Cleaning shower curtains: Overview of the simplest methods

The cause of an unpleasant damp and musty smell in a bathroom can often be bathroom textiles. Shower curtains must be cleaned regularly to prevent unsavoury odours and mould. Follow our tips to quickly clean your shower curtain.

It is important to clean shower curtains regularly

In the worst-case scenario, as well as affecting surfaces, mould also attacks joints – requiring repairs in the bathroom. Spores can also spread from the bathroom to other rooms in the home. As well as impairing the quality of the indoor environment, many species of mould can also be harmful for health. Once mould has taken hold, it is difficult to remove – professional assistance is usually required. To avoid this scenario, it is important to tackle mould as early as possible. Clean shower curtains once a month if possible. This will stop mould and unpleasant odours in their tracks.

Cleaning shower curtains in the washing machine

Many curtains can simply be cleaned in the washing machine. However, not all materials are suitable for machine-washing, so check the care label first. Plastic curtains, for example, are not usually machine-washable. Washable curtains should generally be washed in a maximum cycle of 30 or 40 degrees. Higher temperatures could damage the material. However, bacteria and germs are only reliably killed from a temperature of 60 degrees. Add some vinegar essence or a disinfectant detergent for deeper cleaning of the curtain.

If there are already signs of mould on the surface, do not simply put the curtain in the washing machine. Instead, soak it in a bucket with a vinegar solution for around an hour and then wash it. To treat mould spots, apply a paste of natron and citric acid, work it in and rinse off. You can then simply put the curtain in the washing machine. Bleach-based laundry detergents can also be used for deep cleaning, but these are not particularly environmentally friendly. For a gentler alternative, pour some vinegar into the fabric conditioner compartment. To tackle intensive soiling and limescale, add a little natron to the washing machine.

You can wash your shower curtain together with other bathroom textiles such as towels and bath mats. To prevent creases, hang it up and spread it out fully after washing. Leave it to dry completely before hanging it in the bathroom again.

Cleaning the shower curtain without taking it down

If you simply want to give the shower curtain a quick clean between deeper treatments, you don’t need to take it down. Some everyday household products can be used to clean the curtain without putting it in the washing machine. Use a sponge to apply a paste of natron and water, vinegar or citric acid, leave the mixture to work for around an hour and then rinse thoroughly with clean water. These household products have an antibacterial effect and also remove limescale.

7 tips to prevent mould on the shower curtain

A few simple tricks will help you to effectively prevent the formation of mould. While this requires a little consistency after bathing and showering, it will reduce the need to wash the curtain as often and avoid the development of unpleasant odours in the bathroom.

  • Rinse: After bathing or showering, always rinse the curtain with water. This will remove any shampoo or shower gel residue as well as lipids from the skin.

  • Open: After showering, spread the damp curtain out completely to remove any creases. Moisture takes longer to evaporate from creases and this gives bacteria a better chance to move in.

  • Soak: After washing the curtain in the machine, you can soak it overnight in a salt solution. This will prevent the formation of mould.

  • Waterproof: Treating the curtain with cooking oil or baby oil will make the surface more water repellent.

  • Ventilate: Proper ventilation in the bathroom is very important. As a general rule, ventilate thoroughly for short periods several times a day, and leave a window ajar or use an electric fan to allow moisture to continuously escape. Keep bathroom doors closed to prevent damp air from spreading to other rooms in the home.

  • Heating: Ideally, maintain a low heat setting in the bathroom at all times. This will allow all bathroom textiles to dry faster.

  • Dehumidify: An electric or chemical air dehumidifier will also help to prevent dampness and mould in the bathroom.

Summary: Cleaning shower curtains

Regular cleaning of shower curtains is important to prevent mould and unpleasant odours. Many shower curtains can be cleaned in the washing machine, or alternatively you can use everyday household products such as vinegar or natron to clean them without taking them down. A few tricks such as waterproofing with oil, consistent ventilation and heating will help to stop mould before it even starts.