How to Clean Shower Curtain with Bleach?

By The Shower Drapes | Shower Curtain Tips & Tricks

May 06
Clean Shower Curtain with Bleach

Bleaching A Shower Curtain: A Complete Guide To Keeping Your Bathroom Curtain Clean

A perfectly designed shower curtain adds character to your space and makes it easier to relax and unwind in your bathroom - and oh yea, also helps prevent water and soap from getting on the floor during your bath and showers.

However, over time, whether we care to admit or not, your shower curtain can become riddled with unsightly stains, not to mention mold and mildew due to trapped moisture, which can render it unhealthy and not quite as enjoyable as the prized possession it once was. Therefore, it will need to be cleaned and disinfected periodically in order to keep it the picturesque backdrop to your sparkling oasis.

There are various ways to disinfect your shower curtain; however, bleach has been proven effective against germs, bacteria, mold, and mildew. 

There are also chlorine bleach alternatives, such as powdered bleach, that provide a safe, nontoxic way to both sanitize and deodorize your shower curtain, which is just perfect for homes with small children or for those who just prefer a more natural way to disinfect their curtain. They are also safe for use on both white and colored shower curtains. You can also use it on your shower liner too!

How to Clean Shower Curtain with Bleach

First, Read the Care Label

Depending on your shower curtain's fabric, it may not be suitable for use with traditional chlorine bleach as well as certain detergents. Therefore, before cleaning your shower curtain with bleach, first, check the care label attached to the curtain to be sure it is suitable.

Test the Fabric

If you are in doubt as to whether or not your shower curtain can be cleaned with bleach, simply spot test the curtain with your chosen bleach product, first. Take a small portion of the product and test it on an inconspicuous part of the curtain to see if it causes discoloration or damage. If it does, simply go with a different cleaning product.

How to Clean Shower Curtain with Bleach Using the Washing Machine

Many shower curtains can be simply cleaned using the washing machine; however, some require washing by hand only. Therefore, again, check the care label on your shower curtain to see if it is washing machine compatible.

If so, simply use the following tips to clean your curtain with bleach using the washing machine. Otherwise, skip to the section on cleaning your shower curtain with bleach by hand.

List of Materials Needed:

  • Liquid or powdered bleach
  • Laundry detergent
  • Large bucket or bowl
  • Washing machine

How It's Done:

1. Remove the shower curtain from the rod by unsnapping the shower curtain hooks and removing the curtain from the hooks.

If your shower curtain is heavily stained or soiled, don't worry, most of ours are due to various reasons, first, get a sizable bucket or bowl that is big enough for the shower curtain to be fully submerged in.

2. Add one cup of liquid bleach, or one scoop of powdered bleach if using powered bleach, to one gallon of very hot water in a bucket or bowl. If the bucket or bowl holds more than one gallon of water, you may consider adding another cup or scoop of bleach to the bowl along with another gallon of hot water. Allow the bleach to fully disperse in the water.

3. Place the shower curtain, bottom first, which is usually the most gruesome, into the large bucket or bowl. Allow the curtain to soak anywhere from about an hour to 3 hours, or for seriously stained curtains you may need to allow it to soak overnight.

4. After the curtain has soaked for a while, move the curtain around in the water and then inspect it to see if the stains are removed. If they are, simply prepare the curtain to place in the washing machine. If not, which can happen if it has been a while in between cleanings - again, no judging here, simply drain the water and then replace it with fresh disinfected water. Submerge the curtain into the bleach water again and allow it to soak a while longer. Otherwise, set the washing machine on the warm cycle and then start the washer.

5. Allow the water to fill a bit and then place the shower curtain, along with a few clean white towels, into the washing machine. Adding a few towels to the washing machine along with the shower curtain helps keep the curtain from becoming crinkled or sticking to itself while the washing machine does its magic. If you are using a top loading machine, adding a few tiles to the washer along with the curtain is especially important because it will help prevent the curtain from becoming torn and shredded by the agitator, also known as the spinny thing for us common folks, during the wash cycle. The towels also provide a bit of scrubbing action as the machine operates.

6. Once you have added the curtain and the towels to the washer, pour about 1/2 cup of liquid bleach, or about one scoop of color-safe powdered bleach, over the shower curtain. Add 1/4 cup of laundry detergent to the washing machine and then allow the washer to complete its process.

