Which Side Of A Shower Curtain Liner Faces Out?


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Warm tones bathroom interior. Vanity cabinet with drawers, shower curtain and toilet.

Shower liners offer bathroom floors an extra layer of protection from water stains, mold, and mildew. If this is your first time buying and installing one in your shower, you might get confused about which side faces which direction. It is vital that you install the shower curtain liner properly to ensure that it will do its job effectively. So, which side of the shower curtain liner faces outward?

Determining which side of the shower liner faces is pretty straightforward. First, touch the surface of the liner. The finished, glossy side of the liner should face the inside of the shower and the rough side should face out towards the shower curtain. Also, you can check which side has the seams or the label as these indicate that it faces inwards. 

As you can see, telling which side a shower curtain liner should face is as simple as 1-2-3. Now, let us answer the most commonly asked questions regarding shower curtain liners, shall we?

Is a Shower Curtain Liner Truly Necessary?

Bathroom with tile floor, ivory wall. Brown wood cabinets and colorful curtains.

Yes, it is recommended that you install a shower liner – especially if you have a fabric shower curtain in your bathroom. Fabric shower curtains can absorb and retain water, leading to mold and mildew buildup if not adequately dried. Having a shower curtain liner and shower curtain will protect the curtain and add a bit more privacy and help prevent mold and mildew buildup in your bathroom. 

Should You Go with Plastic or Fabric Shower Liners?

If you are looking at a selection of shower liners in your local home improvement store, you might come across two different variations: plastic and fabric liners. So, how do you choose between the two and which one offers the better performance? Well, both have their advantages and disadvantages, which we will be pointing out down below. 

  • Plastic Shower Liners

Folded Shower curtain liner

When it comes to plastic shower liners, you will notice that it is considerably more affordable than fabric-based liners. In addition, to be cheaper, plastic shower liners are readily available in all home décor and improvement stores. Plastic shower liners are also more resistant to mold and mildew. 

The downside with plastic shower liners is that they typically do not last long very long. So expect to replace your plastic shower liner at least two times a year. In terms of aesthetics, plastic shower liners also look a bit cheap. 

  • Fabric Shower Liners

IKEA shower curtain (45862859051)
Image Credit: Paulo O from Halifax, Canada via Creative Commons

While fabric shower liners are a bit more expensive than their plastic counterpart, the extra bucks do come with several advantages. Firstly, fabric liners come with a better aesthetic look. So if you want something classy, fabric shower liners are the way to go. 

Next, fabric shower liners deliver a longer lifespan than plastic, and it is also possible to clean fabric liners via a washing machine, which extends their longevity even more. That said, fabric shower curtain liners are more high-maintenance than replaceable and cheap plastic liners. 

All in all, both plastic and fabric shower liners will get the job done as long as you install them correctly and adequately place each side in its corresponding direction. 

What Type of Shower Curtain Liners Do Hotels Use?

Now, if you need a little bit of recommendation on the best types of shower curtains out there, where better to gather information than with hotels? Hotel bathrooms will typically use one of these eight shower curtain liner materials:

  • Polyester
  • Cotton
  • Cotton Blend
  • Acrylic
  • Nylon
  • Ethylene Vinyl Acetate
  • High-Density Polyethylene
  • Microfiber

Polyester is the most affordable shower curtain liner in the market, while high-density polyethylene and microfiber are the more expensive versions. 

Which Shower Curtain Liner Type is the Best?

Curved Shower Road & Windowed Shower Curtain

Since the essential factors in a shower liner should be its water, mold, and mildew resistance, along with durability and low maintenance – a plastic shower liner is the most practical choice. We highly recommend you go with plastic shower liners with either weights or magnets at the bottom to improve their overall ability to prevent water spills to the bathroom floor. A weighted or magnetic base should also control the shower liner from sticking to your body as you bathe. 

PEVA Shower Curtain Liners and Why You Should Choose It Over Standard Plastic Curtain Liners

Now, while we recommend you go with plastic or polyethylene shower curtain liners, we advise you not to go with just your standard plastic version. A common issue with plastic shower curtain liners is the chemicals used in their development. These chemicals can cause health risks down the line. In addition, some plastic liners might also produce noxious odors.

We recommend you choose plastic shower curtain liners made from PEVA (Polyethylene Vinyl Acetate) and EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) to avoid these issues altogether. PEVA and EVA plastic offer the same durability and low maintenance as standard plastic liners while also containing significantly fewer VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) which can be dangerous to one’s health. 

Additionally, PEVA and EVA are a material with a higher level of anti-microbial properties and are considered an eco-friendlier alternative to standard polyethylene-based liners. Please take note that PEVA and EVA-based shower curtain liners are slightly more expensive, but that is a fair trade for the added health safety that it provides. 

How Long Should a Shower Curtain Liner Be?

The standard shower curtain length is about 72-inches. This length is based on the standard ceiling height of bathrooms. However, if you have a more luxuriously large bathroom at home, you might need something longer. Some shower curtains come in sizes that reach up to 84-inches long. 

It is highly advisable to place them when installing shower curtains so that the curtain and liner do not touch the bathroom floor. Having your shower curtain liner touching the base makes it more vulnerable to mold and mildew stains as water accumulates at the bottom. 

Additionally, giving your shower curtain and liner a few inches of space from the floor makes cleaning your bathroom more accessible.

When Do You Need to Replace Your Shower Liner?

It is recommended to replace plastic shower liners every six months. Fabric shower curtain liners can last significantly longer and even more with proper maintenance. Six months is typically the standard lifespan of plastic shower liners, even with care. 

Now, you can decide not to throw away your old plastic shower liners immediately. Instead, we advocate you recycle or reuse it as a way to help protect the environment. Here are other ways you can use your old plastic shower liners:

  • Make them into tote bags.
  • Use them as waterproof bed liners for children.
  • You can use them as dividers (e.g., stage divider).
  • You can use them as additional outdoor waterproof coverings.

If your shower curtain liner only shows some slight wear and tear or fading, you do not need to throw it away immediately. As you can see from the above examples, used shower liners still have some uses. 

Tips for Cleaning Shower Curtain Liner

Cleaning shower liners are a pretty simple affair. You can wash it by hand or via a washing machine. Our recommended cleaning solution to use can be made with everyday household products. Take your liners and place them in a basin or the washing machine filled with warm water mixed with ½ cup laundry detergent and ½ cup baking soda. Wash and rinse, as usual, then hang and let it dry properly.

Final Thoughts

Knowing where the shower curtain liner should face is crucial to ensure it performs its functions. It is pretty easy to determine which direction each side of the curtain liner should face. As you can see from our guide above, you can even do it with your eyes closed. Literally!