Here's How Often You Should Really Replace Your Shower Curtain

There are a lot of germy places in the bathroom, and your shower curtain is no exception. Sanitizing the bathroom is a top priority on every cleaning to-do list, but most people focus on cleaning the toilet or removing the ring around the bathtub. The means that the shower curtain often gets overlooked until it starts looking obviously dingy. But even though the cover is plastic, mold and bacteria can still thrive on its moist surface — especially in between the folds of the curtain. In fact, a 2018 study by Safe Home found that there was 60 times more bacteria on a shower curtain than a toilet seat, which is pretty distressing. 

So how often should you replace your shower curtain in order to keep your bathroom sanitary? The answer is a little complicated, because it all depends on your bathroom conditions. If you have great ventilation and wash both the liner and curtain often, then you can get away with longer periods between swap-outs. But there is still a general time frame you should follow when it comes to buying a new shower curtain and replacing the one that you have.

When to buy a new shower curtain

Most people have two shower curtains: the decorative cloth one outside of the tub and the plastic liner that goes inside  the tub. The Merry Maids cleaning service recommends cleaning the plastic liner — which comes into direct contact with water and scum buildup — at least one time each month. While you can hand wash the liner with baking soda, you can also throw it into the laundry machine without it getting ruined. You also need to wash plastic liners even if their original packaging labeled them as mold-resistant or scum-proof. "Some liners are billed as 'mold-resistant' [but] they never really are," cleaning expert Jolie Kerr told HuffPost.

As for cloth shower curtains, Jill Sandy, a home renovator, told BestLife that they need to be washed even more frequently, because cotton absorbs mold and mildew much easier than plastic does. If you regularly wash both the liner and the shower curtain, then you should be able to replace your shower curtain only about once a year (via VCNY Home.) As long as you make sure to throw your liners into the washing machine the next time you're doing laundry, you won't have to replace your curtains for a full 12 months. Your wallet will thank you, and you will be on your way to a great cleaning routine in your bathroom without leaving anything out.