Which Is The Cleaner Option: Shower Curtains Or Glass Doors?

Cleaning the bathroom is one of America's least favorite chores, according to a 2021 survey by YouGov. Unfortunately, bathrooms are also a hotspot for germs, and that includes your shower, so keeping your shower squeaky clean is pretty important. There are ways to make the process easier, like choosing shower products that stay clean for longer. One consideration is whether to use a shower curtain or a glass door. Both options have their supporters. Some people swear by glass for easy clean-up while others say a shower curtain is less work. 

Ultimately, the cleanest choice isn't as straightforward as it might seem. There are pros and cons to both shower curtains and glass doors, and the cleanest choice for you will depend not only on the product but also on how often you're able to keep up with maintenance. Glass doors are more sanitary but require more hands-on work to stay that way. While shower curtains are more prone to mold or mildew, they also can be easily washed. Here's what to know to help you make the best and most hygienic choice for your shower.

Glass doors aren't as simple as they look

Glass doors have many benefits, cleanliness-wise. Glass is a non-porous surface, so it doesn't absorb as much bacteria or moisture as cloth or plastic. That said, it's still vulnerable to build-up from hard water, soap, and grime, especially in the seams and tracks along the top and bottom of the doors, which may grow mold or mildew over time.

Glass doors require regular scrubbing to stay clean and clear. Experts recommend cleaning your glass doors every week, with monthly deeper cleans of the seams, tracks, and other harder-to-access nooks. You can also squeegee the glass after showering, or use a daily cleaning spray, to help prevent as much build-up in the first place. Something as simple as a rubbing alcohol solution can keep your doors streak-free.

So, while glass can be a more sanitary option than a curtain, it does often require some hands-on legwork to keep it in good shape. Aside from hygiene, unclean glass is also unsightly. If you were hoping for less scrubbing, it might not be the best choice for you.

Shower curtains have a major perk

Shower curtains are typically made of cloth or plastic. Compared to glass, these materials are more prone to accumulating not only soap scum and grime but also bacteria. Curtains take longer to dry off than glass, making them more vulnerable to mold or mildew.

The perk of a shower curtain, though, is that if you have a washing machine at home, you don't have to do any scrubbing yourself. Many shower curtains are washing-machine-friendly. You can simply take down the curtain, throw it in the wash on cool or warm (depending on the material), and hang it back up. You can safely sanitize a shower curtain at home with this method.

Unlike glass, experts recommend washing your shower curtain every other week or once a month. Thus, while they may be more prone to build-up than glass, shower curtains need less frequent cleaning and are easy to keep in good shape with minimal time and effort. If you're having trouble getting them clean for any reason, the curtain can also be replaced on a budget. As a bonus, rather than throwing it away, you can repurpose the old shower curtain for a DIY project.