Shower curtains are among the best places for molds and mildew growth due to the warm and damp environment. So, it’s crucial to clean them regularly. But taking the shower curtain down for machine washing and putting it back can be a hassle, and there’s got to be an easier method.

Here’s how to clean your shower curtain without taking it down:

  1. Spray it down with homemade solutions.
  2. Scrub it with a sponge.
  3. Let the curtain soak, then wipe down.
  4. If all else fails, use a washing machine.

Keep reading to learn more about washing shower curtains without taking them down. We’ll provide you with step-by-step instructions. We’ll also tell you why it’s important to wash your shower curtain and better alternatives for all-out cleaning.

1. Spray It Down With Homemade Solutions

It might be hard for you to reach the rod, take the curtain down, and put it back. And even if you can, you may feel too lazy to do that. But no matter what the case is, these practical homemade solutions can help you clean up the shower curtain when it’s still hanging on.

Vinegar and Water

Vinegar and water are most effective for cleaning the soap scum that accumulates on your shower curtain. Soap scum is a white or gray solid matter that forms on bathroom surfaces when soap is used with minerals in hard, tap water.

Here is what you should do:

  1. You need to get a spray bottle. Fill it with a solution of white vinegar and water with a ratio of 1 to 4.
  2. Spray it onto the shower curtain side facing the tub and let it sit for some minutes. Just remember to put the end of the curtain inside the bathtub, otherwise, it may drip onto the floor and put you in trouble of washing more dirty areas.
  3. Then use your shower head to rinse it away with plain water.

Bleach and Water

This method is like the previous one but much stronger. It can clean the stains that different body or hair products may have caused. But before you rush to do it, ensure your shower curtain’s fabric is bleach-friendly and won’t lose its colors.

  1. Make a mixture made of bleach and water with a ratio of 1 to 4.
  2. Spray the curtain with the solution and let sit for a few minutes.
  3. Rinse it with lukewarm water.

Baking Soda and Water

Baking soda is another great detergent to get rid of molds and stains. Molds are a type of fungi usually found outdoors.

However, they can also grow on wet surfaces indoors. That’s when they’ll turn into a problem because molds can digest what they’re growing on. Their spores can also cause allergies.

Unlike other chemical detergents, baking soda is mild (pH of 8.1) and harmless to your family and pets. Besides, it deodorizes your curtain, eliminating the smell mold leaves leave behind.

Here are the instructions:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda where the mold or stain is the worst.
  2. Then scrub the shower curtain with a cloth and rinse off with warm water.
  3. If stains on your curtain are stubborn and hard to wipe, add more baking soda and scrub with a harsher sponge or brush.
  4. Rinse them away again with water.

Related post: Does Mixing Bleach and Baking Soda for Cleaning Really Work?

Vodka and Water

This solution is not to wash away molds and stains but rather prevent them from growing on your curtain.

  1. Mix ½ cup vodka with 1 cup of water and ten drops of peppermint essential oil.
  2. Pour it into a spray bottle, and spray it on your walls and curtain after taking a shower.
  3. Note that you need good ventilation in your bathroom, and remember to close the curtain every time, so it dries completely.

2. Scrub It With a Sponge

Now that you’ve sprayed your shower curtain with your homemade solutions, and let it sit for a while, it’s time to scrub it. Depending on the material, you’ll want to choose something that won’t damage the curtain.

If you have a lightweight shower curtain, then you’ll want a microfiber cloth. But if you have a plastic or vinyl shower curtain, then you can use a heavier scrubber.

Before rinsing your curtain, try to scrub off all the stains, mildew, or mold as much as you can. Once you’re satisfied with the results, rinse the curtain thoroughly, then pull all the way shut to let it dry completely.

3. Let the Curtain Soak, Then Wipe Down

For stubborn stains, try letting the curtain soak for a longer time. This gives the solution time to work on the stains. However, the curtain must be completely dry before you spray it, or the water will wash away your hard work.

You may want to let your shower curtain soak for at least 30 minutes to an hour before wiping it down.

4. If All Else Fails, Use a Washing Machine

While you can clean a shower curtain without taking it out, these methods may not be as effective as washing it thoroughly in a bathtub or machine.

The best way to clean a shower curtain is to use a washing machine on a regular cycle. Throw it in the machine, add ½ cup baking soda to your detergent, and one or two towels. Baking soda resolves the grime, and towels wipe it off.

Adding ½ cup white vinegar in the rinsing step also works wonders.

Washing the towels in the same load with the curtain, especially if it’s a plastic or vinyl one, prevents it from bunching up. If it’s made of natural fabrics, read the tag to ensure it’s washable and act accordingly.

However, you don’t want to put a plastic or vinyl curtain in the dryer, as it could melt.

If you don’t have access to a washing machine, you can hand wash the curtain with a similar method:

  1. Fill a tub or sink with warm water and pour some baking soda or white vinegar in it.
  2. Lay the shower curtain on the floor and wipe the germs and stains with a microfiber cloth dipped in the mixture. You can also wipe them with a harsh brush or sponge.
  3. Repeat the process as much as needed.
  4. Once it’s cleaned, hang it again on the rod and let it air dry. Don’t put in a dryer. 

FAQs About Cleaning Shower Curtains

Let’s now focus on some of the frequently asked questions that people have about cleaning their shower curtains.

Why Is It Important to Clean a Shower Curtain?

It’s important to clean a shower curtain because it keeps the molds and mildews at bay, preventing health problems. It also helps remove the soap scum gathered on the curtain. This cleaning routine adds to the lifespan of the shower curtain and can appear economical in the long run.

Although you have to change the shower curtain at least every six months, washing it in the months in between is also critical. And that’s because the shower curtain is even dirtier than your toilet.

Safe Home found that bacteria living on a shower curtain can be 60 times more than a toilet seat. And according to their survey, 57% of people have seen mold on their shower curtains.

If you postpone cleaning shower curtains, molds and mildews, along with other bacteria, grow more and spread into the cracks and crevasses of the bathroom.

What Causes Bacteria in the Shower?

The same study reported that people don’t just wash in a shower, but rather do the following, which causes bacteria in the shower:

  • Urinating (81% of men, 73% of women)
  • Having sex (61% of people)
  • Shaving (65%)
  • Brushing teeth (33%)

All these activities add to the germs and bacteria found on shower curtains. The warm, humid environment of bathrooms, usually dark, helps microorganisms multiply very fast.

How Often to Clean the Shower Curtain

It’s important to make cleaning the shower curtain part of your bathroom cleaning routine and add it to your to-do list.

The exact frequency of cleaning a shower curtain depends on your shower habits. But ideally, clean it once a month to keep it mold-free. If it’s too much, do it at least every three months. And don’t forget to replace the curtain yearly.


Shower curtains can be home to numerous microorganisms, from bacteria to mold and mildew. While most of these bacteria aren’t a source of any concern, the molds growing on the curtain’s surface are.

Don’t panic, as some homemade detergent solutions let you wipe grimes off the curtain while still in place. If you have a washing machine, using it may be the best approach to keep it clean.

But whatever you choose, have a monthly or at least quarterly cleaning routine.

You may also like: How to Remove Mold From the Shower (Curtains, Grout, Caulk)

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