A shower curtain in a black and white bathroom

Best Ways to Clean a Dirty Shower Curtain

How to Clean a Shower Curtain

  1. Easy way: spray with natural cleaners & odor removers
  2. Deep clean: wash in washing machine
  3. Hang dry
  4. Use Fresh Wave to deodorize between cleanings

A shower can start your day off on an energizing note, calm you down before bed, or provide relief after a tough workout. But it may not bring the same comfort or invigoration if you’re sudsing up next to a mildewy, soap-smudged shower curtain. Aside from an unclean appearance, bad curtain odors can make your bathroom smell musty long after a shower.

Like anything else, shower curtains require regular maintenance to keep your bathroom clean and fresh smelling. Here are a few tips on how to clean a dirty shower curtain.

The Fast, Easy Way to Clean a Shower Curtain

If you need to scrub down your shower in a pinch — or between deeper cleanings — there is an easy way to clean a shower curtain without taking down.

First, mix one part white vinegar to four parts water in a spray bottle. Close the shower curtain so it extends the full length of the tub or stall, and, on the tub-side, spray with the vinegar and water solution. The vinegar will work to break down soap scum and mold. If the bottom of your shower curtain is extra grimy, use a brush or sponge on the lower section to help loosen soap, dirt, and odor-causing bacteria.

Rinse the shower curtain and liner from top down with a handheld shower head, a watering can, or a bottle or bucket filled with water. Make sure the curtain remains in the tub while cleaning and rinsing. Finish with spritzes of Fresh Wave Odor Removing Spray, to eliminate lingering smells. Leave the shower curtain closed at full extension to dry properly.

The Best Way to Deep Clean a Shower Curtain

While vinegar and water rinse can help, a regular deep cleaning is still needed. How often will depend on your water source (city or well water) and how often the shower is used. Ideally, you should go no more than three months in between deep cleanings.

If possible, the best way to clean a shower curtain is in the washing machine. If it is a fabric curtain, check the tag to ensure it’s machine washable. If it is a plastic or vinyl curtain, wash towels in the same load to keep the curtain from bunching up.

In addition to your standard detergent, be sure to throw in a natural, odor-eliminating additive like Fresh Wave Laundry Booster to safely and effectively tackle deep-set mildew smells. From there, set your washer to the hottest setting your shower curtain will allow and let the machine work its magic. The combination of detergent and the agitation of the washing machine will thoroughly work soap and odor absorbing liquid, loosening dirt and destroying odor molecules. Once cleaned, hang to dry. 

If machine washing is not an option, hand wash the curtain in the tub or large sink with a quarter cup of baking soda, a small amount of your laundry detergent, and Fresh Wave Laundry Booster.

Tips to Keep Your Shower Curtain Clean

  • Keep the shower curtain closed (fully expanded) after a shower to allow it to dry completely.
  • Use body wash over scum-causing bar soaps.
  • Regularly use a brush or sponge to scrub away any buildup missed with daily spraying.
  • Daily, use an Odor Eliminating Spray — like Fresh Wave’s — to control odors.
  • Set a jar of Odor Eliminating Gel in bathroom to continuously absorb odors from the air.
  • If you have an exhaust fan, run it any time you take a shower to lower humidity.

By cleaning your shower curtain regularly, you can prevent bacteria and other types of buildup on the curtain, tub, and surrounding tile. Maintaining a clean bathroom free of mold and mildew ensures your bathroom looks and smells fresh, plus keeps you and your family healthy. 

For more bathroom odor elimination tips and household cleaning ideas, check out our list of uses for Fresh Wave products and incorporate odor eliminating products into your everyday routine.