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Spring Cleaning Day 15: Launder the Shower Curtain and Bath Mats

A sunny bathroom with a fresh clean shower curtain and new bath mat.
Karen Culp/Shutterstock

We’re wrapping up the bathroom segment of our Spring Cleaning Challenge and the last stop is laundering the shower curtain, shower liner, and bath mats.

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Freshening up your curtain and bath mats at the end of the cleaning cycle gives the bathroom an extra fresh feel—and you don’t have to double back and reclean them at the end.

Most people know you can toss your bath mats into the laundry, but you can also toss your shower curtain (and liner. too!) without any issues.

What You Need

When you launder your shower curtain, liner, and bath mats you’ll want the following things on hand:

In addition to having those items on hand, you’ll also want a willingness to give up on old or soiled curtains and mats—we’ll show you how to launder them but sometimes it’s worth letting them go and starting fresh.

How to Launder Your Shower Curtain, Liner, and Bath Mats

It’s about as simple as tossing them all in the washing machine, but there are a few finer points to make sure things come out clean and not mangled or melted.

  1. Load your washing machine with the shower curtain, liner, and bath mats.
  2. Add your laundry detergent (using less than you normally would for a full load of clothing).
  3. Either fill your fabric softener dispenser with white vinegar or, for top-loading washers, add a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.
  4. For curtains and liners with significant mildewing, consider laundering separately with bleach or color-safe bleach, as appropriate, to kill the mildew.
  5. Liners and curtains should not be put in the dryer—especially plastic liners as they will melt and pose a significant fire hazard. Simply hang the curtain and liner back up and it will dry in place.
  6. Bath mats can be run through the dryer but doing so typically significantly shortens the life of their non-slip rubber backing so hanging them to dry is preferred.

Replace the Curtain, Liner, or Mats as Needed

If your shower curtain or liner is looking gnarly despite laundering (or so gnarly you don’t even want to attempt to revive it via laundering) there’s no reason to sweat it. Replacements are dirt cheap and it’s fine to throw in the proverbial towel and simply replace a rust-stained or mildew-riddled liner and/or curtain.

For around $10, you can replace the liner with either a clear plastic one or a fabric one.

Amazer Clear Shower Liner

This heavy-gauge plastic liner is so inexpensive it doesn't make a lot of sense struggling to save your older liner.

While lots of people have a fondness for patterned shower curtains, we say, hey, if you want to rock a simple solid color shower “liner” as your only curtain without a fancy outer layer, that’s fine. Go for the classic hotel look with a single pure white and machine-washable curtain.

N&Y Homes Fabric Shower Curtain Liner

It's simple, durable, and easy machine-washable.

On the bath mat side of things, there are a million and one options to choose from, but we’re partial to the Gorilla Grip chenille bath mats. The backing is TP rubber instead of PVC, and it will never crumble apart into hard rubbery dust after washing like cheaper bath mat backing will. We’ve had several of these bath mats for years and while, eventually, mechanical wear in the washing machine will cause small tears in the backing, the rubber is still as soft and flexible as it was the day we bought them.

Gorilla Grip Chenille Bath Mat

They're practically indestructible and highly absorbent.

We’ve never been bothered by it, but some people don’t like that the Gorilla Grip chenille mats aren’t padded. The thick little chenille fingers do offer a little padding but, in fairness, it does feel like walking on a carpet that has no padding underlayment. If you want a little more warm and smoosh beneath your feet, Gorilla Grip has a plush memory foam option, too.

Gorilla Grip Plush Memory Foam Bath Mat

Want a bath mat with a memory-foam-slipper feel? This is it.


That’s it! We’re done with the bathroom and ready to relax for the weekend. We don’t know about you, but we think the only appropriate response to cleaning the entire bathroom from top to bottom is to enjoy it with a long hot soak in the tub or a shower-thoughts-worthy steamy shower.

As always, you can follow along on our Spring Clean Challenge landing page or get the lessons, along with all our other great content, delivered right to your inbox!

Jason Fitzpatrick Jason Fitzpatrick
Jason Fitzpatrick is the Editor in Chief of LifeSavvy. He has over a decade of experience in publishing and has authored thousands of articles at LifeSavvy, Review Geek, How-To Geek, and Lifehacker. Read Full Bio »

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