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Can I Put a Shower Curtain in the Washing Machine?


A shower curtain can build up soap scum and dirt, creating a cloudy, unpleasant residue. Mold and mildew can start to grow and accumulate, especially along the bottom edge of the curtain. Periodic cleaning of the shower curtain will eliminate soil deposits, prevent mold and mildew, and prolong the life of the shower curtain.

Vinyl shower curtains present a special problem because they are non-porous and require special treatment. There are several ways to clean a vinyl shower curtain effectively.

Cleaning a Shower Curtain in a Washing Machine

Machine cleaning is effective on shower curtains that are medium to heavy gauge vinyl. Lighter weight vinyl may be damaged even on the gentle cycle. First, select the gentle cycle using warm water. Add ½ cup of vinegar and 1 capful of low sudsing detergent or ¼ cup of regular detergent. Bleach may be substituted for the detergent; however, make sure the detergent is ammonia-free. Next, add a few large towels to the washing machine. This will provide mild abrasion to remove the soil and scum. Do not put the curtains in the dryer. Allow them to air dry on the rod or wipe them down with a towel or damp sponge.

Repeat this process periodically to prevent soil buildup and to prolong the life of your shower curtains.


Cleaning a Shower Curtain by Hand

If you do not have access to a washing machine or just need to spot clean, you can clean a vinyl shower curtain by hand. The curtains do not need to be removed from the rod. First, run the shower on warm or hot for several minutes to loosen up the dirt. Mix ½ cup of bleach in a bucket of warm water. Add a ½ cup of detergent (without ammonia). Transfer the solution to a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the inside of the curtains and let it set for 2 – 3 minutes. Give extra attention to heavily soiled areas or places where mildew has built up. Once the curtains are cleaned, rinse them off by turning on the warm or hot water in the shower, directing the spray to all areas. Let curtains air dry.



Nielson, Karla J.. Interior textiles: fabrics, applications, & historical styles. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2007. Print.

Designer projects for bed & bath . Designer projects for bed and bath ed. Minnetonka, Minn.: Creative Pub. International, 1999. Print.

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