How to wash a plastic shower curtain in four easy steps

No need to replace it, our pros break down how to wash a plastic shower curtain at home

Plastic shower curtain
(Image credit: Wayfair)

It may be time to learn how to wash a plastic shower curtain if your bathroom is looking a little worse for wear. 

While it's not the first thing you would have thought to clean, keeping your shower curtain clean is essential for bathroom hygiene as it can accumulate nasty mold and mildew. Our cleaning pros have a simple four-step guide to refreshing yours.

And yes, whilst your first instinct may be to replace it, there's no need to splash some cash on a newbie. Our experts explain how to wash a plastic shower curtain, which is a great start on deep cleaning a small bathroom.

How to wash a plastic shower curtain in four steps

After investing in one of the best shower curtains, like the vinyl shower curtain from Wayfair, you want to make sure it's looking its best in your bathroom. 

Knowing not only how to clean a plastic shower curtain but also how often makes all the difference. 

White plastic shower curtain draping off curtain rod

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Step 1: Remove the curtain

This may be an obvious step but you'll want to remove the shower curtain carefully without ripping or tearing it. This is also a good opportunity to clean areas you may not normally have access to. 

"After taking down the shower curtain, you can wipe down the curtain rod and the shower rings to remove any water stains, rust, or soap scum," says cleaning expert, Karina Toner

Use a bathroom cleaner like Clorox Bathroom Foamer (available on Amazon) to get them sparkling clean.

Karina Toner, Operations Manager, Spekless Cleaning
Karina Toner

Karina Toner is a cleaning expert and the Operations Manager at Washington D.C.-based Spekless Cleaning. 

Step 2: Check the care label

Take a look at the manufacturer's instructions to look for laundry symbol meanings surrounding your product's care. This will tell you if you can machine wash your plastic shower curtain and what products you can use. 

"Always make sure you check the label first before washing. Plastic can be temperamental in the wash so you want to make sure you're not going to damage it," says Karina.

Step 3: Wash in lukewarm water

Load your plastic shower curtain into your washing machine and wash on a gentle cycle in lukewarm water. 

"Set your machine to a delicate cycle as strong agitation can tear the plastic. Also, avoid using hot water as this can warp the shape," says Angela Rubin, a cleaning expert from Hellamaid.

You may want to look for an antibacterial detergent, such as this Lysol Laundry Sanitizer from Amazon, to kill any nasty germs. If your shower curtain is extra grimy, add either a cup of white vinegar or baking soda (you can stock up on Arm & Hammer baking soda on Amazon) for extra cleaning powder.

If your plastic shower curtain has any mold on it, consider using bleach for a serious deep clean. 

Angela Rubin, cleaning expert at HellaMaid
Angela Rubin

Angela Rubin works at Hellamaid, a top-rated cleaning company in Canada. Hellamaid are industry experts specializing in residential and commercial cleaning services.

Step 4: Air dry

Don't use a tumble dryer for your plastic shower curtain as the high heat can shrink the material. 

"Air dry the plastic shower curtain in a cool, well-ventilated space and make sure it's not near a heat source," says Angela. 

You can either hang it back up on it's bathroom rail to dry, or drape it over a drying rack, such as the Amazon Basics folding rack.

The good news is you don't have to spend ages scrubbing your plastic shower curtain by hand or running out to buy a new one if it's dirty. As long as you have all your laundry room essentials in place, you can toss it in the washing machine to get it looking as good as new. 

Just avoid common laundry mistakes like using heat or tearing the plastic to keep it in pristine condition.

Emily Lambe
Deputy Editor

Hey! I’m Emily and I’m the deputy digital editor at Real Homes. I’m here to bring you the latest decor trends, inspirational ideas, informative how tos, the latest celeb homes style and the best budget-friendly buys. I live in a rented apartment, making the most of small spaces and using accent pieces to make things pop. When I’m not writing, I’m usually doing yoga, eating chocolate or working on my skincare routine.