Shower Curtain Basics: How to Choose the Best and How to Care for

Are you planning a bathroom upgrade? You may consider adding some amazing features to refresh the bathroom. Installing or replacing a new shower curtain is the most economic way to achieve that effect. Those vibrant patterns will take your beautiful bathroom to the next level.

white ruffle shower curtain

Source: Amazon Reisen

What is a Shower Curtain?

A shower curtain also refers to a shower curtain liner, is one of the most important accessories for bathrooms with tubs or those that have wet and dry areas. It is not just a decoration item. It will also keep your floors dry while offering privacy.

Replacing the shower curtain is also one of the easiest ways to give your bathroom a new look. Shower curtains are available in a variety of classy designs with a variety of styles and patterns. The best shower curtains are the ones that keep mildew at bay, dry fast and look good. Here are a few other points to keep in mind when looking for a shower curtain.

What is the Difference between Shower Curtains and Shower Liners?

As the above definition indicated, the biggest two functions of the shower curtain are preventing water from splashing out the shower area and offering privacy. What are the actual commonality and differences between shower curtains and shower liners?


Both shower curtains and shower liners are hung on the shower curtain rod, are used in the bathroom. They are washable. People usually use them interchangeably.


Shower curtains are more likely decorative and offer privacy. Because they have various materials, patterns, and colors. The materials for shower curtains are polyester, cotton or cotton blends, linen, and satin. Shower curtains need better ventilation in the bathroom to keep the mildew at the bay.

Polyester shower curtains can be used without a liner. But other materials need to go with a liner because cotton and linen will get mildew after absorbing the moisture.

pink truck gnomes balloons rustic shower curtain

Source: Amazon ECOTOB

Shower liners are used to prevent water and moisture from splashing out. Shower liners have various solid colors to match the shower curtain patterns and bathroom style. But the most popular shower liners are transparent. They are made from waterproof materials, such as polyester, vinyl, and PEVA. Good quality shower liners should be non-toxic and will not emit any unpleasant odors.

It usually has weights and magnets on the corners to keep the drape in the shower. Some shower liners have pockets to organize your little stuff. Shower liners can be used without a shower curtain.

PEVA clear shower liner

Source: Amazon LiBa

What Shower Curtain Size Do I Need?

Before purchasing a shower curtain, you should measure the space first.

The standard size of a shower curtain is 72 by 72 inches. It should go over the tub and extend all the way to the floor. If your shower area is custom built then the standard size will not be suitable for you. In that case, you will need to have your curtain custom-fitted also, such as 70 by 72 inches, 72 by 84 inches, or 144 by 72 inches, and so on. The larger the shower curtain, the more hooks you need, the more durable rod is necessary.

What is the Best Shower Curtain Material?

Shower curtains are typically made from polyester, cotton or cotton blends, linen, and satin. The material you choose impacts the overall bathroom look, your mood of showering, and the dollars in your pocket.

Polyester shower cutains

Undoubtedly, the best material for shower curtains is a synthetic fabric, which is not only available in beautiful patterns and colors, but also is mildew resistant and dries very fast.

Whether it is transparent or with beautiful prints, synthetic curtains are easy to maintain because they are washable and resistant to mildew. Also, they are the least expensive hence they are good for daily use in the wet bathroom.

Cotton shower curtains

If you take the bathroom decor as the priority, cotton blends and pure cotton shower curtains have more options of patterns and colors to match your style. They are more expensive and more appropriate for less frequently used spaces. Because cotton will absorb moisture. To have the cotton shower curtain last longer, it’s better to hang a vinyl shower liner inside or choose those cotton shower curtains with a snap-in liner.

However, shower curtains treated with 3M Scotchgard protect your cotton curtains against moisture and minimize stains. This also translates to less maintenance.

Linen shower curtains

Just like cotton shower curtains, linen shower curtains also have beautiful patterns that spruce up your bathroom. And linen is very strong and dries faster than cotton. However, linen is a kind of absorbent fabric. The humidity in bathrooms will make linen shower curtains grow ugly mildew easily, even worse when the air circulation is poor in the bathroom.

