How to Clean a Plastic Shower Curtain

When was the last time you cleaned your plastic shower curtain? Most people replace them when they get dirty but do you know that it is possible to clean your plastic shower curtains and get more value from them? The process of cleaning plastic shower curtains is not difficult or too involving. Here are tips on how to clean your shower curtain so that you do not need to throw them out every time they start looking dirty. 

White and brown bathroom with a white plastic shower curtain.

There are two ways of doing this; by using a washing machine or handwashing them. We shall explore both ways here.

How to clean plastic shower curtains using the washing machine

When cleaning a plastic shower curtain using a machine, use either baking soda, warm water combined with vinegar, or laundry detergent. Do not use the three at the same time – unless you are looking to have a chemical reaction.

  1.  Add two towels inside the machine to act as a buffer preventing the curtain from being torn inside the machine 
  2. Run the washing machine on a warm cycle. Do not use high temperatures as this might interfere with the physical composition of the plastic curtain 
  3. Once the washing cycle is complete, hang the curtain on a rod to dry


  • Do not wash with cold water – Cold water will make the plastic curtain shower tough/brittle and this can lead to cracks and tears as the cycle runs
  •  Do not put the plastic shower curtain in the dryer – unless you want it to melt and create a mess inside the dryer

How to hand wash a plastic shower curtain 

If you do not have access to a washing machine, you can still clean your plastic curtain shower easily through the following steps;

  1. Put the plastic curtain in a tub with a mixture of warm water and baking soda
  2. Use microfiber clothing to scrub the curtain to remove any grime that may be on the surface
  3. Rinse by using a clean tub of warm water
  4. Wipe using a dry microfiber cloth
  5. Hang the curtain back up to dry


  •  For stubborn stains, add more baking soda and scrub until the stains disappear. Baking soda is a perfect cleaning agent you can use to remove stains all over the house. It is not corrosive and easily washes off once you rinse it with clean water.
  • You can also clean a plastic shower curtain without taking it down. If the curtain does not have a lot of stains (or if it is not moldy) there is no need to take it down. Clean it while it is still attached to the curtain rods and save some time. To do so you will need a spray bottle, microfiber clothing, and vinegar. Vinegar is also another great cleaning agent you should have in your household. 
  • Add equal parts of water and vinegar to the spray bottle. Spread the curtain and spray the dirty areas. Use microfiber clothing to scrub the dirt off. Rinse with water and let it hang to dry. Do not forget to clean the liner.
Brown and cream tiled bathroom with a floral plastic shower curtain.
How do I keep my shower curtain clean?

Use gel instead of soap while bathing. Scum is more likely to build up on the shower curtain compared to gel or cream. Keep the bathroom ventilated. Airing the bathroom ensures moisture dries out faster from your shower curtain and also keeps the bathroom smelling fresh and clean. You can also turn on the fan for half an hour to keep the curtain dry after showering. Do not forget to clean the bottom of the shower curtain. Keeping the bottom of the shower curtain clean will help prevent soap scum from building up.

How often should you clean your plastic shower curtain?

There is no specific number of times you should clean your plastic curtain. However, I would advise that you do it every time you deep-clean your bathroom (probably once a month). Plastic shower curtains accumulate soapy scum and grime every time you take a shower. 

How do I get rid of mildew from my plastic shower curtain?

Mildew can make your shower curtain look and smell disgusting. However, as you continue using your bathroom, the shower curtain is bound to develop mildew at some point. Mildew thrives in a hot and humid environment. If left unchecked, it can be a hazard to your health. To remove mildew from your plastic shower curtain, follow the following steps: Put the curtain in a tub full of warm water, add a little bleach and let everything soak for a while, run the curtain in the washing machine -use warm water, not hot, rinse and hang to dry.

How can I prevent my shower curtain from getting moldy?

After bathing, close the curtain. Keeping the curtains in a closed position enables it to dry out faster. Keep the bathroom well ventilated. Open the windows for a half an hour after showering to let fresh air inside.

How do I clean shower curtain rings?

You may not need to clean the shower curtain rings often especially if you are cleaning the curtain without taking it down. However, when deep cleaning your bathroom, do not forget to take care of the shower curtain rings as well. Here’s how to clean them. Mix equal parts of vinegar and equal parts of warm water in a tub. Soak the rings inside this mixture for some time (a minimum of a couple of hours. Remove the rings from this mixture and rinse them under running water. Use a towel or rag to remove any dirt that could be lodged on the rings. Rinse again and hang up to dry.


Plastic shower curtains accumulate grime over time and they should be given as much attention as you give to other areas of your bathroom when cleaning. You can either put them in a washing machine running on a warm cycle or hand wash them. Vinegar and baking soda are excellent cleaners you can use to take care of your plastic shower curtains. Keep them dry to prevent moisture from building up and mildew from forming on these curtains. When you take good care of the shower curtains, you will get more value from them and you would not need to clean them up too often.

Adrienne Carrie Hubbard
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