Shower Curtain vs Liner

By The Shower Drapes | Shower Curtain Tips & Tricks

Shower Curtain vs Liner
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Shower Curtain vs Liner

Being able to enjoy a nice shower before you start or after your day ends is certainly one of life's small pleasures. You laugh, but a lot of people don't actually get to enjoy that. So if you do happen to have one in your bathroom, don't take it for granted. In this article we will be talking about the main accessories that a shower room must have, specifically a shower curtain or a shower liner. What's the difference you may ask? Well, aside from it being a common fixture in murder and horror movies (remember Psycho), these two actually serve a purpose. And that's what we will talk about in this guide. Shower curtain vs liner, which one is better? Well, to answer that question, we will have to take a closer look at each one. So let's get to it.

What is a shower curtain?

The technical definition of a shower curtain according to the Cambridge dictionary is "a usually plastic curtain that you pull across an opening when you are having a shower to prevent the spray of water from getting out". To simplify it, a shower curtain is the fancy part that goes outside of the tub or shower. As mentioned above, its main purpose is to prevent water from getting out of your tub or shower area. It is a simple piece of material that can provide a lot of benefits when it is installed.

What is it made of?

Normally, a shower curtain is made of fabric. But as two what kind of fabric, there are four common types: canvas, plastic, satin or silk and polyester. Each one has a certain type of advantage.

Canvas - a shower curtain made of canvas is actually a very sturdy shower curtain. It also does well in containing the water inside the tub or shower area. Aside from that, it doesn't wrinkle or curl up when wet or when engulfed in steam. The downside is, this material is fairly rough to the touch. So if this isn't your thing, then we suggest you move on to another type. But rest assured, canvas is a bathroom appropriate material.

How To Guide Shower Curtain vs Liner

Polyester - in terms of sturdiness, it is almost comparable to canvas. This material is woven thick so that it will last long. And just like canvas, it is also water resistant and will not crinkle when it comes into contact with steam. Well, you'd expect that from a material that is made just like canvas. The advantage of using a shower curtain made of this kind of material is that it is very easy to clean and it is a bit smoother than canvas.

Plastic - well, this one is a no brainer. Virtually almost all fixtures in your bathroom are made of plastic, so why not a shower curtain?  It can be very plain looking, but there are also plastic shower curtains that are very stylish. The good thing about the best shower curtains made of plastic is that you can choose from virtually unlimited designs. If what you are after is to add style to your bathroom, going for a plastic shower curtain with a certain design is the most cost effective and easiest way. They are also durable but not as durable as canvas or polyester (since they are thinner). They will also not wrinkle when they are engulfed in steam. And since they are very affordable, they are very easy to replace. That's why it is the most common type of shower curtain.

Silk or Satin - if you want your bathroom to look like a bathroom in a 5-star hotel, the only way to go is to use a shower curtain made of silk or satin. Yes we know, who would use silk or satin for a shower curtain? Are you the Queen of Westeros or something? That's exactly the point. This type of material exudes luxury. If you can afford to be luxurious, splurging on a shower curtain made of silk or satin is the best choice. After every shower, you can then call yourself the Mother of Dragons, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Realm! Kidding aside though, the reason why satin or silk can be used as shower curtains is because these materials are water resistant. But they do stretch out when wet and they aren't the sturdiest material. If you wish to go with this type of shower curtain, we recommend you use a curtain liner to protect it from getting wet (we'll talk about shower liners later). But all in all, silk or satin shower curtains are really just for aesthetic purposes.

Pros and Cons of Shower Curtains

Well, you might already have a pretty good idea what shower curtains bring to the table. But let's talk about it anyway, because we can.


  • Keeps the water inside the tub or the shower area
  • Shower curtains add a bit of dimension to your bathroom, especially if you are using stylish ones
  • In shared bathrooms, it provides privacy for the person showering
  • Feels less constricting than a shower door


  • Susceptible to damage, especially if you are using shower curtains that are made of silk or satin
  • Mold and mildew will build up at the bottom part of the curtain
  • Will require cleaning at some point, so you have to allot time for it

Maintenance of Shower Curtains

As mentioned above, you will have to clean your shower curtains on a regular basis to prevent buildup of molds and other particles. If you don't do so, your shower curtain can become a cesspool of bacteria. Fortunately, there are easy ways to clean it.

