I Just Discovered the $3 Secret to Cleaning a Grimy Shower Curtain Liner Quickly

So long, mold and mildew!

How to Clean a Shower Curtain Liner by Hand
Photo: Getty Images

I have a confession: for years I've been throwing away my moldy, mildewy, soap-scum-ridden shower curtain liner each time it got too grimy to live with. I knew that sending all of that plastic to the landfill was wrong, but living in an apartment without a washing machine meant lugging the bulky shower curtain liner to the laundromat, where the industrial machines threatened to melt and warp the plastic. While machine-washing a shower curtain always seemed like the only solution, I recently discovered that hand-washing a plastic shower curtain liner is much easier than I thought—especially after I tried using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for the job. Roll up your sleeves and grab some gloves, here's how to get your shower curtain liner sparkling in less than 20 minutes.

How to Quick-Clean a Shower Curtain Liner with a Magic Eraser

A couple of months ago, I was preparing for a surprise out-of-town guest (and putting these speed cleaning routines to good use), when it suddenly dawned on me that my shower was a disaster. For most last-minute cleanings, the shower is an easy fix: close the shower curtain and keep your fingers crossed that curious guests don't take a peek inside. But for an overnight guest, there was no avoiding it: my mildewy shower curtain liner wasn't going to fly. I was debating running out to buy a brand-new curtain when my sister suggested grabbing a Magic Eraser instead.

Skeptical but without any time to spare, I decided to give the Magic Eraser method a shot. After wetting the melamine foam sponge and wringing it out, I started scrubbing the curtain liner. To my surprise, a month's worth of grime started to disappear. Pulling the bottom of the curtain taut, I quickly scrubbed the surface, working in sections and making sure to target the mildew that collected in the folds. If your shower curtain is as gross as mine was, you'll have to stop after a few minutes to rinse out the sponge before you forge ahead.

Unlike a thorough grout cleaning, washing the curtain didn't require actually stepping into the tub, and in about 15 minutes, every trace of mold and mildew had magically disappeared. The super-fine, mildly abrasive surface of the sponge had done most of the work for me, so no serious elbow grease was required. I'll admit, this hands-on approach is a bit grosser than tossing the liner into the washing machine and letting the suds do the work, but the entire process was much less painstaking than I'd originally feared. Want to mitigate the ick-factor even further? Throw on a pair of gloves so you can avoid coming into contact with the mildewy mess.

For those who don't have a washing machine (or simply want to skip one wash cycle per month), the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser method gets the job done quickly. To reduce the environmental impact of the melamine sponge, keep the same sponge for multiple washes. It will eventually break down, so avoid twisting the sponge when you wring it out to keep it intact for as long as possible.

The Green Clean Method

If you have a little more time to devote to washing your shower curtain liner by hand, skip the disposable sponge and follow these steps instead.

What You'll Need:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Hard-bristle scrub brush (such as this one)

Follow These Steps:

1. Fill the spray bottle with equal parts white vinegar and water, then spritz the solution liberally onto the shower curtain liner.

2. Grab the scrub brush and get to work! Holding the bottom of the curtain taut or placing your hand behind the curtain for support will allow you to really scrub each section.

3. Thoroughly rinse the curtain, and check for areas you may have missed.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles