IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

How to clean your shower curtain liner, according to experts

Mildew and mold won’t stand a chance.
Experts recommend cleaning your liner every three months to prevent bacteria from growing.
Experts recommend cleaning your liner every three months to prevent bacteria from growing.Courtesy Lauren Swanson

We don’t always have the answers, but we have some people on speed dial who do — which is why we present to you our series FYI where we have experts explain if lip balm is actually badhow often should you wash your hair and more. 

There’s a sneaky spot in your bathroom where grime and bacteria like to hang out — and, no, it’s not your toilet. Shower curtain liners can easily become breeding grounds for mold, mildew and dirt if they’re not cleaned regularly (and properly). According to cleaning experts, liners are one of the most common things people overlook when scrubbing down their bathroom with cleaning products

So, how often do you really need to wash your shower curtain liner? And what’s the best way to clean it? To get those very answers, I asked cleaning professionals for their best advice. I also asked them what to look for when shopping for a high-quality shower curtain liner to ensure that your liner lasts as long as possible with good care. 

SKIP AHEAD What is the best way to clean your shower curtain liner? | What happens if you don’t clean your shower curtain liner? | How often should you replace your shower curtain liner? | How we picked the best shower curtain liners | The best shower curtain liners of 2024

What is the best way to clean your shower curtain liner? 

Shower curtain liners are mainly made from either some type of plastic or a water-resistant fabric. The type you have will dictate how you should clean it. With a fabric liner, your washing machine will do its best to clean it. “You can wash the liner in your washing machine with a couple of towels, using regular detergent and a cup of baking soda on a gentle cycle with warm water,” says Dan Dillon, founder and CEO of Clean It Supply. “This approach effectively removes soap scum and mildew without causing damage to the liner.”

If your liner is made from plastic, you will probably be better off washing it by hand. “You can use a mixture of mild detergent and water or a diluted bleach solution,” says Vanessa Terra Bossart, owner of Green Terra Cleaning in San Francisco. Put the mixture in a bottle, spray down your liner and then use the scrubby side of a sponge to remove any grime that has built up. Then, rinse it all away with water.

No matter what method you use to wash your shower curtain liner, you should dry it the same way. “After washing, hang your liner to air dry to prevent more mildew from popping up,” says Dillon. You should never put it in the dryer, which could damage the liner. 

How often should you clean your shower curtain liner? 

Knowing how to clean your shower curtain liner is important. Equally crucial? Knowing how often to do it.  “Proper maintenance extends the lifespan of your shower liner,” says Bossart. “Accumulated grime can weaken the material over time, making it more prone to tears or deterioration. By keeping it clean, you’re effectively investing in its longevity and saving yourself the hassle of premature replacement.”

All the experts we spoke with recommend cleaning it as soon as you start to see any sort of grime, mildew or cloudiness show up on your liner. Don’t see any? Washing your liner every three months or so should do the trick. 

What happens if you don’t clean your shower curtain liner? 

Ever look down while showering and realize your shower curtain liner is spotted with dirt and maybe even mold? Hey, it happens. But you should avoid it if you can. “Maintaining a clean shower liner is essential not just for aesthetic purposes but also for health considerations,” says Eliana Coca, owner of E.C. House Cleaning. “In my professional experience, I’ve observed that a dirty shower liner can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew due to the high moisture levels typical in bathrooms. These fungi can cause respiratory issues and allergic reactions if not addressed.”

Beyond health concerns, a dirty liner can lead to an unpleasant bathroom environment. “Mold and mildew take hold quickly in a damp environment and it can lead to unpleasant odors,” says Bossart. “It can also lead to stubborn stains and discoloration, diminishing the visual appeal of your bathroom. Furthermore, mold and mildew can spread to surrounding surfaces, causing damage that may require costly repairs.”

How often should you replace your shower curtain liner? 

Even if you take perfect care of your shower curtain liner, you will have to eventually replace it. Think of it like a pair of running shoes. You can do all the right things, but eventually wear and tear will happen and you’ll want to start fresh. “I advise clients to assess their shower liners every six months to determine if they need replacing,” says Coca. “Frequent inspections help catch any irreparable damage or persistent mold early.”

Another sign you need a new liner? If you are washing your shower curtain liner and can’t get rid of the discoloration, it’s probably time for a replacement, says Dillon. 

How we picked the best shower curtain liners

To help you shop for a shower curtain liner replacement, we asked cleaning experts what to take into consideration when shopping. Here’s what they said: 

  • Material: As mentioned, shower curtain liners usually come in fabric or plastic. A fabric liner will move more easily but may need to be washed more frequently. When it comes to plastic liners, our experts suggest looking for one made from PEVA or EVA. “They are PVC-free, chloride-free, and have fewer chances of fostering mold,” says Dillon.
  • Size: You’ll need to measure your shower (both width and height) before shopping for a new liner to make sure the one you choose will fit in your space. All of the liners on our list come in multiple sizes to fit varying needs. 
  • Hanging holes: Some shower curtain liners have punched-out holes to hang them by, while others have holes reinforced with thread or even grommets. The latter will last much longer, and you won’t risk tearing if you pull on the liner. 

The best shower curtain liners of 2024

The shower curtain liners below either have high ratings and meet the above qualifications or were recommended by our experts. 

AmazerBath Plastic Shower Curtain

Dillon likes that this shower curtain from AmazerBath is made from PEVA, a material that has no plastic smell and has a smooth surface made to resist water. The hanging holes are reinforced with rust-proof grommets and the button of the curtain is weighted to prevent it from bunching up, according to the brand. This shower curtain liner is available in widths up to 72 inches and lengths up to 96 inches. One thing to note: Only the clear options are made from PEVA. The other colorful options are made from EVA, another material that Dillon likes. 

LiBa Waterproof Plastic Shower Curtain

Another recommendation from Dillon, this liner is made from heavy-duty PEVA material. Similar to the AmazerBath option, it has hanging holes reinforced with rust-proof grommets and a weighted bottom. This pick can be used as a stand-alone curtain or behind your favorite fabric curtain as a liner. It is available in widths up to 72 inches and lengths up to 96 inches.

BigFoot Shower Curtain Liner

This PEVA shower curtain has a 4.5-star average rating from over 52,110 reviews on Amazon. It is 72 inches wide and 72 inches long and comes in three weights: standard, lightweight and heavy duty. The bottom is weighted, and the hanging holes are grommeted for durability. 

ALYVIA SPRING Waterproof Fabric Shower Curtain Liner 

I prefer a fabric liner over a plastic one because they move a bit more easily and lay more flat. I’ve been using this one for over a year and it is holding up well. Anytime it needs to be cleaned, I just throw it in the washing machine and it comes out looking pristine. It is made from a polyester fabric that has a waterproof coating and is tightly woven to prevent water from absorbing. The liner comes in 29 different colors and is available in widths up to 108 inches and lengths up to 96 inches. 

Biscaynebay Hotel Quality Fabric Shower Curtain Liner

This liner has a 4.5-star average rating from over 28,155 reviews on Amazon. According to the brand, it is made from a heavy-weight polyester fabric that repels water and won’t soak through. The hanging holes are reinforced with grommets, and there is a weighted hem to keep your liner in place. The liner comes in widths up to 180 inches and lengths up to 108 inches. It is available in 23 colors, including white, silver and navy.

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts with specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training or experience. We also ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

Why trust NBC Select?

Bethany Heitman is a contributor at NBC Select and a journalist who regularly covers beauty, home and lifestyle. For this story, she interviewed three cleaning experts. 

Catch up on Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance, tech and tools, wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to stay up to date.