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Why Do Shower Curtains Smell? (Quick Answers)

Shower curtains are essential bathroom appliances. It adds privacy for showering which eventually gives a focal point of the design and creates a great ambiance in the bathroom. Also, shower curtains greatly help in repelling moisture and prevent slipping. 

Why do shower curtains smell?

Shower curtains may smell badly for various reasons. If the curtain is wet, dirty and greasy for a long period of time, it can smell bad. Musty, damp smell can indicate the mold infestation where toxic, plastic smell can indicate the highly concentrated off-gassing chemicals like PVC or Phthalates.

Shower curtains are really useful and have a great performance. It doesn’t let water spread all over the bathroom and prevent you from falling. The shower curtains in fact, work as a barrier between the tub or shower while showering and the rest of the area from entering water. 

Although, shower curtains work great, maintaining them is also necessary. Shower curtains remain wet for a long time and so, they usually become dirty, greasy and smelly within a few days if not cleaned properly. 

Though the fabric and its quality depends shower curtains normally require maintenance at least twice a month. But you should be careful to wipe down the accumulated moisture from all the curtain fabric and liner and ensure air flow throughout the area.

Thus, it won’t remain wet and attract dirt, grease, mold or bacterial growth which actually prevent bad odor from the bathroom area. 

However, shower curtains can smell badly for various reasons and the smell can vary. If the shower curtain smells musty, it indicates your shower curtain has been infected with mold or mildew due to remaining wet for a long time. 

If they smell toxic that relates to plastic, it can be the smell of the harmful fabric chemicals like PVC or Phthalates that are released into the air. 

Therefore, selecting a good quality fabric for the shower curtain is a must and keeping it clean and wiping down the drips daily is essential else, you may face headache or nausea due to the terrible smell. 

If it smells due to the chemical compounds present in the fabric, inhaling it can be harmful for the liver and respiratory system. 

Chemicals off-gassing from PVC:

PVC shower curtains are highly concentrated with at least 106 toxic chemicals. 

Dioxide, carcinogen, chloride, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) etc. are present in these PVC shower curtains which are released into the air whenever you are going to take a hot shower. 

These chemicals from PVC shower curtains are potentially hazardous for health as well as toxic, chemically, long lasting smell. 

Phthalates are released:

One of the most harmful elements among all other tin and hydrocarbons that are released from plastic shower curtains. To soften the fabric, it is normally used which is a volatile organic compound and so evaporates easily. 

The chemical exposure goes up usually in a warmer atmosphere. 

Mold infestation:

Sometimes, the smelly shower curtains indicate something fishy like molds are present into the household elements that can be harmful. Mold can grow anywhere they get contact with moisture, oxygen and dirt. 

As the fabric of shower curtain remains wet for a long time, mold can get attracted to it and start to build up.

Do Peva shower curtains smell? 

Due to the fact that the peva shower curtains are made of polyethylene, which lacks unstable vinyl compounds, they do not emit the unpleasant chloride odor that vinyl curtains typically do

Peva shower curtains are also known as “eco-friendly shower curtains” because they do not contain any harmful chemicals. The absence of phthalates in the peva shower curtains makes them increasingly popular for use in bathrooms nowadays.

 Phthalates are a dangerous chemical found in other PVC material shower curtains and are responsible for producing the chemical smell of the curtains. 

Peva shower curtains are safe to use because they include a stable vinyl compound called polyethylene that does not produce chemical odors like other shower curtains do. Toluene is also present in smaller amounts in peva shower curtains. 

In a nutshell, it can be said that unlike other shower curtains, peva does not release odors.

Will vinegar remove smell from shower curtain?

Vinegar is a great element, and has been used for a long time in removing any bad smell. The presence of acetic acid in the vinegar can absorb and neutralize the odor from any old cloth or harsh, stubborn thing. 

Vinegar works by allowing its powerful materials to add alkaline odor and thus remove the bad odor. Using vinegar can be a great home remedy to remove the musty, dirty smell from shower curtain

Shower curtains require deep cleaning at least once a month and using vinegar will be a great way. It will absorb all the musty, damp smell from it, reduce mold infestation and neutralize the toxin chemicals. 

You can make a spray with distilled vinegar with water and spray it twice in a week. However, if the shower curtain is made from PVC, the smell released from its chemical compounds may not vanish fully, but can be reduced to some extent. 

How to stop your shower curtain from smelling?

The curtains can be treated using a homemade solution to get rid of the odor. Essentially, the combination of toluene and chloride gas, which is harmful to both the environment and the user, is what causes the offensive stench. 

Any solution that you mix with vinegar or soda and spray over the curtains will also work very well to stop the smell. Stop using vinyl or PVC shower curtains since they emit a smell that is unpleasant and harmful to the user. 

For the scent to be permanently stopped, these given remedies must be used often: 

Normal dishwasher:

Anyone can easily make a mixture of dishwasher soap and hot water, spray it on the curtains, and leave it in place for a while. 

This will help to stop the shower curtain from smelling because the chloride gas will be masked by the smell of dishwash liquid, and the gas will not be released to further odor. 

Vinegar solution:

This is effective at masking the smell of shower curtains because the vinyl components will react with the acidic vinegar and stop releasing chloride gas, which prevents the smell from appearing. 

Toluene and phthalates are typically the harmful elements that also contribute to the smell of the curtains. Any vinegar-or-soda and water-based solution will help to eliminate this smell, but you must apply it two or three times per week.

Lemon spray:

Another readily available ingredient that will stop the scent of the shower curtains if used frequently is lemon water spray. If necessary, add vinegar or soda to help the scent disappear more quickly.

How to prevent shower curtain from smelling?

You can prevent the shower curtain from smelling by following a few simple measures. To start, the chlorine odor can be removed by washing the shower curtain in washing powder that has a strong fragrance. To ensure full drying, it must be exposed to sunlight. 

Keep the shower spaces ventilated to allow for the intake of fresh air. Applying a scented essence in close proximity to the curtain areas is an option. Consider hanging the curtains periodically outside in the sun to reduce the smell. 

In the bathing areas, utilize an air purifier to cover up the smell.

It is best to avoid using shower curtains that include hazardous toluene or phthalates, as the vinyl hydrocarbons used to make these curtains are what give them their smell. Using the peva shower curtains in place of these will cut the cost of the materials used to prevent the smell. 

Spraying vinegar or soda on the curtains two times a week might also assist in masking the odor.

Putting in scented essence:

Put some potent scented essences in the corners of the shower area or close to the curtain to cover up the smell of the curtains. This will create a pleasant scented environment inside, aside from masking the smell.

Adequate ventilation:

To keep the odor at bay, maintain air ventilation. Fresh air will assist in preventing the smell by removing the chloride gas created by the shower curtains and allowing fresh air to enter.

Air purifier:

To stop the smell of chlorine coming from shower curtains, try installing an air purifier inside the shower area.

Final Thoughts 

Shower curtains produce bad smells because of the moisture accumulated for a long time, mold or mildew infection into it or chemical compounds found in the materials of the shower curtains. Spraying twice the vinegar solution, lemon spray and fully exposing it to sunlight can reduce the smell.