How to Deal With a Mouldy Shower Curtain

How to Deal With a Mouldy Shower Curtain
Photo: Ana Anderson, Shutterstock

No matter how often you clean the tiles, fixtures, and tub/shower, you may still find yourself dealing with an annoying, recurring problem: mould on your shower curtain. One day you put in a fresh liner, and it seems like it’s only a few days later before the mould reemerges.

So why does this happen and what can you do about it? Mould remediation expert Michael Rubino breaks it down in an article for mindbodygreen. Here’s what to know.

What causes mould to grow on shower curtains

Basically, it comes down to ventilation and airflow. “The excess moisture located between the shower curtain and the shower liner can get trapped, creating an ideal environment for mould and mildew (which, by the way, should be taken just as seriously as mould) to grow,” Rubino writes.

Ventilating the bathroom

The obvious solution is to turn on the exhaust fan, but as Rubino explains, you can’t just flip a switch and expect everything to be fixed:

It’s worth noting that when you turn on your exhaust fan, you’re creating a negative pressure environment in your bathroom that sucks steam and air out. In order for your exhaust fan to properly work, you need to replace that air at the same rate you’re pulling it out. This is why it’s important to crack open a door or window every time you run it.

If you don’t replace the airflow into the bathroom, your exhaust will not operate as efficiently as it could. Ever noticed moisture dripping from your fan after a hot shower? This is moisture that’s been trapped inside the vent due to a lack of incoming air.

And if you don’t have an exhaust fan, you’ll definitely want to open a window to give the hot, steamy air somewhere to go.

Other ways to prevent mould from growing on your shower curtain

In addition to making sure your bathroom is well-ventilated, Rubino has some other suggestions for keeping your shower curtain mould-free:

Separate the shower curtain and liner

Since the mould often forms between the shower curtain and liner, take the extra five seconds after a shower or bath to separate them — meaning, making sure the liner is inside the tub, and the curtain is outside the tub. Per Rubino:

By keeping them separate, you’re allowing them both to dry properly. When these two wet surfaces are touching, moisture can persist between them for much longer. (Think about if you were to leave a wet sponge on a counter; both the sponge and the counter below it would remain damp for an extended period of time.)

Don’t leave your bath mat on the floor

Because the goal is to keep your shower area dry, Rubino says that it’s also important to hang your bath mat after taking a shower or bath to prevent the same sort of moisture-trapping that happens between the curtains.

“Simply prop your bath mat over the shower rod or a towel rack to allow it to fully dry between uses and you will have a lot less trouble with mould growing around your shower area,” he writes.

Wash your bath mat and shower curtain regularly

If you aren’t in the habit of popping your bath mat and shower curtain in the wash on a regular basis, it’s time to start, Rubino says — noting that he washes his once a week. “Over time, dust will accumulate on both, and when dust accumulates, it provides a sort of magnet for settled mould spores to land on,” he writes.

How to get rid of mould that’s already there

If your shower curtain was relatively inexpensive and gets moldy, you’re probably best off throwing it away, then starting fresh with a new one, and using the tips above to prevent mould from growing in the first place. But if you do want to attempt to clean it, Rubino recommends using this product.

Another option comes from the website The Maids. They recommend spraying your moldy shower curtain with a solution of two parts hydrogen peroxide and one part water, letting it sit for five to 10 minutes, then scrubbing it with a solution of equal parts baking soda and water. Because you’re dealing with mould, ideally this is something you’d do outside, but if that’s not practical or possible, you can also clean it in the tub itself.

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