How to clean a shower curtain and liner – by hand or in the washing machine

This is how to clean a shower curtain and liner properly. Wash yours by hand, without taking it down or in the washer using vinegar, baking soda and more to banish mould and grime

how to clean shower curtain
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Once you know how to clean a shower curtain and the liner properly it will turn your entire showering (and cleaning) experience into one of bliss – as it should be. 

Shower curtains are notorious for collecting soap scum, limescale, and mould which is not only unsightly to those that use it, but also truly unhygienic. 

Fortunately, there are a couple of different ways to clean shower curtains properly whether you want to wash yours and the liner by hand or in the washer, using natural ingredients like vinegar and baking soda or your best detergent. 

Keep scrolling for our how to – complete with expert tips and advice from the best names in cleaning – and next time you want to unveil how to clean a shower and everything in it like an expert, you'll have it in the bag.

How to clean a shower curtain with vinegar

To clean your shower liner or plastic shower curtain by hand using vinegar, start by taking down the curtain, then spread it fully open. Make up a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water and apply to the curtain using a spray bottle. Wearing gloves, wipe the shower curtain with a damp cloth to remove the dirt and any mould. If there are still areas of dirt or mould left, sprinkle bicarbonate of soda over the area, then use a brush to tackle it. Hang the shower curtain out to dry fully.

How to clean a shower curtain without taking it down

If you've a plastic shower curtain or if it's your shower liner that needs a quick clean then you don't necessarily need to take it down. Use a soft cloth, something like the E-cloth Scrubber Pad, along with the vinegar spray above to help lift the grime off your shower curtain and liner.

White clean shower curtain in pink bathroom

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to wash a shower curtain in the washing machine

  1. Start by taking down the shower curtain and liner, removing any rings or hooks.
  2. Place it in the washing machine along with a couple of towels which helps stop plastic shower curtains and liners sticking and wrinkling.
  3. Add your regular amount of laundry detergent to the drawer with ½ to 1 cup of baking soda depending on the size and material of your curtain. Add more if yours is fabric.
  4. Start the highest cycle at 40 or 60 degrees if yours is fabric. If you have a plastic shower curtain or liner, choose a gentler cycle. 
  5. When you reach the rinse cycle, add ½ to 1 cup of  white vinegar. 
  6. Hang the curtain and liner out to air dry completely. 

How to clean shower curtain mold

Mould sprays are highly effective to use on your shower curtain. Simply apply the spray evenly all over the curtain, leave for half an hour, and rinse off with warm water. Foam sprays work much better than liquid ones, because the foam won't slide off the curtain. Our favorite for this purpose is the HG Mould Spray

blue shower curtains

(Image credit: Photo by House Method on Unsplash)

How to keep your shower curtain clean

  • Air it out: Open the shower curtain completely after showering so moisture doesn’t linger in the folds of the material. Tackle any ventilation problems in the bathroom, too.
  • Avoid using soap: This will lessen the amount of soap scum build up. Use a shower gel or cream instead.
  • Treat the bottom of the shower curtain daily: You can spray your shower curtain, specifically lower down, daily with a mixture of white vinegar and water to help dissolve lingering soap scum. Any remnants will wash off when you next shower and if you want a fresher smell, add in a few drops of your favorite essential oil/lemon juice.
  • Scrub weekly: Use the above mixture, but brush off the residue scum using a gentle brush, like a E-cloth Scrubber Pad.

Expert tips on cleaning shower curtains

Lynsey Queen of Clean keeps her process simple, 'Shower curtain, if you have one, put this in the washing machine.'

Martha Stewart apparently uses Clorox along with the usual amount of laundry detergent and 1/3 cup of bleach on a gentle washing cycle to tackle dirty shower curtains.

Now that's super fresh!

Anna is Consumer Editor across Future's home brands. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening.