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How to Choose the Best Material for a Shower Curtain Liner

Your shower curtain liner is more than just a plastic afterthought.

It’s the silent guardian of your bathroom, protecting your floors, walls, and even your precious shower curtain itself.

But with a variety of shower curtain liner materials available, how do you pick the best one for your needs?

This comprehensive guide explores the pros and cons of different shower curtain liner materials, helping you find the one that delivers both functionality and comfort.

5 Key Questions to Consider When Selecting a Shower Curtain Liner

  1. How safe will be your shower liners in terms of toxicity and usability?

  1. What’s the best shower curtain liner for different budgets?

  1. How often should you clean your shower liner? For example, repeated washings may weaken certain liner materials.

  1. What kind of shower curtain will the liner be paired with?

  1. How easy will it be to replace your shower curtain liner?

Let’s go through all available shower curtain liner options and answer all these questions for you.

What Types of Shower Curtain Liners Are Out There?

There are three main groups of shower curtain liner materials: fabric, vinyl and plastic, and PEVA/EVA.

Fabric-based liners are made out of organic materials and are slightly more expensive than other materials.

Fabric liners can be regularly washed without losing their texture, offer a warm feel, and come in many variations to match various bathroom decors.

Fabric shower curtain liners include:

  • Nylon
  • Cotton
  • Hemp
  • Polyester
  • Polyester microfiber
  • Linen

Vinyl is a type of plastic, cheap and widespread material.

Depending on the quality, vinyl shower curtain liners vary in characteristics such as durability, longevity, aesthetics, and toxicity.

Some vinyl-based curtain liners are more preferable to others.

For example, PVC vinyl liners are highly toxic and are not recommended for use in your shower.

PEVA and EVA are forms of enhanced vinyl, so PEVA/EVA shower curtain liners are superior to traditional vinyl liners in almost every aspect.

These liners are eco-friendly, contain less volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chlorine-free, and antimicrobic.

However, they are a bit more expensive than traditional vinyl-based PVC shower liners.

Fun fact: adding weights to the liners or buying shower curtain liners with magnets prevents the shower curtain from attacking you (or keeps the shower curtain from blowing in.)

Let’s go through every shower curtain liner material in detail.

Vinyl PVC Shower Curtain Liner

Vinyl curtain liners are eco-friendly and effective in offering a barrier in the bathroom. 

Besides being safe, they also resist mold and mildew growth while enhancing the look of your bathroom.

The main drawback of vinyl PVC shower curtain liners is that they may have an unpleasant odor.

Cleaning vinyl shower curtain liners is as easy as wiping them with a cloth. 

They are affordable, and a good option when looking for easy to install, and their wide variety ensures you find something that matches your home’s décor.

However, they are not a great choice because they release toxic chemicals. 

Our Verdict

We DON’T RECOMMEND vinyl PVC shower curtain liners. Avoid them at all costs!

Here’s Why You Should Throw Out Your PVC Shower Curtain Liner!

Most people do not know that some of the things they use daily are a potential health threat.

One of the most common synthetic plastic used in making shower curtain liners is PVC. 

It is a dangerous and toxic material.

This is due to the chemicals used in making it, and they include vinyl chloride, which is derived from petroleum.

The chemical is a human carcinogen, according to the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.

It gets into the body through inhalation and spreads to various parts of the body.

It has numerous adverse effects on your health, including damage of the nervous system, vomiting, liver damage, lung and brain tumors, dizziness, and visual disturbances.

Consumers need to watch out and understand what they use at home.

A PVC curtain liner is hazardous but remains a common feature in most bathrooms.

That new smell that you get from your curtain liners comes from the pollutants in polyvinyl chloride, and it’s extremely toxic.

PEVA/EVA Shower Curtain Liner

PEVA/EVA is a type of non-chlorinated vinyl and used instead of PVC.

PEVA means polyethylene vinyl acetate, while EVA means ethylene.

PEVA is also a common material used to make various household items.

They feel and look similar and contain fewer VOCs than vinyl PVC.

Besides, they do not have chlorine, making them eco-friendly and safe to use in your house.

Their antimicrobial properties make them highly waterproof and mold and mildew-resistant.

PEVA and EVA have low tensile strength, low heat resistance, and their barrier properties are not poor.

These materials are ideal for bathrooms because they dry quickly and safer than most other plastic materials.

Our Verdict

We RECOMMEND PEVA/EVA shower curtain liners as a great all-around choice among vinyl-containing liners.

Linen Shower Curtain Liner

Linen shower curtain liners are more lightweight compared to other liners.

They are also more pleasant and easier to use compared to plastic ones.

Besides, they are warm, easy to match with bathroom décor, more natural, and you can toss them in the washing machine any time you want to clean them.

The linen curtain liners are not water-resistant, like plastic liners.

However, they are a great option due to their beauty, creating barriers, and preventing mildew and mold growth in the bathroom.

Our Verdict

We RECOMMEND linen shower curtain liners for aesthetics and safety, but there are better options in terms of longevity.

Hemp Shower Curtain Liner

Hemp shower curtain liner is made of organic material, and it’s therefore non-toxic.

They are waterproofed using a fabric waterproofer.

They are lightweight and brighten up your bathroom area while preventing fungi and bacteria growth.

Installing the liner is easy as they hang on the curtain rods effortlessly. 

However, this material absorbs water even after being waterproofed.

Thanks to their heaviness and strength, they remain a great choice that provides an excellent barrier, especially by adding some weights at the corner edges.

The hemp shower curtain liners may be a little more expensive than plastic and synthetic shower curtain liners but worth every cent.

Our Verdict

We RECOMMEND hemp shower curtain liners, especially a waterproof option.

Polyester Shower Curtain Liner

Polyester resists water better than nylon.

It also dries up fast and can be cleaned in a washing machine.

The polyester shower curtain liner can be combined with a linen shower curtain.

Polyester emits toxic chemicals, including formaldehyde and antimony, when heated.

Due to the low possibility of high temperatures in your bathroom, it makes for good material for a shower curtain liner.

Our Verdict

We RECOMMEND polyester shower curtain liners ONLY if you can avoid excessive heat in your bathroom.

Polyester Microfiber Shower Curtain Liner

Polyester microfiber shower curtain liners are durable and bacteria and mildew-resistant.

The material provides excellent water resistance, and when it is weighted at the hem, it can serve as an excellent barrier.

It is a functional and beautiful shower curtain liner that can be used with a linen or cotton shower curtain.

This material releases poisonous chemicals when heated and may not be ideal to use if you love steaming in the bathroom.

It is a great option as long as you do not use too much heat in your shower space.

Our Verdict

We RECOMMEND polyester microfiber shower curtain liners ONLY if you can avoid excessive heat in your bathroom.

Nylon Shower Curtain Liners

Nylon material falls between cotton or hemp blend and PEVA.

The nylon shower curtain liner is strong and does not allow mold growth because it dries fast.

It is machine washable and more durable than polyester.

However, if you compare it with polyester, nylon absorbs more water, making it longer to dry.

Our Verdict

We HIGHLY RECOMMEND nylon shower curtain liners.

Cotton Shower Curtain Liner

Cotton is a popular material for a shower curtain liner.

They have no toxins, and the price is affordable compared to materials.

This material tends to get mold and mildew due to moisture and therefore not an excellent choice as a shower curtain liner.

This is not a good choice for a shower curtain liner unless the bathroom is used sparingly.

Our Verdict

We RARELY RECOMMEND cotton shower curtain liners for regular use, but consider them for aesthetic purposes.


Can I clean my shower curtain liners?

Yes, you can clean your shower curtain liners depending on the material they are made from. In most cases, warm soapy water with a half cup of chlorine will clean your liners properly. If they are plastic liners, add a few bathing towels to prevent them from wrinkling and add a scrubbing effect.

Do I have to add shower curtain liners in my bathroom?

Some shower curtains provide enough barriers and prevent water from reaching your bathroom floor and work perfectly without liners. However, liners enhance the look of your bathroom while increasing the water resistance of the curtains. They also reduce the chances of mildew, mold, and bacteria growth by reducing moisture in the showering area.

Which is better; frosted liners or clear ones?

Frosted shower curtain liners are better because they look solid and classy. A clear plastic liner is not impressive and does not provide an excellent barrier compared to a frosted one. The frosted liner also looks thicker and hides wrinkles as it ages.

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.

About Loo Academy

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.

We work closely with qualified experts and follow a thorough editing and fact-checking process before publishing content.

Published content is regularly fact-checked and revised so that the information we provide is accurate and up-to-date.

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