I’m embarrassed to share this, but you must be honest to help others, right?
I wash my bathroom rugs and shower curtains every week. It’s part of my Friday cleaning routine. We have one bathroom in our small house which means if you don’t clean everything thoroughly on a regular basis, it can become a gross mess in no time flat.
Imagine my surprise when my bathroom developed this distinct but nasty odor. My husband and I were trying to track down where it was coming from for days. It didn’t enter my mind to smell the shower curtain because I’d been washing it every week.
Well, the long and short of it is, it was the shower curtain. It had a strong smell of mildew, and I knew it had to go. The problem is we must special order our shower curtains for them to be long enough because my husband is exceptionally tall.
Therefore, I was going to have to deal with the odor while I waited on the new one to ship. Or would I? Instead, I learned how to remove the smell from my shower curtain, prolong its life, and save myself money in the future.
Here’s how to clean a shower curtain and remove the smell of mildew:
- Washing machine
- Laundry detergent
1. Take Down the Curtain
You’re going to laugh when I tell you why I included this step. The last time I asked my oldest son (he’s 19) to take down the shower curtain for me to wash it, I had quite the surprise waiting for me in the bathroom.
I’m much shorter than everyone else in my family. Therefore, I need the tall people in my house to take down the extra long shower curtain for me to wash it.
Well, when I asked my oldest to take it down, he took down the shower curtain rod with the shower curtain still attached. He didn’t detach the shower curtain from the rod while leaving it in place.
When I saw this, I burst out laughing because I hadn’t thought I’d need to be this specific. However, he proved me wrong.
For this reason, I include this step in detail to make sure I’m absolutely clear. Remove the shower curtain and shower curtain liner from the shower hooks on the shower curtain rod. Leave the rod itself and the hooks in place.
2. Toss it in the Washer
I realize some people don’t use a washing machine to wash their clothes. For this process, you must have some way to agitate the clothes. A washing machine would be best.
If not, you could try using a plunger or other handheld agitating device to work through removing mildew from your shower curtain.
When you add your shower curtain and liner to the washer, it’s a good time to add any dirty bath towels or bath rugs to the machine too.
These items work to brush up against the curtain and remove the mildew from it. Any heavier items you might have to wash, this would be a good time.
3. Add the Magic Mix
Once everything is in the washing machine, it’s time to add the magic mix which will help wash the shower curtain and liner.
Plus, it’ll help remove the mildew as well. Begin the process by making sure your washer is set to the hot water setting. You need hot water to get the job done.
Next, add your usual amount of laundry detergent. Place it in the appropriate location on your washer.
4. Let the Washer Go
After everything is in the washer, you’re ready to turn on your washer and let it go.
There’s no value in using special settings. Instead, place it on the normal setting and let your washing machine do its own thing.
Now, if you’re someone who is washing your shower curtain by hand, it might be a good idea to add the towels, rugs, or even blue jeans to the tub.
Use a handheld agitator to work the materials around in the water by hand. The idea is to use enough force to where they’ll rub up against each other and knock any dirt or mildew from the curtain and other items.
5. Put the Sun to Work
The next step is a ‘back to basics’ way of doing things. Instead of tossing your shower curtain and liner into the dryer, try to dry it in the sunlight.
The sun has a way of doing an excellent job of drying clothing in the great outdoors. The value in this is the sun dries while the air outside circulates around the shower curtain. It helps to kill off any remaining mold spores or mildew.
You can also hang the shower curtain up in your bathroom while it’s still wet and let it air dry in your home if the weather isn’t cooperating.
If you have a clothesline, this would be an excellent place to allow your shower curtain and liner to dry outdoors.
However, if you don’t have one, you can hang it over the edge of a porch or deck. You could also hang it over the back of a few outdoor chairs which have been placed together.
Either way, the idea is to try and let the shower curtain and the liner air dry when possible. If it’s impossible for the shower curtain and liner to air dry, pop it in the dryer.
However, try not to let it dry all the way. Hang it in your bathroom while still slightly damp to allow the air in your restroom to finish the job.
6. Hang Up and Enjoy
The last step of the process is to hang the shower curtain up. Place the curtain and liner back through the shower curtain hooks which are attached to the shower curtain rod.
After this, the curtain and liner should be attached to the rod and ready for use. The odor which once existed should be gone.
If your shower curtain was terrible, it could take multiple washes in laundry detergent and vinegar. It could also take more time in the sunlight to finish it off.
When you feel confident in the cleanliness of your shower curtain and liner, you’re done.
It’s a good idea to continue to wash your shower curtain and liner weekly, bi-weekly, or at the least one time per month. It depends greatly on how regularly you use your shower, how many people use the same shower, and how much time you have.
It’s also a good idea to add the vinegar to the wash cycle at least one time per month. If you can, try to let the shower curtain line dry one time during the month as well to help diminish mold and mildew from your shower curtain.
You can also spray an all-purpose cleaner on the shower curtain liner when cleaning your bathroom to help fight mold and mildew between washes too.
Shower curtains have an important job, but they’re exposed to dirt, grime, and soap scum too. All of which can cause nasty things to grow on them.
Stay ahead of what’s growing on your shower curtain by paying closer attention to your shower curtain during weekly cleanings and making it a special priority to wash the shower curtain specifically with the mindset of deterring mildew, mold, and other odors from growing on it throughout the month.
By doing this, your shower curtain and liner will smell better, you will kill off mold and mildew, and also prolong the life of your shower curtain.