Illustration for article titled How To Deal With A Moldy Shower CurtainPhoto: Ana Anderson (Shutterstock)

No matter how often you clean tiles, faucets, and tub / shower, you may still be struggling with an annoying, recurring problem: mold on your shower curtain. One day you put in a fresh liner and it seems like just a few days later the mold has reappeared.

Why is this happening and what can you do about it? Mold remediation expert Michael Rubino breaks it down in an article for mindbodygreen. Here’s what you should know.

What causes mold on shower curtains

Basically, it all comes down to ventilation and airflow. “The excess moisture that’s trapped between the shower curtain and shower screen can be trapped, creating an ideal environment for mold and mildew (which, by the way should be taken just as seriously as mold) to grow, ”writes Rubino.

Ventilating the bathroom

The obvious solution is to turn on the exhaust fan, but as Rubino explains, you can’t just flip a switch and expect everything to be fixed:

It’s worth noting that when you turn on your exhaust fan you create a negative pressure environment in your bathroom that sucks out steam and air. In order for your exhaust fan to work properly, you need to replace that air at the same rate that you are pulling it out. For this reason, it is important to break open a door or window every time you drive.

If you don’t replace airflow into the bathroom, your exhaust fan won’t work as efficiently as it could. Have you ever noticed moisture dripping from your fan after a hot shower? This is moisture that has become trapped in the ventilation opening due to a lack of air supply.

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And if you don’t have an exhaust fan, you’ll definitely want to open a window to let the hot, steamy air go somewhere.

Other ways to prevent mold from growing on your shower curtain

In addition to good ventilation of your bathroom, Rubino has other suggestions on how to keep your shower curtain free from mold:

Separate the shower curtain and the liner

Since mold often forms between the shower curtain and the liner, take the extra five seconds after you shower or bath to separate it – that is, the liner must be in the tub and the curtain outside the tub. For ruby:

By keeping them separate you can both dry properly. When these two wet surfaces touch, the moisture can linger between them for much longer. (Consider leaving a wet sponge on a work surface; both the sponge and the work surface underneath would remain damp for a long time.)

Don’t leave your bath mat on the floor

Since the goal is to keep your shower area dry, according to Rubino, it’s also important to hang your bath mat after you shower or bathe to avoid the same type of moisture ingress as between the curtains.

“Just place your bath mat over the shower rail or towel rail so it can dry completely between uses and you’ll have far fewer problems with mold in your shower area,” he writes.

Wash your bath mat and shower curtain regularly

If you’re not in the habit of regularly throwing your bath mat and shower curtain in the laundry, it’s time to start, says Rubino – he washes his once a week. “Over time, dust builds up on both of them, and when dust builds up, it acts as a kind of magnet that deposited mold spores can land on,” he writes.

How to get rid of pre-existing mold

If your shower curtain has been relatively cheap and is moldy, it’s probably best to throw it away, then start fresh and use the tips above to prevent mold from building up in the first place. However, if you want to try cleaning it, Rubino recommends using this product.

Another option comes from the website The maids. They recommend spraying your moldy shower curtain with a solution of two parts hydrogen peroxide and one part water, leaving it on for five to ten minutes, and then scrubbing it with an equal parts solution of baking soda and water. Since you are dealing with mold, ideally do this outside, but if that is not practical or possible you can also clean it in the tub yourself.