How to clean shower curtain mold ASAP

Scrub a dub

Orange shower curtain in a bathroom
(Image credit: @savagehouse1970)

Sure, cleaning your bathroom can be a drag, especially if you don’t clean it regularly. If you think cleaning a toilet, sink, or bathtub is a whole ordeal, then you probably haven't ticked off everything on your bathroom cleaning checklist. A shower curtain is one of the heftiest items to clean, especially if it’s sprinkled with mildew and various stains.

With this in mind, there’s no need to throw away a stained shower curtain, especially if it’s one of your favorite bathroom accessories. It might look a little scary but it's totally treatable. We spoke with cleaning expert Hannah Shaw who gave us the real deal behind wiping down all the nasties from your shower curtain and how to make it sparkle and shine post wipedown.

Good to know

Time: 20 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Helpful hints: When working with heavy-duty chemicals, it's important that you have protective gear like rubber gloves, a mask, and safety glasses.

Bathroom with orange shower curtain and retro accents

(Image credit: @savagehouse1970)

Here's what you'll need

How to get mold off a shower curtain

Step 1: Prep your bathroom area

Before you dive into scrubbing your shower curtain, you need to prep the space. Shaw notes that safety is paramount when using strong cleaning products, so keep this in mind when cleaning your shower curtains. Ensure the area is well-ventilated and keep children or pets away. Also, ensure any other nearby fabrics, soft furnishings, or furniture is suitably covered. 

Step 2: Get your protective gear on

Shaw mentioned that it’s easy to forget that cleaning products are very strong and designed to do the job incredibly well. With this in mind, put on your rubber gloves and safety glasses before starting to clean.

Step 3: Spray and treat your shower curtain

Now it's time to tackle the mold. Shaw always sprays the remover onto the affected area and waits for around five minutes for the mildew and mold to disappear. For more heavily affected areas, she says a longer soak time may be required (try 10 to 15 minutes). Check the label of the particular mold-removing spray you've chosen to ensure it has enough time to do the work.

Step 4: Rinse your curtain and allow to dry

Once the mold and mildew have disappeared, it is time to rinse off the areas you have treated. Shaw says this could be done in several ways, but whatever is safest and most suitable for you works fine. If you have left the shower curtains hanging and treated them in place, she advises rinsing them off with cold water until they are clean. If you have treated the curtain in a solution, you can also stick them in a quick washing machine cycle. Of course, Shaw says to check the curtain care label and washing machine manufacturer instructions before doing so. 


Why do shower curtains get moldy?

Bathrooms tend to be a breeding ground for mold and mildew because of the humid and moist environment, says Shaw. Even with the best efforts of using an extractor fan and keeping your bathroom clean, sometimes that pesky mold and mildew still find a way to grow.

What are mold and mildew?

Mildew is a type of early-stage mold, which is easier to treat and less dangerous than mold, explains Shaw. Many people would usually use a bleach-based product or mix of this type to treat their affected areas. Be sure to check the concentration of bleach and active chlorine to ensure it actually treats the mold. 

Aida M. Toro
Freelance Writer

About Me:

Hello! My name is Aida M. Toro and I am a freelance writer that loves cultivating stories about amazing people, fashion, interiors, art, and food. I currently write for Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam, The House Magazine, Hobnob Magazine, The C-Word, and Real Homes. I live in West New York, New Jersey, which is literally a 10-minute ferry ride or 20-minute bus ride away from New York City. Although I was born and raised in West New York, I consider NYC my home, as I believe it to be the place where all dreams come to fruition, and of course, spend most of my time in. When I’m not writing, I love perusing the city streets and taking snaps with my iPhone of street art along with random things, scoping out new restaurants as well as their spaces, shopping at some of my favorite stores, spending time with family and friends, walking my cockapoodle Benji, and working out at Lifetime or DOGPOUND, which are some of the top fitness spaces in Manhattan and overall the U.S.