When it comes to choosing a new bathroom shower curtain, finding the right one can often become a challenge. Not only do you have to consider the bathroom theme ideas that you want to create, you must further decide which shower curtain material will suit your needs and budget. You will also have to consider whether you want to use a shower curtain liner, which we strongly suggest that you purchase.
The Purpose of Your Shower Curtain
Shower Curtains are a basic necessity unless you choose to go with Shower Screens. The advantage of using a shower curtain is that it can define the theme of your bathroom decor especially if they are the focal point when entering your bathroom.
Shower curtains come in a variety of colors, sizes and styles which will make it easy to coordinate with other bathroom accessories, no matter what bathroom decor theme you are going for.
Once you have decided on which shower curtain material to use, and your bathroom decor theme, then it is only necessary to make sure that your shower curtain will fulfill its purpose:
- You Want Your Shower Curtain to Provide You With Some Privacy
- You Want Your Shower Curtain To Keep Water Off Of The Floor
- You Want Your Shower Curtain To Be Easy To Care For
Shower Curtain Material
There are many different types of material that can be used for shower curtains. Your choice will be dependent on your budget and the kind of shower curtain arrangement that you want.
The majority of people prefer to have a two part system with the shower curtain on the outside of the tub and a shower curtain liner on the inside.
Using this type of system allows you to have many more choices in your shower curtain material. However, many materials will not keep the water off of your floor and that will definitely require you to use a shower curtain liner to take care of the problem. There are many fabric shower curtains that have their pros and cons that might deter you from purchasing them, but remember that a shower curtain liner will probably be able to take care of many of those issues.
We are now going to look at the various materials that can be used for shower curtains.
We will be looking at fabric, also known as Textiles, which include fabric or cloth etc. Shower curtain fabric can include man-made, synthetic fabrics as well as natural organic options.
Fabric Shower Curtains can include:
Later, in Part II, we will also look at Vinyl Shower Curtains such as Vinyl, PEVA and EVA. So let’s get started!
Fabric Shower Curtains
A fabric shower curtain can be made from such a vast array of textiles. When buying fabric shower curtains, there are many varieties to choose from. With a little imagination, you can probably think up more fabric types to use. For instance, Fabric Shower Curtains can be:
Your preferences will probably be dependent on how easily they can be cleaned and the price range For example, a Silk Shower Curtain would look luxurious in a bathroom, but when you consider that it is more expensive, it’s dry clean only and tends to get water spots easily, you may reconsider this as a choice for you.
In order to determine which fabric shower curtain is best for you, you just have to consider the Pros and Cons and base your final decision on those.
The Fabric Shower Curtain Options we want to look at in part 1.
- Polyester Shower Curtains
- Cotton Shower Curtains
- Linen Shower Curtains
- Hemp Shower Curtains
Synthetic Shower Curtains
Synthetics are probably the most affordable when it comes to fabric shower curtain material. Some people may complain because they are man made, but they are extremely low in maintenance and stand up better than most of the natural alternatives.
Synthetics are well noted for their water repellant properties which helps in avoiding mildew. (Mildew can cause health problems such as asthma and allergies)
The majority of shower curtains on the market are made up of these man-made materials such as polyester and nylon, or a polyester/cotton mix.
Polyester Shower Curtains
- Very Easy to Find and Purchase
- Polyester Shower Curtains Have a Vast Array of Colors, Patterns and Styles to Suit Your Taste
- They Are Reasonably Priced (Inexpensive)
- They Are Generally Waterproof
- They Have Aesthetic Appeal
- They Are Resistant to Mildew
- They Resist Creasing
- They Resist Shrinking
- They Are Easily Recyclable
- They Are Not Flammable and Polyester Doesn’t Ignite Easily Like Many of the Natural, Untreated Fabrics Do.
- They Can be Dried in the Dryer.
- Polyester Shower Curtains Dry in a Flash Because it Doesn’t Absorb Moisture.
