Do Shower Curtains Need Liners?


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Shower curtains are not just functional bathroom accessories; they can also add some visual flair to your bathroom. Buying and installing one is pretty simple and the number of design options out there is simply staggering. However, one of the most common questions regarding shower curtains is with shower liners. Does a shower curtain require a liner? Should you get a liner for your shower curtain, or can you skip that part entirely? 

While it is not strictly mandatory, we highly recommend that you do install a shower curtain liner. The reason for this is that liners will effectively help protect your curtain from mold buildup due to moisture. Mold and mildew prevention also improves the overall hygienic aspect of the curtain as well as your bathroom. 

Now, you don’t have to take our word for whether to get a liner or not, but we will give you excellent points that will support our recommendation about this shower curtain accessory. First, let us go through all the essential aspects of shower curtains and liners to provide you with the big picture. 

Advantages of Using a Shower Curtain Liner

The most significant advantage of utilizing a shower curtain liner is its mold and mildew buildup protection. In addition, the liner can effectively protect the curtain from water splashes and soap, which can affect the integrity of the material in the long run. Fortunately, the curtain liner is not a ‘one-trick pony as it also comes with several other advantages. 

Liners Enhance Shower Curtain Flexibility

Shower curtain liners are generally cheap and easy to replace if needed. As the liner helps prevent mold buildup on the shower curtain, this also means that it helps prolong the shelf life of the curtain. A shower curtain with a liner is also more aesthetically pleasing than one without a liner. 

Liners Come in Different Designs and Materials

Bathroom detail. Vanity with dual sink and white cabinets

Shower curtain liners also come in a wide variety of designs to ensure that they will accentuate whatever bathroom design you are going for. There are dozens of liners out there made from different materials and designs, some of which might be slightly more expensive than the other. 

If you are worried that a liner will clash with your shower curtain’s design, don’t. There are literally hundreds out there to choose from, and you are guaranteed you will find one that will fit nicely into your preferred bathroom décor. 

Better Privacy

If your shower curtain is made from a relatively thin and almost see-through fabric, then you might be lacking a bit in the privacy department. Installing a liner can help give you better privacy. An added layer of material will undoubtedly further add another visual wall between the interior shower stall and the rest of the bathroom. 

Protects from Water Damage

Since the shower curtain liner’s primary function is to prevent water from seeping outside the shower or bathtub, it goes without saying that liners are made from waterproof material. As a result, liners help protect the shower curtain from water damage and mold buildup and the surrounding areas, including the tiles and wall. 

Shower Curtain Liner Materials

The shower curtain liner utilizes different materials. Understanding the pros and cons of these materials can help you decide what type of liner is best suited for your bathroom. Below are the most common materials used in making shower curtain liners. 

Vinyl or PVC

The most common type of shower curtain liners out there is typically made from vinyl or PVC. This material is relatively cheap and provides more than adequate protection for your shower curtain. It is also quite common to find PVC liners in various designs. Take note that PVC liners come in a range of thickness, with the thinnest providing the least amount of protection, so keep that in mind. 

Pros:

  • Extremely cheap. 
  • Hundreds of designs are available. 
  • More than adequate protection from water damage.

Cons:

  • It can have a strong chemical odor out of the box. 
  • PVC liners with thinner materials are cheaper but also provide the least quality. 

Fabric

Choose the right shower curtain rod

Fabric shower curtain liners are typically made from cotton, polyester, or nylon. These types of shower curtain materials offer excellent waterproof capabilities. In addition, fabric liners can be washed and reused, unlike PVC liners which are disposable. 

Pros:

  • Fabric shower curtain liners are washable.
  • Excellent water repellent material. 

Cons:

  • Not wholly mold and mildew resistant. 
  • Washing is mandatory to prevent mold buildup.

PEVA and EVA

Polyethylene vinyl acetate (PEVA) and ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) are eco-friendly alternatives to PVC and fabric-type shower curtain liners. Besides being waterproof, PEVA and EVA curtain liners feature antimicrobial properties and are 100% chlorine-free, so you don’t need to worry about that chemical smell. 

Pros:

  • Made from eco-friendly material. 
  • It comes with antimicrobial properties that give it longer shelf life.
  • Chlorine-free construction.

Cons:

  • More expensive than your standard shower curtain liner.

Those three types of curtain liner materials are the ones you will encounter in the market. Hopefully, our description of the three will help you decide which one to choose. 

Shower Curtain Liner Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

When it comes to shower curtain liner maintenance, our recommendation is to clean once a week. This way, you can stop any mold and mildew buildup before they can even get the chance to seep into the liner truly. Of course, this primarily applies to fabric, PEVA, and EVA liners – but PVC liners can also be cleaned, but do take extra care when handling the thinner PVC curtain liners. 

In cases where the liner is made from cotton or nylon, the chances that it is washing machine safe are pretty good. Check the label to see if your shower curtain liner is indeed machine washable. To further help protect your shower curtain and liner from mold buildup, make a habit of mopping up any puddle of water surrounding the shower curtain. 

After showering or taking a bath, we advise you to spread the curtain liner for maximum air ventilation fully. Opening the window or exhaust fan should also help properly dry the liner and prevent mildew from forming. 

As for what type of cleaning material you should use, we recommend the DIY method of using water, bleach, baking soda, and white vinegar solution. You can also use a non-toxic dish or natural dish soap. For removing mold and mildew, use a brush and gently scrub it away. Afterward, spray a cleaning solution and let it sit for about an hour before rinsing.