How to Clean Plastic Shower Curtains

plastic shower curtain

Plastic shower curtains are a common feature in many bathrooms. They provide privacy, keep water from splashing outside the shower area, and are relatively inexpensive. 

However, plastic shower curtains can get dirty and unsanitary over time, so it’s important to clean them regularly. 

Here is a guide on how to clean plastic shower curtains, including what you’ll need, steps to follow, how often to clean them, and some other tips.

Let’s get started.

Spray Method (Cleaning Shower Curtains without Removing)

What You’ll Need:

  • Spray bottle
  • Mild detergent
  • Water
  • Cloth or sponge


  1. Fill a spray bottle with a solution of water and mild detergent. Shake well.
  2. Spray the solution generously on the shower curtain, making sure to cover the entire surface.
  3. Use a clean cloth or sponge to scrub the curtain, paying extra attention to areas with soap scum, mold, or mildew.
  4. Rinse the shower curtain with a hose or shower head, making sure to remove all soap residue.
  5. Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe down the curtain, removing any excess water.
  6. Leave the shower curtain open to air dry completely.

Note: This method is suitable for light cleaning and may not effectively remove stubborn stains or buildup. In such cases, it may be necessary to take the curtain down and wash it in a washing machine. See the next method below.

Washer Method (Deep Cleaning)

What You’ll Need:

  • Plastic shower curtain
  • Mild detergent
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Clean cloths or sponges
  • Laundry machine
  • Dryer


  1. Fill your laundry machine with cold water.
  2. Add a mild detergent, a half cup of baking soda, and a half cup of white vinegar.
  3. Place the plastic shower curtain into the machine and wash it on a gentle cycle.
  4. Once the cycle is complete, remove the shower curtain and hang it up to air dry.

How Often Should You Clean Shower Curtains?

It is recommended to clean plastic shower curtains every 2-3 months to maintain their cleanliness and avoid the buildup of mold, mildew, and soap scum.

Why It’s Important to Have Clean Shower Curtains

Having a clean plastic shower curtain not only makes your bathroom look better but also helps maintain good hygiene

Dirty shower curtains can harbor bacteria and mold, which can lead to unpleasant odors and even health problems.

Why Does My Shower Curtain Always Smell?

Shower curtains can develop unpleasant odors for several reasons, including:

  1. Moisture buildup: Shower curtains are constantly exposed to moisture, which can create an ideal environment for mold and mildew to grow. These microorganisms can produce unpleasant odors.
  2. Soap and shampoo residue: Over time, soap and shampoo residue can build up on the surface of the shower curtain, leading to unpleasant odors.
  3. Bacteria growth: Bacteria can thrive in warm and moist environments, such as a bathroom. If the shower curtain is not regularly cleaned, bacteria can grow and produce unpleasant odors.
  4. Chemical odors: Some shower curtains contain chemicals that can emit unpleasant odors, especially when exposed to heat and moisture.

To reduce the likelihood of unpleasant odors, it’s important to regularly clean and maintain your shower curtain, and replace it as needed.

What Kinds of Shower Curtains Don’t Smell?

  1. Polyester: Polyester is a synthetic material that is resistant to mold and mildew, reducing the likelihood of unpleasant odors.
  2. PEVA or PVC-Free alternatives: PEVA and PVC-free shower curtains are eco-friendly and odor-resistant options.
  3. Linen or Cotton: Natural fibers such as linen and cotton are breathable and less likely to hold onto moisture and odors.
  4. Mold-resistant curtains: Some shower curtains are specifically designed to resist mold and mildew growth, reducing the likelihood of unpleasant odors.
  5. Antibacterial curtains: Some shower curtains are treated with an antibacterial agent to help prevent the growth of bacteria and odors.

Note: Regular cleaning and maintenance of your shower curtain can also help reduce the likelihood of unpleasant odors.

5 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Shower Curtains

  1. Yellowing or discoloration: Over time, the color of plastic shower curtains can fade or yellow. If this occurs, it may be time to replace the curtain.
  2. Mold or mildew growth: If mold or mildew is present on your shower curtain, it can be difficult to clean. In this case, it’s best to replace the curtain to maintain a clean and healthy bathroom environment.
  3. Rips or tears: If the shower curtain has noticeable rips or tears, it’s time to replace it to ensure that it continues to effectively keep water inside the shower.
  4. Unpleasant odors: If the shower curtain has an unpleasant odor that cannot be removed with cleaning, it may be time to replace it.
  5. Outdated style: If your shower curtain is outdated or no longer fits your bathroom decor, it may be time to replace it with a new one.

Remember, regularly replacing your shower curtain can help maintain the cleanliness and aesthetic of your bathroom.


Cleaning plastic shower curtains is an important part of bathroom maintenance. 

With the right items and a little bit of effort, you can keep your shower curtains looking and smelling fresh. 

By following these steps and cleaning them regularly, you’ll ensure a clean and healthy bathroom environment.

Looking for a more natural plastic curtain cleaning method? Check out How to Clean Shower Curtains with Baking Soda if you have time.

 Thank you for reading.

-Baking Soda Guy

Photo by Andrea Davis from Pexels