Satin shower curtains

satin shower curtain

Source: Amazon Lush Decor

If you prefer the luster and smooth touch of silk, satin will be the ideal shower curtain fabric for you. Satin is made from synthetic polyester fiber. Hence, Satin shower curtains are not that expensive but provide a silky touch. More importantly, if you install a satin shower curtain in the bathroom, you don’t have to care for it too much. Because it is thin and dries fast. The only thing you need to take care of is that satin is not resistant to scratches and tearing.

What is the Best Shower Curtain Top Style?

Shower curtain tops are also available in different styles. There are mainly three types:

Tops with buttonholes, grommet holes: Shower curtains with grommets have less chance to rip. Especially for the children’s bathroom. The children will tug and wear the shower curtains. It requires you to buy the rings or hooks for hanging separately. Stainless steel or plastic has better resistance to rust for grommet holes, rings, and hooks.

shower curtain hooks

Source: Amazon Amazer

Tops without holes: You can buy some stainless steel or plastic clips to hang the shower curtain.

shower curtain clips

Source Amazon Ginbel

Top with split rings (built-in): It also refers to the no-hook need top. With such kinds of built-in shower curtains, you don’t need to buy hooks, rings, and clips. Also, you don’t need to remove the rod to hang the shower curtains. It is easy to slide them onto the shower rod.

shower curtain with built-in holes

How to Prevent My Shower Curtain and Liner from Blowing Away?

The shower curtain or liner might be blown away by the water splash or wind. To keep them drape in place, you can buy some magnetic weights and install them on the bottom corners of the shower curtain or liner. Or purchasing several suction cups or magnetic sealers can also stick the liner bottom to your tub.

shower curtain sealer

Source: Amazon Magna Lock

How to Properly Clean the Shower Curtains and Prevent Them from Mold?

If you want the shower curtains to last a long time, it is important to maintain them well. Because your shower curtain is constantly exposed to water, which causes bacteria and mildew. The ugly mold stains are not only dull the shower curtain but also cause a health problem. Because you can smell and touch the mold all the time when taking a shower. But how to prevent your shower curtain from mold and mildew?

1. Improve the air circulation in the bathroom.

After finishing the shower, spread the shower curtain open, turn on the exhaust fan, open the window and door to let the air blow out the humidity.

2. Select the right material.

Synthetical shower curtains don’t absorb water and dry fast. Moreover, they have vibrant patterns and cost less than cotton shower curtains.

If your bathroom has bad air circulation, you can find some liner or shower curtain indicating the material is resistant to bacteria and mildew.

3. Use a shower liner inside.

Shower liners are waterproof, will protect the cotton or linen shower curtain from water splashing. Liners can dry quickly.

4. Cut off the excess.

Hang the shower curtain, if the bottom will touch the floor, you need to reposition the shower curtain rod higher. If it is too long, then cut off the excess fabric. Make the shower curtain exactly match the size of the bathtub. Don’t allow any folds to trap water. Better fit, better ventilation.

5. Wash the shower curtain regularly.

Wash the shower curtain at least once a month. It is an effective way to keep it fresh and free from mold.

Read the label on the shower curtain before handwashing it or throwing it into the washing machine. Most fabric curtains can be machine washed with cold water and mild detergent.

If there are some stubborn stains, you need to soak them with the stain removal solutions, and slightly scrub them with a brush. Also, pay attention to whether the material can be brushed or scrubbed.

6. Rotate your shower curtains by holidays or months.

This is the best way to make sure you always have a fresh look in the bathroom. Shower curtains are also beautiful home decorations for holidays. Some may prefer having various holiday shower curtains. You can take down the past holiday curtain and hang a new one several days before the next holiday. Then, wash and dry the old one, store it properly for the new year.

A shower curtain can brighten up your bathroom instantly. Choosing the best shower curtain material and size will achieve the effect without spending extra. Moreover, it saves you from getting annoyed by the mildew smell and stains.

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