How to Clean Shower Curtain Liners

You step into your shower to take a bath and be clean, but is your shower also clean? If it’s been a while since you cleaned your shower, it has likely accumulated a lot of dirt, especially on the curtain liner.

How to clean a shower curtain depends on the material. For example, if you have a plastic liner, wash it in a machine using mild detergent. For cloth liners, use warm water. For both, set the washer on gentle and large-load. Then, add vinegar and baking soda for thorough cleaning. 

Whether the curtain is made of natural fibers, microfiber, vinyl, EVA, or plastic, it requires regular cleaning. Today, most curtains are made of microbe-resistant and mold-resistant materials, but this doesn’t mean they don’t get dirty, particularly from dirt and scum from hard water. For more about cleaning your shower curtain liner, read on. 

Can You Wash Shower Curtain Liners? 

Bright Bathroom with Floral Shower Curtain

Of course, you need to replace or throw away your aging or dirty shower curtain liner at some point, but you can clean it to buy some time.

Cleaning your shower curtain liners will save you both the money you’d have spent replacing the liners. When washing your shower curtain liners, use the correct cleaning process.

Cleaning Shower Curtain Liners

Curtain liners like this one (on Amazon) need some tender care. Use the steps below to wash your shower curtain liner.

  • Remove the liner from the shower rod. You have to take your time doing this, especially if the liner and the cloth curtain are on the same rod. Remove all the rings and hooks.
  • Place the curtain liner in the washing machine. Make sure you set the machine to the large load setting. Most plastic liners are safe to wash in machines, but it still pays to read the labels to be sure. 

This is because some liners with refined details or cloth layers may not be machine-washable. Throw one or two towels into the machine with the liner to help scrub and prevent them from sticking to the sides of the washing machine.

  • Add baking soda, vinegar, and detergent. You should only use organic or mild detergent when washing your curtain liner. In addition to the detergent, add half a cup each of baking soda and white vinegar. White vinegar is acidic, and this property is necessary to eliminate any water hardness and scum stains from soap. 

Baking soda, on the other hand, is a deodorizer. So, combining vinegar and baking powder will create a potent cleaning agent that will clean thoroughly without damaging your curtain liner.

  • Set the washing machine to a gentle cycle; you don’t have to be too rough on your liner. Running the machine gently will ensure it cleans the liner without too much agitation that can rip it. The washer should be at the highest water setting and most gentle cycle. Once your settings are correct, you can let the machine run.
  • Do not wait for the machine to complete its cycle. Instead, time it, then remove the liner when the cycle is almost complete. This will reduce the wrinkles that would form as a result of the last spin and draining process. You should hang the liner in a well-ventilated place and give it time to dry before using it.

How to Clean Shower Curtain Liners Without Using a Washing Machine

It’s normal for washed shower curtain liners to accumulate hard water and scum build up with time. Some also have mildew because they are in constant contact with water.

While you may decide to buy a new liner, especially if you don’t have a washing machine or the liner material doesn’t allow machine washing, cleaning the liner yourself is necessary. In addition, doing so will save you the money you’d have spent buying a new liner.


Washing your liners isn’t as difficult as you might think. All you need to do is mix one part of water with one part of vinegar in a spray bottle. Then, spray the mixture on the liner that hangs on the tub side because it’s the side most likely to have mold. Make sure the liner is saturated completely.

Vinegar aids in the breakdown of soap scum and mold that has built up on the liner. First, check all liner parts and spray the mixture on any dirty details. You can then use warm water to rinse the liner and leave it to dry.

Baking Soda

For a better clean, you can hand-wash the liner in a bathtub. First, remove the liner from the rod, then fill a large sink or bathtub with water. Next, mix a mild detergent with a quarter cup of baking soda and add it to the water. Finally, put the liner into the water and wash it gently for a few minutes. 

Drain off the dirty water and add clean water to rinse the liner. Ensure you rinse the liner thoroughly to eliminate all traces of detergent and baking soda. You can then air-dry the liner before using it.

Cleaning Cloth Shower Curtains

Traditional bathroom with brown shower curtain with black stripes

Cleaning a cloth shower curtain isn’t much different from cleaning a plastic liner. However, you’ll have to be a little more careful when cleaning a plastic liner. The first step is removing the curtain from the rod and the rings.

Next, fill the washing machine with warm water, then set it to the highest water setting (highest load setting). Finally, add a cup of white vinegar and a few drops of mild detergent to the washing machine.

Put the cloth shower liner into the washing machine and set it to a gentle cycle. Run it through the entire cycle, remove the curtain, replace it on its rod, and let it air dry.