Do Plastic Shower Curtains Smell?

Bathroom, Beginner Info

Do Plastic Shower Curtains Smell
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To be honest, a shower curtain will never smell foul if you’re cleaning and maintaining it properly.

However, failing to do so may lead to a foul smell and home to fungi.

In simple words, without a thorough scrub, your shower curtain will become home to fungi that aren’t healthy to live with.

I’ll not be surprised if you’ll NOT see mold and mildew growing on your shower curtain but definitely you can smell them for sure if they are present on your shower curtain.

In fact, the accumulated moisture from your shower curtain can create a musty and dirty smell that may spoil the ambiance in your bathroom.

Of course, there are certain shower curtains that are made up of eco-friendly materials such as polyethylene vinyl acetate (PEVA) or polyester fabric that are safe, easy to clean, and most importantly, don’t emit a strong odor.

Nonetheless, the good news is, the germs and bacteria that grow on a shower curtain aren’t a serious health threat to most people as per the experts.

A shower curtain must be changed every six months in order to prevent foul smell or growth of bacteria, mold, mildew, etc.

In layman’s terms, curtains like any upholstery or fabric in your home are prone to collect and build up allergens like dust on the material.

Furthermore, odors can also accumulate on the material and this will leave your curtains with a distinct odor that will contaminate your home.

Do Plastic Shower Curtains Smell?

The new plastic shower curtain has a distinct odor that definitely lingers for weeks.

In fact, a new plastic shower curtain odor makes your bathroom smell like new plastic as well as can cause headaches and nausea in some people.

Unfortunately, the odor that a new plastic shower curtain emits may not go even after deodorizing air fresheners.

So, you need to be very careful while choosing a plastic shower curtain if you want to escape a foul or irritating smell.

As per a new study that is conducted by two independent laboratories it was found that even after 6 hours after opening a common vinyl shower curtain, it may load a typical bathroom with volatile organic compounds over 16 times the guidelines for indoor air quality established by the U.S. Green Building Council and the Washington State Indoor Air Quality Program.

If studies have to be believed some of the new plastic shower curtains can release into the air over 100 different VOCs.

These chemicals are capable of causing cancer, and damage to the liver, central nervous system as well as respiratory and reproductive systems.

On top of it, the US EPA classifies seven of the chemicals released as hazardous air pollutants.

According to Dr. David Carpenter, M.D., of the Institute for Health & the Environment at the University of Albany, “The brain is a major target for VOCs, causing everything from headache and loss of concentration to learning disabilities in children whose mothers were exposed before their birth, as shown in a recent Canadian study. Since there are safer alternatives to vinyl shower curtains, such exposures should always be avoided.”

How to Get Smell out of a Plastic Shower Curtain?

As mentioned earlier, new plastic shower curtains have a distinct odor that lingers for weeks.

Such curtains will not only make your bathroom smell but can also cause nausea and headache in some people.

The vinyl shower curtains are known to emit odors in a process called off-gassing which continues until and unless the gases are gone.

Let’s have a quick look at the below-mentioned steps that will help you in getting the smell out of your plastic shower curtain.



  • First and foremost, you need to remove your plastic shower curtain from its packaging and then unfold it
  • You can use a washing machine to get rid of a smelly shower curtain. All you need to do is to set a washing machine on its gentle cycle for a medium or full load using warm water
  • You need to add laundry detergent to the wash water using the amount recommended by the detergent manufacturer for the load size
  • Allow the machine to agitate for at least a minute so that the detergent is mixed with the water
  • Afterward, you need to STOP the washing machine and then add the curtain and START the cycle again
  • Once you’re done with the aforementioned steps, the next thing that needs to be done is to launder the shower curtain through the full wash, rinse, and spin cycles
  • Now, you need to remove your plastic shower curtain from your washing machine and then you need to place it in a cloth dryer along with a couple of dry bath towels
  • Now, you need to set the dryer on low heat and tumble for five minutes. After expediting this step, you’ll be able to remove wrinkles from your plastic shower curtain
  • Remove your plastic shower curtain from the dryer and hang it promptly.
  • Don’t let it cool in the dryer rather you should open and unfold your plastic shower curtain outdoor
  • You need to hang your shower curtain from a clothesline and then drape it over a railing or spread it out in an undisturbed area
  • Now, it’s time to leave your plastic shower curtain to off-gas in the fresh air for at least one week. I prefer a longer duration as plastic continues to release toxins for as much as a month
  • When spreading out your plastic shower curtain without clothespins, you need to weigh down at least two corners with heavy objects something similar to a couple of stones
  • After a couple of days, you need to check the plastic and if the odor still emits from your curtain, then you need to leave it outdoors till the time, you can no longer detect the odor
  • Last but not least, launder your plastic shower curtain if necessary to remove dust from outside

What is the Best Way to Wash a Plastic Shower Curtain?

First and foremost, you need to look for information about the material and fabric your shower curtain is made up of.

In the case of a plastic shower curtain, the probability is very high that they have the same tolerance for different cleaning solutions.

If your shower curtain comes with cleaning instructions from the manufacturer then you must follow them.

You might be wondering what if my shower curtain doesn’t come with cleaning instructions.

In such a scenario, you need to wash your shower curtain in your washing machine using mild detergent and warm water on a delicate spin cycle.

You must hang your curtain to dry either indoors or back over the shower.

Ensure the area around the curtain is well-ventilated to avoid any mold mildew.

Make sure you don’t use any harmful chemicals on your plastic shower curtain in order to prevent damaging the plastic.

How to Clean a Plastic Shower Curtain Without Taking it Down?

The first thing that needs to be done when it comes to cleaning a shower curtain without taking it down is to use a damp cloth to wipe the curtain down.

