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Does the Shower Curtain Go Inside or Outside the Tub?

Shower curtains are an essential shower accessory. But besides choosing which style and design would go well with your shower or bathroom aesthetic, it’s equally critical to know how to use the shower curtain.

One of the hotly debated topics when it comes to them is: does the shower curtain go inside or outside of the tub?

There’s no simple answer to that question — it all depends on your view of shower curtains’ purpose. Ideally, you want the shower curtain inside the tub if you want to avoid getting water splashing all over the place. But if you have a shower curtain plus curtain liner setup, the liner can perform that function on the inside of the tub while you can let the shower curtain go outside.

bathtub with shower curtains

Shower Curtain vs. Shower Liner – What’s the Difference?

Shower curtains are mainly made of vinyl, polyester, cotton, or linen. Typically opaque, shower curtains come in different designs and are primarily used for privacy and decorative purposes.

Meanwhile, shower curtain liners are usually made of water-resistant vinyl or polyester meant to prevent water from going out of the shower or tub. Liners are usually thin and transparent, so you can see through them from inside or outside the tub.

Although it’s not necessary, you should consider having both shower curtains and a shower liner so you can avoid flooding the bathroom floor and maintain privacy while taking a bath.

Can You Use Only a Shower Curtain Liner?

You can use only a shower curtain liner, but this isn’t the ideal option if you consider privacy a priority. Unless you can find an opaque shower curtain liner, you won’t have much privacy from other people using the same bathroom as you.

Also, if you want to use a shower curtain liner without the shower curtain, find one that is thick and heavy enough to stay down. Otherwise, the curtain may blow into you and stick to your skin while you’re bathing.

Should the Shower Curtain Go Inside or Outside the Tub?

If your shower curtain is outside of the tub, the water will splash all over the place, flooding your bathroom floor. If you don’t want this to happen, consider setting the shower curtain inside the tub every time you bathe.

But this only applies to a single shower curtain setup. If you use a double shower curtain, meaning hanging two layers of shower curtains side by side, you can place one inside the tub and the other outside the tub.

But there’s also a disadvantage to placing your shower curtain inside the tub. You risk getting mold growing on the curtain. If the shower curtain goes inside the tub, it’s more likely to soak in moisture and soap scum. Moreover, hard water can lead to mineral buildup which results in the growth of many types of bacteria, mold, and mildew.

When this happens, not only will your shower curtain look gross, but it will pose a major health risk.

Should Shower Curtain Liners Go Inside or Outside the Tub?

The primary purpose of a curtain liner is to prevent the water from splashing out while you take a bath. Hence, it should be kept inside the tub or the shower base.

Many shower curtain liners will have some magnets attached to the bottom part, so they stick to the inside of the tub.

Nonetheless, if you’re taking a bath and you don’t have to worry about the constant flow of water flooding the floor, you can keep the shower liner outside the tub, so you don’t brush against it the entire time.

Which Side of the Shower Curtain Liner Should Face Out?

Shower curtain liners are pretty simple – they typically come in transparent or white with different thickness levels. But since their design is straightforward, it’s tough to tell which side of the shower liner should face out of the tub.

Typically, shower liners have a smooth and non-smooth surface. The smooth side should be inside the tub or facing the inside of the tub. It’s the ideal surface to deflect the water while you are bathing.

Although both sides of shower liners are functional and keep the water inside the tub instead of splashing out, it’d be best to avoid the rough side from possibly scratching your skin.

Should the Shower Curtain Touch the Floor?

Whether or not your shower curtain touches the floor is your personal preference. Shower curtains come in different lengths, although most are 72-inches long. This standard height for shower curtains leaves space between the curtain and the floor.

You can opt for longer ones, but you risk the bottom of the shower curtain collecting dirt or bacteria from the bathroom floor. It’s also much easier to clean and scrub the floor if there’s a considerable gap between the curtain and the floor.

How to Hang Shower Curtains to Keep Water from Splashing Outside

Ideally, you want to hang the shower curtain at a certain height where it still leaves about 6-inches of the curtain to hang inside the tub.

So, for instance, if you are using a standard height shower curtain, which is 72 inches, you should hang the curtain roughly 66 inches from the top of the tub. That 6-inch overlap of the tub and the shower curtain should be enough to guarantee that water doesn’t escape and flood your bathroom floor.

How to Secure Shower Curtain in Its Place

Shower curtains and liners are typically thin and lightweight. This means that there can be a billowing effect where your shower curtain blows around while you are bathing or taking a shower. Thankfully, you can avoid this by securing the curtain and liner and keeping them in place. Here’s how to do it:

  • Add magnets at the bottom of the liner or shower curtain, so they stick to the tub. But make sure that your tub has metal in it. Your magnetic shower curtain will be useless if you have a tub made of plastic or fiberglass.

  • Replace your standard shower curtain rod with a curved rod. It will keep the shower curtain away from the water, so it’s less likely to get drawn in and attack you.

  • Replace your old shower curtains with a weighted curtain. You can find shower curtains that already come with weights at the bottom, preventing them from blowing around.

  • Upgrade to a thicker and heavier curtain liner. They are less likely to blow around compared to inexpensive and lightweight liners.

Mandy Phillips

As a frequent contributor to top US magazines and publications in the home improvement niche, Mandy has been known for sharing her expertise on how to clean, organize, and decorate bathrooms.

Additionally, Mandy has immense experience offering lifestyle tips and tricks to her readers.

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At Loo Academy, our mission is to offer trusted advice for everything related to bathrooms (design ideas, plumbing advice, showering & bathing tips, remodeling guides, and more) — a place where we all spend a great deal of time.

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