Shower Curtain vs Liner

By The Shower Drapes | Shower Curtain Tips & Tricks

Jun 06
Shower Curtain vs Liner

Shower Curtain Vs Liner: Guide To Plastic Shower Liner Vs Shower Curtain

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.

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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.

Are you trying to decide between a shower curtain or a liner? With so many options available, it can be hard to know which is the best choice for your bathroom. Both shower curtains and liners have distinct features that make them great choices for any bathroom. We will explore the shower curtain vs liner comparison in detail, the various types of materials available, the importance of using a liner, how to choose the right shower curtain and liner, and tips for cleaning and maintaining them, which option is right for you, and provide helpful tips on how to get started with either one. Whether you're outfitting a new property or renovating an existing space, understanding all of your options regarding curtains vs liners will ensure that you'll make the most informed decision possible when it comes time to shop!

What Is The Difference Between A Shower Curtain And A Liner?

Shower Curtain

A shower curtain is a decorative and waterproof barrier that hangs from a shower rod to prevent water from splashing onto the bathroom floor. It comes in various materials such as cotton, polyester, and vinyl, each offering different benefits and aesthetics.


A shower liner, on the other hand, is a waterproof barrier that is placed inside the shower area to provide an additional layer of protection. It is typically made of vinyl or plastic and is designed to prevent water from seeping through the curtain and onto the bathroom floor.

Do I need both a shower curtain and a liner?

While it is not absolutely necessary to have both a shower curtain and a liner, it is highly recommended for a complete shower setup. The shower curtain adds a decorative touch to the bathroom and creates a sense of privacy, while the liner serves as a practical barrier to keep water contained within the shower area.

What Are The Different Types Of Shower Curtain Materials?

Fabric Shower Curtain:

A fabric shower curtain is made from materials such as cotton or polyester. It offers a more luxurious and decorative look and is available in a wide range of patterns and colors. Fabric shower curtains are generally machine washable and can be easily maintained.

Vinyl Shower Curtain:

Vinyl shower curtains are made from a synthetic material that is waterproof. They are durable, easy to clean, and resistant to mold and mildew. Vinyl shower curtains often come in solid colors or with simple patterns.

Plastic Shower Curtain:

A plastic shower curtain is similar to a vinyl curtain but is made from a different type of plastic. It is also waterproof, easy to clean, and resistant to mold and mildew. Plastic shower curtains are available in various colors and designs.

Do I Need A Liner With A Shower Curtain?

Why do I need a shower curtain liner?

A shower curtain liner is essential for preventing water from seeping through the curtain and onto the bathroom floor. It acts as an extra layer of protection and helps to keep the shower area clean and dry. Additionally, a liner can prolong the lifespan of the curtain by preventing mold and mildew growth.

Can I use a shower curtain without a liner?

While it is possible to use a shower curtain without a liner, it is not recommended. Without a liner, there is a higher risk of water leakage and damage to the bathroom floor. The curtain alone may not provide adequate protection or prevent mold and mildew growth.

What are the benefits of using a shower curtain liner?

Using a shower curtain liner offers several benefits. It helps to keep water contained within the shower area, preventing it from splashing onto the bathroom floor. This helps to maintain cleanliness and prevent slips. Additionally, a liner provides an extra layer of waterproofing, protecting the curtain and prolonging its lifespan. It also helps to prevent the growth of mold and mildew, which can be harmful to both the curtain and your health.

How To Choose The Right Shower Curtain And Liner?

What factors should I consider when choosing a shower curtain?

When choosing a shower curtain, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, consider the material - fabric, vinyl, or plastic - based on your preferences and budget. Think about the design and color that will complement your bathroom decor. It is also important to ensure that the curtain is the right size for your shower space, providing adequate coverage and preventing water from escaping.

What should I look for in a shower curtain liner?

When selecting a shower curtain liner, opt for a high-quality material such as vinyl or plastic. Look for liners that are mold and mildew resistant and easy to clean. Consider whether you want a clear or opaque liner, depending on your preference for privacy. It is also crucial to choose a liner that is the appropriate size for your shower curtain and installation area.

