How To Clean A Plastic Shower Curtain & Mat


Grunge was cool in the 90s, not in your shower.  Just sayin’.

If you have a shower, there’s a really good chance you have a shower mat and shower curtain liner.  And, there’s a super good chance that you haven’t washed them (lately or ever).

These plastic shower accoutrements get quite dirty over time.  Let’s explore why:

  • They live in your shower, and your shower is a damp, warm place (mold and mildew <3 this).
  • They are situated among bacteria, hard water, soap scum and body oils
  • I could go on, but these are the two key reasons.

Showers are damp and warm and what a perfect environment for mold and mildew to cultivate.  Mold and mildew come in a variety of colours, but the most common ones you’ll see in the bathroom are pinky/orange and greyish/brown.  Mold and mildew are not indicative of a ‘dirty’ shower per se, but they don’t help in creating a clean looking shower.  And, your shower will become dirtier as the mold and mildew builds up (because you are not cleaning it away), but the initial onset of the stuff doesn’t mean you are showering in some sort of pig sty.  To be clear, soap scum is the true indicator of a dirty shower – oh, have you seen that video yet?

So here is the lowdown friends, the simple and easy way to clean your plastic shower curtain (and shower curtain liners) as well as plastic shower mats so that they stay clean and mildew-free.

What you’ll need:

  1. Laundry detergent
  2. 1 cup of baking soda
  3. Washing machine
  4.  2-3 towels (ideally light coloured or white).
  5. Optional: 10 drops of tea tree oil (which can kill mold and mildew).

Here’s What to do:

  1. Carefully remove the plastic shower curtains from hooks and peel up shower mat, take them to your washing machine (pretty easy so far).
  2. Place them in your washing machine, along with the 2 towels.  Add regular detergent and a cup of baking soda (and tea tree oil).
  3. Wash on the gentle cycle
  4. Re-hang the plastic shower curtain to air dry, and hang the shower mat to allow all the water to dry off.  The towels can go in the dryer.


So what just happened here?  Let’s re-cap:

The towels act as a buffer between the washing machine and the delicate plastic curtain.  They also assist in scrubbing away dirt and mildew during the washing process.  The baking soda is a mild abrasive that will further scrub away the moldy gunk and will also help deodorize any funk that’s been growing in the plastic.  Your total time involved here is under 10 minutes.  You will feel great in your much cleaner shower!

This can be done 4 times a year.  So often we think it’s easier to buy a new item, but hopefully this changes your mind.  All they need is a little TLC!

A couple of other tips to keep your plastic shower items clean and mold/mildew free:

  1. Drying the shower zone stat:  Once you are done your shower, remember to spray the tub, tiles and curtain with a daily shower spray (to inhibit mold growth) LINK HERE TO THE VIDEO, and to ventilate the space well to promote quick drying and moisture removal.
  2. Optimal positioning: My mother always requested that we peel up the shower mat after a shower and that we left the shower curtains closed so that they could properly dry.  This helped in reducing mold and mildew as well.  My mother is totally reading this and saying something like ‘see, I told you so’. Yes mom, you did.  You were right.
  3. Cleaning your sponges and bath/shower accessories: this is just extra info because I am sure some of you are curious!  Visit our post on 10 great uses for vinegar to learn how to do this!

Run along now and clean your plasticy shower parts and report back!


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Melissa Maker is the host of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube, editor-at-large of, and founder of Clean My Space (a well-known Toronto-based cleaning service). She's been knee-deep in the cleaning game since 2006. Follow Melissa: @MelissaMaker on Instagram, SnapChat & Twitter!


  1. O my gosh! I love how my shower curtain came out so clean looking, feeling and smelling! Thank you for all your help! My husband is a cleaning novice and I email your videos occasionally to him so he can learn the basics. You’re entertaining enough that he will actually watch them!

  2. My apartment collects tons of dust – daily. If I don’t clean the bathroom for a few days there’s already a pile of dust. Why is this and is there any way I can keep it up without having to clean it every few days??? Help

  3. Just tried on a clear liner from my son’s college apartment and it works like a charm. The shower curtain has been in a tiny no ventilated bathroom from Sept-Dec with 5 young men. Needless to say it was gross. I used an HE washer on delicate with a little clear “ALL” and baking soda with a bath mat and towel and the liner is clean. This saved me time and money. It’s a Christmas miracle

  4. Melissa, You are by far the BEST thing on the internet. And I know that you know that the Internet is a really BIG Place. You’re better than YOUTUBE, bigger than Rock-n- Roll, more useful than FACEBOOK and we are lucky to be able to access this great way to clear the crap in our spaces! PEACE!

  5. I cleaned my plastic shower curtain on the low cycle with cold water cause I wasn’t sure if hot water would melt it or not. It came looking almost clean, I’d say about 95% of the bottom came out spotless but there still big orange spots in certain places. Though I must say it looks cleaner.

    • Same thing happened to me. I have a blue stripped curtain add it took a lot of the strips & feels sticky. 😢

    • I’ve used this method, and it works fine on plastic liners (both clear and opaque) and on my beige fabric curtain. It did remove the pattern from another plastic curtain that had a green bamboo print on it. This may be because of the baking soda, or perhaps just the agitation in the washer, so from now on I’ll keep patterned plastic curtains out of the washer.

  6. I just put the liner in the washer with old white towels and Clorox. To keep the ceramic tiles from getting soap scum, use a liquid auto wax. Apply the wax, wait a minute or two, and then polish with a terry cloth towel.

  7. I like your videos. Would you like to do one on bathroom mats like the fluffy colored ones? Any extra tips would be great! Thank you for all your helpful blogs! 🙂

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