Most liners can also be placed into the washing machine and cleaned along with the shower curtain. So whether the liner is dirty or not, you may consider adding it to the washer to help make your job a little easier. If your shower curtain is especially stained, you may even allow it to soak in the washing machine overnight to help remove stubborn stains.

How to Clean Shower Curtain with Bleach by Hand

While the washing machine may be great for cleaning fabric shower curtains with bleach, it may not be so great for cleaning vinyl or plastic shower curtains, which can become damaged by the washer. Therefore, they will need to be cleaned by hand.

List of Materials Needed:

  • Liquid or powdered bleach
  • Laundry detergent
  • Sponge or microfiber cloth
  • Large bucket or bowl
  • Bathtub

How It's Done:

Basic Cleaning the Curtain By Hand

If the curtain is only slightly soiled, then you may simply leave the curtain on the rod to clean it, lucky you!

1. To do so, add a bit of bleach to a dampened sponge or soft cloth and then wipe down the entire curtain. Begin with a light wash to help remove any surface dirt and then follow up with a more vigorous washing to remove more any built-up grime.

2. Take a fresh towel or sponge and dampen it with warm water. Wipe the dampened sponge or towel all over the curtain to help rinse it clean. Be sure to rinse the curtain until all traces of bleach and detergent are removed. You may need to repeat the rinsing process a few times to ensure this.

Deep Cleaning the Curtain By Hand

Sometimes, just simply wiping the curtain by hand isn't enough to thoroughly remove embedded dirt and stains from the curtain, in which case you need to break out the goggles and commit to more drastic measures.

1. Remove the shower curtain from the rod. If you'd like, you can also remove the shower curtain rings and give them a good soaking as well. Over time, the shower curtain rings, too, can become riddled with dust, dirt, and grime, which can also affect the look and sanitation of your bathroom, so it won't hurt to clean them along with the shower curtain.

2. Fill the tub with warm water. Add one cup of bleach, or about one scoop of powdered bleach, to the water along with about 2 tablespoons of your favorite laundry detergent. Allow the tub to continue to fill, thoroughly mixing the contents, until it is about halfway to three-fourths full.

3. Place the curtain into the tub and allow the curtain to soak a bit, about 20 minutes, which will help remove any stubborn stains. Make sure the entire curtain is submerged into the water.

4. After the curtain has soaked a bit, use a soft sponge to wipe away any remaining dirt left on the curtain after soaking it. You can also spot clean the curtain by adding just a bit of bleach or laundry detergent to the sponge and then rubbing the sponge over the specific spot.

5. Once you have cleaned off the curtain, drain the water from the tub. Refill the tub with cold water, and maneuver the curtain around to rinse away any bleach and detergent residue. Or, you can simply use the shower sprayer attachment to rinse off the curtain. Because you used bleach, you may need to give the curtain at least two rinses to ensure it is clean, so drain the tub and fill it again to help remove any remaining bleach.

Drying Your Shower Curtain

Drying your shower curtain is important; otherwise, you'll just be creating another breeding ground for more mildew and mold and another day spent doing what you love.

To dry the shower curtain, gently squeeze or press the shower curtain to remove any remaining water. Next, place the shower curtain back on the shower rings and then open the curtain as wide as it'll reach. This will eliminate any bunching in the curtain, which will allow it to completely dry. You should also be sure the bathroom is well ventilated to help the curtain dry faster. Lastly, be sure to place the lower part of the curtain on the inside of the tub to prevent water from dripping on the floor.

If you have a fabric shower curtain, you can place it, along with the towels, into the
dryer on the lowest setting for about 10 minutes. However, be sure to read the care label on the shower curtain, first, to be sure it is safe for dryer use.

Remove the curtain from the dryer and then hang it back on the rod to hang dry. However, do not place plastic shower curtains or liners in the dryer because the heat will cause them to melt.

You could also simply hang the curtain on a clothesline, either in your laundry room or out in the yard, for a bit of sun-kissed warmth that is sure to leave your shower curtain smelling like fresh, summer breezes.

Maintaining a Clean Shower Curtain

After cleaning your shower curtain, take the proper steps to help keep mold, mildew, dirt, and stains at bay.

For starters, keep your shower curtain fully expanded after each shower. Keeping your curtain fully open enables any excess water to drip off into the tub, so there is less chance of it gathering in the folds and creases of a closed curtain, which provides the perfect place for mold and mildew growth.

