Shower Curtain Solutions: Cleaning Methods Put to the Test

Remember that shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho? Think that's scary? The amount of mold and mildew built up on a neglected shower curtain can be much more frightening.

Americans spend about $200 million on shower cleaners each year, according to Nielsen research group. But can they hold up to a scum-mold-mildew-covered shower curtain? Let's find out! In our next installment of testing old versus new cleaning techniques, we tackle the task of moldy shower curtains.
The Problem: You're in the shower lathering your hair with sweet smelling shampoo when you catch a glimpse of your shower curtain -- it's black and grimy. Ick!
Old Solution: I used to try to clean my shower curtain simply by soaking it in the bathtub with a bit of bleach. That did the trick, but my small bathroom reeked of the potent chemical for days. That can't be good for the lungs.

My friend's grandmother recommended a different approach: She suggested that I throw my liner in with the towels the next time I washed them. She told me to add a half cup of bleach to warm water (luckily my towels are white, so this was OK) and a quarter cup of laundry detergent. Then run your washer for a few minutes before loading. When the cycle is complete, toss them in the dryer on the lowest temp setting for about 10 minutes before hanging to fully dry.
This worked like a charm for my shower curtain -- though my friend said the trick fails with cheaper liners, which tend to tear too easily when put through a wash cycle.

New Solution: X-14 Mildew Stain Remover.  The brand's maker claims that this powerful spray cleaner "removes tough soap scum" without scrubbing. Being that I prefer my cleaning to be as low-maintenance as possible, I jumped on this product pretty quickly.

Sadly, though, my laissez-faire attitude toward cleaning left far too tough of a job for X-14 to tackle. Alas, there I was scrub, scrub, scrubbing. Perhaps with fewer layers of grime to remove, the X-14 could stand up to the test better.

The Verdict: Opt for the bleach solution, but be sure to invest in a good shower liner that can stand to be a bit beat up through a washing-machine cycle. You have to wash your bath towels anyway, so why not make it easy on you and toss the liner in with it. No need for spray and scrubbing.
See Cleaning With Vinegar and 10 Ways to Flu-Proof Your Home for more cleaning tips!
Photo Credit: Alamy

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