General Cleaning Method

As discussed on our previous blog post, you can actually clean your shower curtain without taking it down. You'll just need a few things:

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Spray Bottle
  • Scrub Brush or Towel
  1. First thing you need to do is mix one-part white vinegar with four parts of water. Then, you need to place this solution into a spray bottle.
  2. Then, you can start spraying the solution onto the tub-facing side of the shower curtain. Afterwards, allow it to sit for a few minutes.
  3. The next thing you need to do is scrub the side with a scrubbing brush or a towel. Once you finish scrubbing it, you can then rinse away the rest of the solution using warm water from your shower head.

Keep in mind that when you are doing this, the shower curtain must be sitting inside the tub and not outside. Otherwise, water will have to clean up more than you must.

Removing Stains

If for some reason there are stains or mold in your shower curtain, the cleaning process is a bit different. You will need to gather a few things first. Here's what you'll need:

  • Bleach
  • Water
  • Towel
  1. The first thing you need to do is to make sure that your curtain can be used with a bleach solution. That leaves out curtains made of silk or satin since bleach can damage it.
  2. Then, mix one part bleach to one part water and place it onto the stain. Do this by dabbing the towel in the water and then onto the affected surface.
  3. After a few minutes, rinse it off with warm water.

You can just repeat this process how many times you want to remove stain that is deeply rooted. Just make sure not to leave the bleach on for more than a few minutes at a time. If you are using shower curtains made of silk or satin, you can remove the stain by doing it how you normally would with your clothes. You'd have to remove the curtains though and place them inside the washing machine.

Those are the things you need to know about the best shower curtains. Now let's move on to the next part which is the shower liner.

What is a shower liner?

Now let's get to the liner part of this shower curtain vs liner guide. The technical definition of a shower liner is a device that is installed above or below a shower floor. This device will help keep the water from flowing outside of the shower room. Technically, the shower liner that is installed below the floor is called a shower pan.

What is a shower liner for?

As you can probably tell, shower liners keep water inside the floor and make sure they go down the drain properly. Now if you install a shower pan liner as well, you are actually making sure that the water will not seep through the grout and crevices of the floor. This becomes especially useful if you have tiled floors in your shower room (which is normally the case). Tiled floors will always have gaps where water can seep through or be absorbed. This is why a shower pan liner can be very useful when installed. It will help prevent corrosion of the materials surrounding the shower floor. Aside from that, it also helps in preventing watermarks in the ceiling and the walls surrounding your bathroom. And lastly, it helps eliminate molds that will form in your shower floor or the surrounding area. In short, a shower liner and shower pan liner (which usually go together), will help keep your bathroom clean.

What are the materials for making a shower liner?

Shower liners are made of several materials. So you can't just generalize what they are made of. But usually, it consists of a PVC pan liner, wood, cement board, glue and screws. Now, if you are new to this, keep in mind that it's not something that you can buy from a store directly. You have to buy the materials first and have it installed by a plumber.

Pros and Cons of a Shower Liner


  • Will keep water from spilling outside of your shower floor
  • Prevents build up of water outside the shower area
  • Prevents corrosion of materials surrounding the shower area
  • Helps avoid build up of mold on the floor and the surrounding area


  • A bit pricey to have one installed
  • Not recommended to install it on your own because it will take a lot of work
  • If you are clumsy like us, it can be quite bothersome (kidding aside, some people do slip because of it)

Which one should you go for?

Now we are on to the final section of shower curtain vs liner guide and we'll talk about which one should you install in your bathroom. First and foremost, the most deciding factor when you are choosing to go for a shower curtain or liner will be your budget. As you can see, a shower curtain is a much more practical option. It costs less than 10% of the total cost of installing a liner. So if you are strapped for cash, there's no question really. Going for the best shower curtains is the answer. It's easier to install and will actually add more style to your bathroom (if you are in to that kind of thing). Plus, it does have that added factor of being able to provide privacy when showering. You laugh, but that is actually a big thing, especially if you share a bathroom with the people living in your house.

Now if you do have the budget, we recommend that you go for both really, anyway a couple of bucks for a shower curtain in addition to the total cost of the installation of a shower liner wouldn't really matter. This way, you can get the best of both worlds.


As we come to the conclusion of this shower curtain vs liner guide, we are able to understand what these two are for. Don't you feel like you are better for it? So let's wrap things up. A shower curtain is a practical choice if you just want to make sure you get the privacy of showering, as well as prevent water from splashing or leaking outside of your shower space or tub. Plus, it can be a good accessory to liven up your bathroom. A shower liner on the other hand, is a bigger commitment than a shower curtain. It is much more expensive than a shower curtain, but it does have a certain upside. It can do more than a shower curtain can. As for which one is the right fit for your bathroom, we'll leave it to your own preference. So that's it. We hope you've learned a thing or two in this shower curtain vs liner guide.

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