Can I use a fabric shower liner with a vinyl or plastic shower curtain?

Yes, you can use a fabric shower liner with a vinyl or plastic shower curtain. The fabric liner will provide an additional layer of protection while adding a touch of luxury to your shower setup. Make sure to choose a fabric liner that is waterproof and machine washable for easy maintenance.

How To Clean And Maintain Shower Curtains And Liners?

How to clean a fabric shower curtain?

For fabric shower curtains, it is best to check the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Many fabric curtains can be machine washed on a gentle cycle using a mild detergent. Hang or lay flat to dry to avoid shrinking or wrinkling. Regular washing and proper drying can help prevent mold and mildew growth.

How to clean a vinyl or plastic shower curtain?

Vinyl or plastic shower curtains are easy to clean. Most can be wiped clean with a damp cloth and mild soap. For tougher stains or mildew, you can scrub the curtain with a mixture of baking soda and water or use a mildew cleaner. Rinse thoroughly and hang to dry.

How often should I replace my shower curtain or liner?

The frequency of replacing shower curtains and liners depends on several factors, including their quality and how well they are maintained. On average, shower curtains should be replaced every 6 to 12 months, while liners may need to be replaced more frequently, every 3 to 6 months, or when signs of wear and tear, mold, or mildew become apparent.


Hopefully, now you understand what shower curtain vs liner is all about. It is important to understand the difference between a shower curtain and a shower liner and their roles in protecting your bathroom floor from getting wet. There are various materials used for both curtains and liners such as polyester, plastic, linen, and vinyl, so you can choose one that fits your style. Despite the fact that there are both curtains and liners available, it may be better for some people to opt out of using a shower curtain altogether. In the end, when deciding which type of bath accessory to use in the bathroom, taking measurements beforehand and considering factors such as water pressure can make all the difference in creating an efficient and comfortable space where you can enjoy using your shower!

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Do I Need A Shower Liner If I Have A Shower Curtain?

Yes, it is recommended to use a shower liner in addition to a shower curtain. The liner acts as a waterproof barrier, preventing water from seeping through the curtain and onto the bathroom floor.

Can I Use A Shower Curtain Without A Liner?

While it is possible to use a shower curtain without a liner, it is not recommended. Without a liner, the curtain alone may not be able to effectively prevent water from splashing out of the shower or bathtub.

What Are Shower Liners Made Of?

Shower liners are typically made of vinyl or plastic materials that are waterproof and easy to clean. Some liners are also made of fabric, such as polyester or cotton, which offer a more decorative alternative to vinyl or plastic liners.

What Are The Best Materials For Shower Curtains And Liners?

The best material for a shower curtain or liner depends on personal preference. Vinyl and plastic liners are popular choices for their waterproof properties, while fabric options like polyester and cotton shower curtains offer a softer and more luxurious feel.

How Do I Choose The Right Size Shower Curtain Or Liner?

To choose the right size shower curtain or liner, measure the width and length of your shower or tub. Standard shower curtains and liners are typically 72 inches wide and 72 inches long, but there are also options available in different sizes to fit larger or smaller showers.

Can Shower Liners Be Used With Hookless Shower Curtains?

Yes, shower liners can be used with hookless shower curtains. Hookless curtains have built-in grommets or hooks that allow the curtain to be easily attached and removed from a curtain rod, while the liner can be attached separately using hooks or magnets.

How Do Shower Liners And Curtains Protect The Shower Base?

Shower liners and curtains help to protect the shower base from water damage and stains. The liner acts as a waterproof barrier, while the curtain prevents water from splashing out and onto the floor, reducing the risk of moisture reaching the base.

Are Fabric Shower Curtain Liners Waterproof?

Fabric shower curtain liners are typically water-resistant but may not be completely waterproof. It is recommended to choose a liner made of vinyl or plastic for a higher level of waterproofing.

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