shower curtains should never be put in the dryer, but many of these curtains can actually be run through the wash cycle too! Just make sure to wash non-fabric curtains in cold water and throw a couple of towels into the load for added protection. Make sure to check the tag for further cleaning instructions if you’re not sure how to proceed.

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How to Get Rid of Soap Scum

Vinegar is an inexpensive and eco-friendly home cleaning agent, and it works wonders on soap scum buildup on shower curtains. Fill a spray bottle with half white vinegar and half water, and spray it on the affected area of your plastic or fabric shower curtain. A plastic curtain should be able to wipe clean pretty easily, but a fabric curtain may take a little extra elbow grease. If the soap scum remains on your fabric curtain after giving it a good scrub, you can always throw it in the wash for further cleaning. And how about that shower curtain liner? Most liners (especially fabric ones) can also be tossed in the washing machine, so keep that in mind as you work to clean the liner too. Let it air dry.

How to Clean Shower Curtain Rings

Don’t forget about cleaning your shower rings while you’re at it! Whether your shower rings are plastic or stainless steel, soaking them in a sink of warm water with a cup of distilled vinegar works to deep clean the rings and remove buildup. If they are rusted, this method works too, but make sure to soak them for a couple of hours and then use a brush to scrub them to remove rust and other residue.

Mold No More

Cleaning a shower curtain may not be the most glamorous of household tasks, but it can be a pretty satisfying one. Not only will your shower curtain and liner look 10 times better after it’s been scrubbed and laundered, but it’ll also help make for a healthier bathroom, since you’ll have said sayonara to bacteria, soap scum and mold.