Also, each day, be sure to spray down the curtain with a concoction of 50 percent water and 50 percent vinegar. Then, once a week, clean the lower part of the curtain with vinegar to prevent soap scum from accumulating on the bottom. Lastly, you might also consider choosing a body wash over bar soap, which causes more soap scum build up.

In the end, if you are like most bathroom enthusiasts, you will find that using these steps on how to clean shower curtain with bleach to ensure a clean, sanitized shower curtain will provide you with a feeling of satiety as you take a step back and admire your bath space without the worry of what may be growing in your bathroom.

It will also leave you feeling good as your family members use the bathroom, knowing it is clean, sanitary, and comfortable. Furthermore, regularly cleaning your shower curtain and liner will help prevent them from becoming permanently stained with mold, mildew, and other bathroom stains, which will also help save you from having to purchase a new shower curtain or liner more often. But if you do decide to purchase a new shower curtain, be sure to read our Best Shower Curtains Reviews.

Keeping your bathroom clean and free from mold and mildew can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to tackling stubborn stains on your shower curtain or liner. Fortunately, there's a simple solution that can restore its pristine appearance - bleaching! Whether you have a fabric or plastic shower curtain, using bleach can effectively remove mildew, grime, and soap scum. We'll walk you through the step-by-step process of bleaching your shower curtain to make it look brand new. From preparing your curtain for washing to utilizing a mixture of warm water, laundry detergent, and a cup of bleach, we've got you covered. So let's dive in and discover the secrets to keeping your bathroom sparkling clean and mildew-resistant.

Why Bleach Is The Best Option For Cleaning Shower Curtains

When it comes to effectively cleaning shower curtains and liners, bleach emerges as the ultimate solution. Not only does it effortlessly remove grime and stains, but it also helps prevent mildew and mold growth. Bleaching your shower curtain is a simple process that can be done in a washing machine or by hand. By adding bleach to the wash cycle and allowing it to soak, you can ensure a thorough cleaning that leaves your curtain looking fresh and new. Whether you have fabric or plastic shower curtains, bleach is a versatile cleaner that can tackle even the toughest stains. So bid farewell to dirty showers and aim to keep your bathroom clean with the power of bleach.

Preparing For Success: Essential Steps Before Cleaning Your Shower Curtain With Bleach

Before embarking on the task of cleaning your shower curtain with bleach, it's important to take a few essential steps to ensure optimal results. Start by removing the shower curtain from the curtain rod and giving it a thorough inspection for any stubborn stains or wrinkles. If you have a fabric shower curtain, check the care label to determine if it can be machine washed. For plastic shower curtains, hand washing is typically recommended. Prior to cleaning, rinse the curtain with warm water to remove any loose debris.

Dilution Delight: Properly Mixing And Preparing The Bleach Solution For Cleaning Your Shower Curtain

When it comes to cleaning your shower curtain with bleach, it's crucial to properly mix and prepare the bleach solution for optimal results. Start by ensuring you're working in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes. For a plastic shower curtain or liner, dilute regular bleach by adding one cup of bleach to a tub filled with warm water. If you're dealing with a fabric shower curtain, opt for liquid bleach and follow the instructions on the bottle for the appropriate dilution. Remember to avoid dripping bleach solution on any surrounding surfaces or fabrics. By taking the time to dilute the bleach correctly, you'll ensure a safe and effective cleaning process for your shower curtain.

The Soaking Secret: Maximizing The Cleaning Power By Allowing The Shower Curtain To Soak In Bleach

When it comes to cleaning your shower curtain, there's a powerful secret that can enhance its effectiveness - allowing it to soak in bleach. After preparing the bleach solution and scrubbing the curtain, submerge it in the solution and let it soak for at least 30 minutes. This soaking process allows the bleach to penetrate deep into the fabric or plastic, effectively removing stains, mold, and mildew. As the curtain soaks, the bleach works its magic, leaving your shower curtain looking fresh and new. Don't underestimate the power of soaking in bleach to achieve a thorough and revitalizing clean for your shower curtain.

Gentle Scrubbing: Techniques For Safely Scrubbing And Removing Stains From Your Shower Curtain With Bleach

To effectively remove stains from your shower curtain, it's important to employ gentle scrubbing techniques. After allowing the curtain to soak in the bleach solution, take a damp cloth or sponge and gently scrub the surface. For stubborn stains, you can create a paste by combining baking soda and water, and apply it to the affected areas. With a light hand, scrub in circular motions to lift the stains without damaging the material. Rinse the curtain thoroughly to remove any residue, and then hang it back to dry. By using these gentle scrubbing techniques, you can restore your shower curtain to its original pristine condition.