On top of it, you can also spray it with a neutral cleaner like mild dish soap, rinse it off with water and let it hang to dry.

Make sure that you don’t use ammonia-based cleaner on your vinyl shower curtain.

Another way of cleaning your shower curtain without taking it down is by using a cleaning agent such as vinegar.

You need to first rinse off your plastic shower curtain with water and then you need to spray your curtain with two cups of water and one cup of vinegar.

Once you’ve expedited the aforementioned steps, the next thing that needs to be done is to rub the soiled areas with a sponge or cloth that’s dampened with the mixture.

Let it dry in the sun, or inside in place by ensuring proper and adequate ventilation.

How to Clean a Plastic Shower Curtain With Bleach?

If your shower curtain is particularly discolored and has got stubborn stains, or you want to treat it to remove or prevent mold, you can use bleach to get the job done.

However, if you’re using a shower curtain that consists of polyester then bleach isn’t recommended for sure.

Let’s have a quick look at the steps involved in cleaning a plastic shower curtain using bleach.

  • Spot-treat stubborn stains with bleach and leave for 10 minutes before washing as normal
  • Add 1/4 cup of bleach to your washing machine drum with the shower curtain
  • Fill your bathtub with warm water, add 1 cup of bleach, and then soak your shower curtain for 20-30 minutes

Make sure you use color-safe bleach for dark or patterned shower curtains to prevent damage to the finish.

Can You Wash a Plastic Shower Curtain With Magnets?

It goes without saying that some shower curtains have magnets sewn into the hem.

These magnets are embedded into the curtains to prevent them from slipping up and down.

The good news is, you can wash your shower curtain with magnets.

All you need to do is to make sure the magnets are well-secured before placing them into a washing machine or any other water source.

At the same time, if you’re worried about your washing machine having magnets clanking around inside, the best thing that you can do is to handwash your shower curtain instead.

Nonetheless, your plastic shower that comes with magnets is machine washable until and unless stated on the label.

How to Clean Plastic Shower Curtain Mold?

  • Prepare the mixture by mixing water and vinegar in a 1:1 ratio
  • Spray the mixture onto the curtain and then rub it with a sponge or cloth and let dry
  • For giving an extra boost to the cleaning power of vinegar, you can combine it with baking soda
  • The chemical reaction between the two ingredients creates a powerful dirt-busting solution
  • Make a loose paste of baking soda and just enough water to bring it to the right consistency
  • Then, spread the paste across the shower curtain
  • Next, apply a white vinegar solution using a spray bottle

Make sure your shower curtain hangs inside the shower or bath when you wash it with vinegar and baking soda, to make cleanup easier.

You might be wondering what needs to be done if the mold on the shower curtain is very stubborn.

Frankly speaking, in such a scenario, you need to use a different cleaning method.

You need to prepare a solution of two parts hydrogen peroxide and one part water and apply it to your shower curtain using a spray bottle.

Let it sit for 20 minutes before cleaning it with a cloth or sponge.

How Often Should You Wash a Plastic Shower Curtain?

Trust me, there are numerous ways to clean a shower curtain.

According to me, the best way to clean a shower curtain is the one that suits you.

In layman’s terms, the best way to clean your shower curtain is to choose a method that suits your needs and lifestyle.

When it comes to answering the question, of how often you need to clean your shower curtain, I would say it depends on the material, frequency of use, and most importantly, the number of people who use it as well as how well you take care of it.

In general, you should clean your shower curtain at least once a month.

You don’t always need to clean your shower curtain thoroughly.

In fact, you can spray down with a quick cleaning solution like vinegar as part of a weekly cleaning routine in order to extend the lifespan of your curtain as well as the time required between thorough cleanings.

What Kind of Shower Curtain Doesn’t Smell?

We at recommend our clients look for liners made of eco-friendly materials such as polyethylene vinyl acetate (PEVA) or polyester fabric.

The good about such materials is that they are easy to clean, safe, and most importantly, don’t emit strong odors.

Are Shower Curtains Sanitary?

As per a study, your shower curtain has got the most germs of anything in your bathroom.

However, the germs and bacteria that grow on your shower curtain aren’t serious health threats to the majority of people.

Still, you should clean your shower curtain on a regular basis as well as maintain it properly in order to avoid any last-minute debacle.

What is the Safest Kind of Shower Curtain?

From my past experience and the knowledge that I’ve accumulated over two decades, all I can say is that the safest shower curtains are the ones that are made up of 100% GOTS-certified organic or 100% OEKO-TEX-certified linen.

What Can I Use Instead of a Plastic Shower Curtain?

A cotton shower curtain liner can be a good substitute for a plastic shower curtain as the former is heavy-weight and made up of cotton duck.

Since cotton shower curtains are easily washable so you can consider them as a viable substitute for their plastic counterparts.

Is a Polyester or a Cotton Shower Curtain Better?

It goes without saying that 100 percent polyester fabric curtains are durable and sink comparatively less as compared to other materials.

Furthermore, 100 percent cotton curtains are among the most durable ones but you should use them with liner in order to prevent mold and mildew stains.

How Do You Wash a 100% Polyester Shower Curtain?

The good thing about shower curtains that are made up of 100 percent polyester is that they are water-repellent and quick drying.

These curtains are machine washable.

We recommend washing a 100 percent polyester shower curtain on a warm setting with your regular detergent.

Is Microfiber Good For Shower Curtains?

Yes, microfiber is good for your shower curtain as it protects the curtain against mold and mildew growth.

Also, microfiber shower curtains are relatively heavier which is good for showers with high water pressure.

Do People Use Cotton Shower Curtains?

Yes, people do use cotton shower curtains as they are easy to clean as well as have a longer lifespan.

It’s A Wrap

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