Rehabilitating my Shower Curtain

I’ve always bought vinyl shower curtains. I like the fact that there are many translucent styles that let the light through. I don’t enjoy a dark shower. Sadly, there are some downsides to the vinyl curtain, though. For one thing, vinyl is sort of toxic. And for another, the little holes at the top are really prone to tearing.

In my less-environmentally-friendly days I didn’t really sweat the short-lived nature of the vinyl shower curtains, because they are so cheap. Spending $15 for a new shower curtain every year was hardly breaking the bank. But now, I feel bad about using what is essentially a disposable shower curtain. If I need a new shower curtain in the future, I will opt for something sturdier and non-vinyl. For now, though, I am committed to making my vinyl curtain last as long as possible.

So, I undertook a little shower curtain rehabilitation project. At the outset, my shower curtain was dirty and mildewy, and 5 of the 12 holder holes were ripped through. The first step was to clean it, and for that I used the washing machine. I put in a small amount of soap, I added vinegar to the rinse, and I washed it using cold water on the gentle cycle. Then I repeated the process, and finally I let the curtain air-dry in the sun.

Shower curtain drying on the grass

Now my shower curtain was clean, but it still wasn’t hanging right. I considered my options for dealing with the holes. My first idea was to cover over the top of the shower curtain with clear packing tape, and then poke through where the holes should be. I opted against that, though, in case I need to run the curtain through the washing machine again at some point. Instead, I decided to use my trusty hole punch.


I folded the shower curtain over about 2″ from the top edge, so that I would have a double-layer of vinyl to support the curtain. Then I punched holes about 1″ above where the old holes were. Once I had punched all of the holes, I folded the shower curtain again so that the old holes and the new holes lined up:

New holes punched above the old one, and then all 3 holes lined up together

The idea is that the holes that weren’t torn through now have many, many layers of vinyl supporting them. My theory is that the more ‘stuff’ that is keeping that shower curtain up, the less likely it is to tear, since each hole experiences less direct stress. I think it’s a sound theory, based on the many, many physics classes I’ve taken in my time. Either way, though, my shower curtain is holding up so far, and no new tears have occurred to date.


I am pretty happy with my rehabilitated shower curtain, I have to say. I hope that I will get much more use out of it by taking care of it and repairing it as-needed.

Have you ever repaired a shower curtain? Or do you have shower doors, allowing you to avoid the problem altogether? Inquiring minds want to know.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Wow. I mean, really — wow.

    We have a an unbleached cotton shower curtain, but it needs a liner. I just never replace it. Because I love the environment so much, of course.
    .-= Allison´s last post ..*************(May contain) Blatant and Unjustified Whining and Self-Pity =-.

  2. I also have an organic cotton shower curtain, and it is also lined with an ugly, horrid vinyl liner. Which is gross at the bottom. So I need to replace it, but this time, it won’t be with vinyl.
    .-= kgirl´s last post ..elt-may. own-day. =-.

  3. My mom used to sew a piece of fabric along the border of the curtain, along the edge where the holes are (basically giving the curtain a fabric lining, but just at the top). She would then make holes, probably with a holepuncher too, through the original vinyl hole and the fabric.
    The fabric she would use was a lot stronger than the cheap vinyl, so the holes would never tear.

    She loved sewing. She took an old vinyl shower curtain of mine and made me a curtain for my bathroom window. My bathroom window is up against the bathtub, so the wooden trim always gets wet when we take showers. I couldn’t find a vinyl window curtain at a store, so she made one for me.

    Too bad I can’t sew.

  4. Very smart. My vinyl shower curtain is covered in mildew right now and cleaning it is the last thing in the world on my list of Things to Do. I really should take a few minutes to take care of it though. It’s so gross.

    Shower doors wouldn’t be any easier to keep clean though. My aunt had to squeegy hers every single time she took a shower. So inconvenient… so when she built a new house she just put in stone walk-in shower (meaning it’s so huge, you don’t need a curtain/door. That was very smart. Of course, not all of us have Dream Home budgets.

  5. I switched to a fabric curtain liner about five years ago. I still use a plastic liner, and I hate them. Truly, I’d prefer to find a fabric liner that is water-proofed in some way but I’ve never actually done the research to see if such a thing exists.

  6. Good for you for the rehabilitation. I have grown used to washing them however, having had children that outgrew sweaters that needed buttons, sewing has always been far from my area of expertise. Washing them helps them last longer and then move on to valuable roles in their retirement… underneath a blanket for a spring picnic, wooden picnic tablecloth, underneath something dirty I want to throw in the car, painting sheets, etc, etc.

  7. amber you are great! I love that you did this! (i have a cloth one and the liner is nylon i think) i was just thinking about this today becasue it needs cleaned! ( the one downstairs is glass) lucky me ha ha ha

  8. Good for you for getting extra life out of it! We switched to plain cotton curtains a few years back with no liner. Yes, they get wet and mildew if you don’t ever wash them, but I just chuck it in the wash machine every few months.

  9. Such a cheerful curtain!

    I’ve never repaired a curtain. Currently, we have shower doors, and before that, I had these (cute, sealife-themed) hooks where the curtain was constantly falling off the hooks. So, I never had torn curtain holes to repair, but I was always re-hanging the curtain.
    .-= Lady M´s last post ..Anatomy and Patriotism Lessons =-.

  10. So far, the washing machine has worked well for me– then again, this is before I had a baby who pulls and yanks. 😉

    But once it reaches its ‘done’ point,you could maybe use it as slip and slide thing in the summer for the kids, or something.

  11. Extending the life of an existing product does more for the environment than just recycling it and buying a new green / sustainable / organic whatever one.

    Well done!

  12. Recycling is not bad, it is actually helpful specially to those who don’t have a shower doors.
    It was really great to give us a detailed illustration on how to repair a shower curtain.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Strip Curtain Doors’s last post … clear on brick wallMy Profile

I love comments! If yours doesn't appear immediately, it was caught by my spam filter. Drop me a line and I'll rescue it.

Share Your Thoughts


Subscribe to followup comments

CommentLuv badge