Soap scum and mildew can build up on shower curtains if they are not cleaned and dried properly. When attacked with everyday cleaning products, they might seem impervious, but they’re not. Read on to learn how to slay this beast.
What You’ll Need
- Washing machine
- Several towels (preferably white)
- Laundry detergent
- Baking soda
- Magic Eraser
- Baby oil
The Cleaning Process
- Remove the curtain and take off the rings.
- For cloth curtains, follow the cleaning instructions on the tag.
- For vinyl, plastic or nylon curtains, machine wash with 2 large towels, 3-4 hand towels, or 5-6 washcloths. (The towels will act as scrubbers.) Use detergent and either 1/2-c. vinegar or 1/2-c. baking soda with cold water on the gentle cycle. WARNING: Do not wash in hot water or your curtains may melt. If your curtains have mildew, replace vinegar with 1/2-c. bleach.
- To hand wash a vinyl, plastic or nylon curtain, spray it with white vinegar while it is still hanging in the shower, then scrub it with a scrub brush. Rinse the curtain in the shower afterward.
- Hang curtains back up over tub to drip dry. WARNING: Do not ever dry them in the dryer because, once again, your vinyl or plastic curtains could melt. Turn on the bathroom fan for extra circulation. Wrinkles will disappear from the steam produced from normal shower use. Make sure the bottom edge of the curtain is spread out evenly over the tub.
- Remove Stains, such as mildew stains, on a vinyl or plastic curtain by rubbing them with a Magic Eraser.
- Prevent mildew by stretching out the curtain after every shower as suggested by Good Housekeeping’s Household Handbook. Leave a gap on either side of the curtain for air flow. Graham and Rosemary Haley also suggests rubbing baby oil over the bottom quarter of the curtain to prevent soap scum build-up in their book, Haley’s Cleaning Tips, but be careful not to add so much oil that it could make the tub slippery.
- If your shower curtain does not glide easily over the rod, rub a small amount of hair conditioner or petroleum jelly onto the rod.
- If mold or mildew is a consistent problem on the base of your shower curtain, cut the curtain to be just long enough to reach past the top of the tub edge. This will prevent the extra material from gathering against the tub and providing mold with a place to grow.
- Another easy (and more gentle) way to clean the shower curtain is in the tub. Fill the tub with enough soapy water to cover the curtain, then scrub the curtain clean with a soft-bristle scrub brush. Rinse it with the showerhead and hang it back up to air dry.
- Green Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck
- Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest
- Joey Green’s Cleaning Magic by Joey Green
- Household Hints for Dummies by Janet Sobesky