Rinse And Repeat: Thoroughly Rinsing And Removing Residual Bleach From Your Shower Curtain

After cleaning your shower curtain with bleach, it's crucial to thoroughly rinse it to remove any residual bleach and prevent damage. Start by draining the tub or stopping the washing machine's cycle, and rinse the curtain with clean water. If using a washing machine, you can run an additional rinse cycle to ensure all traces of bleach are eliminated. For a hand-washed curtain, rinse it under running water until the water runs clear. After rinsing, hang the curtain to air-dry, or gently pat it with a dry towel to speed up the drying process. By rinsing your shower curtain thoroughly, you'll ensure a clean and safe final result.


Drying Done Right: Best Practices For Drying And Maintaining The Cleanliness Of Your Shower Curtain

Maintaining the pristine condition of your shower curtain requires effective drying methods. After washing, hang the shower curtain on the rod to air-dry, allowing the shower curtain to dry faster and prevent the accumulation of mold or mildew. For plastic shower curtain liners, it's crucial not to tumble dry, as this can cause damage. Instead, let them air-dry to keep your shower curtain looking new.

Regularly inspect your curtain, ensuring it is always dry after use. This proactive measure prevents issues from happening in the first place. Make it a routine to open the curtain fully after each shower, promoting quick drying and mitigating the risk of unwanted dampness. These practices ensure your shower curtain remains in prime condition, contributing to an overall cleaner and healthier bathroom environment.


To wrap it up, bleaching your shower curtain can be a game-changer when it comes to keeping your bathroom clean and fresh. Whether you have a fabric or plastic shower curtain, the process is relatively simple and highly effective. By regularly washing and bleaching your curtain, you can prevent the buildup of mildew, mold, and stubborn stains. Whether you choose to clean it in the washing machine or by hand, make sure to rinse it thoroughly to remove any residual bleach. For added freshness, consider using natural ingredients like white vinegar or baking soda. Remember to aim for general cleaning regularly, and don't forget about the curtain liner if you have one. By following these steps and making it a part of your cleaning routine, you can enjoy a sparkling and inviting shower curtain that enhances the overall ambiance of your bathroom.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you’ve still got questions about bleaching shower curtain, then these may help:

Will Bleach Ruin Plastic Shower Curtain?

Bleach can potentially harm a plastic shower curtain, causing discoloration or damage. Instead, aim to clean your shower curtain regularly using a mild solution, such as a cup of vinegar or baking soda. Submerge the curtain in the washing machine, add more water, and allow it to undergo a gentle spin cycle. This method effectively keeps mildew at bay, preserving the cleanliness of your shower curtain without the risk of bleach damage.


Can You Bleach A White Cloth Shower Curtain?

Yes, you can bleach a white cloth shower curtain to remove stains and keep it looking new. Place it in your washing machine, add a suitable stain remover, and fill the tub with water. However, always remember to follow the manufacturer's instructions and consider using white towels to prevent the shower curtain from crumpling. After washing, rinse the shower curtain well to remove any bleach residue, ensuring the cleanliness and longevity of your curtain.


How Do You Bleach A Cotton Shower Curtain?

To bleach a cotton shower curtain, place it in your washing machine along with a mild bleach solution. Add a cup of white vinegar or baking soda to enhance the cleaning process. Run the machine on a gentle cycle, ensuring thorough cleaning while preserving the curtain's quality. By consistently washing your curtain, you can keep it looking fresh and extend its lifespan, without encountering any bleach-related issues.


How Much Bleach Do I Need To Soak My Shower Curtain?

When soaking your shower curtain in bleach, it's important to use the right amount to prevent damage. A typical recommendation is half a cup of bleach for a full tub of water. This solution will help you effectively clean a shower curtain, whether it's by hand or in a washing machine. Regular washing keeps a shower curtain fresh and clean, ensuring it remains an asset to your bathroom decor.


How Do You Make Homemade Bleach?

To create a homemade bleach alternative, mix equal parts of water and baking soda. This solution can be used to wash your shower curtain, whether it's by hand or in the washing machine. Regularly cleaning the curtain or liner, especially if it's white, will keep it fresh and prolong its lifespan. 

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