- Polyester Doesn’t Feel as Luxurious as Natural Fabrics
- It is Man Made, Synthetic
- Not Considered as Eco-Friendly Products
Natural Fabrics: Cotton & Linen Shower Curtains
- Cotton Shower Curtains and Linen Showers Curtain are Natural Fabrics
- Natural Fabrics, Such as Cotton and Linen, Come in a Vast Array of Colors, Prints, Weaves and Thicknesses
- They Look More Luxurious
- They Feel Softer Than Synthetics
- They Often Come With Matching Towels
- Considered Eco-Friendly Products
- Cotton and Linen Shower Curtains are More Expensive Than Synthetics
- They Are Not Water Repellant
- They Absorb Water Very Quickly
- They Don’t Dry Out Quickly
- They Become Incubators For Mold and Mildew, (More So Than Hemp)
- They Are Difficult To Care For
- They Shrink Drastically If Not Washed and Dried Properly
- They Must Be Hung To Dry, And They Take a Long Time To Dry
- They Lack Any Defense Against Fungi, Bacteria and Unsightly Stains
- Hard Water is a Big Problem Because it Leaves Brown Stains On The Curtain
- You Will Need Good Ventilation in The Bathroom To Help Prevent Mildew (Mildew Causes Asthma and Allergies)
- Cotton And Linen Crease Easily
- Because These Absorb Water So Quickly, You Can Expect to Have A Lot Of Water On The Floor When You Get Out Of Your Shower. (A vinyl shower curtain liner will prevent this)
- Natural Fabrics Are Much More Flammable Than Synthetic. Not Only Do They Ignite Readily, They Also Burn Much Faster Than Synthetic Curtains Do. (Not a Good Thing If You Like To Use Candles in the Bathroom)
- Most Natural Fabrics are Coated With Waterproofing Of Some Kind So That They Won’t Soak Up So Much Water. If They Are Left Untreated They Would Be Useless, Unless You Had a Good Shower Curtain Liner To Stop The Water From Flooding Your Bathroom. (Note: Waterproofing Uses Chemicals)
Hemp Shower Curtains
Many people consider Hemp to be a much more Eco-friendly shower curtain than the other alternatives. Obviously, as you have already seen, there are pros and cons to every option that you need to take into consideration.
- It is a Natural Shower Curtain
- The Pesticides Used Are Lower Than With Cotton
- The Fabric Is Made From The Plant Fibers
- The Hemp Fabric is Stronger and Longer Lasting Than The Fabric Produced From Cotton
- Its Weave is More Open Allowing For To Breath More Readily
- It is Resistant To Both Mildew And Bacteria
- Considered Eco-Friendly Products
- It Will Absorb Water
- You Will Need to Wring It Out And Wash It Frequently
- It Deteriorates Quickly If You Leave It Wet So You Will Need To Care For It More Rigorously (Some people suggest you wash it every couple of days to keep it from degrading)
- It Is Much More Expensive Than Synthetics (so if you are looking for inexpensive shower curtains these will be way above your budget)
- You Will Get Water On Your Floor Unless You Use a Shower Curtain Liner
A Word Regarding Eco-Friendly Products
Regarding Cotton Shower Curtains
When looking for an organic shower curtain, many feel that cotton shower curtains are one of the best choices because it is a natural product, as is Hemp, and uses less pesticides. If one considers the amount of water that is necessary to produce cotton, perhaps they might change their minds. According to the Environmental Justice Foundation in London, to produce only 1 kilogram of cotton (Enough for a T-shirt and pair of Jeans) it takes approximately 20,000 liters of water. This is causing a great ecological disaster in some cotton producing countries. For more info on this you can read: EJF (2012)The True Costs of Cotton: Cotton Production and Water Insecurity. Environmental Justice Foundation, London
Regarding Hemp Shower Curtains
Although hemp is an organic material that is Eco-friendly, there are many manufacturers appearing on the market who want to jump on the ecological bandwagon. This of course, is for profit to make themselves more money. These unscrupulous dealers will use chemicals to grow and produce their hemp fabrics so that they can get them to the market more quickly.
During the process of making the hemp similar in size and appearance, in a process known as water retting, the water runoff pollutes the body of water that they are using. This can cause environmental issues with the health of the neighboring areas.
With all of the chemicals and solvents used by these unscrupulous people, the outcome is probably worse than using man-made synthetics.
Natural dyes are not as Eco-friendly as people would have you believe. It is true that synthetic dyes use chemicals to bond the color the fabric, but natural dyes will not bond to fabric unless the fabric has been treated in mordants. Most of these mordants are highly toxic and some natural dyes, such as Hematein which are derived from logwood are hazardous. Hematein is classified with a rating of 2 (where 0 is harmless and 4 is the maximum).
Conclusion: Fabric Shower Curtains
Before we go on to look at Vinyl Shower Curtains such as PEVA shower curtains and EVA shower curtains in part 2, Let’s take a moment to consider the pros and cons of fabric shower curtains once more.
- Fabric Shower Curtains Look and Feel More Luxurious Than Plastics
- They Can Give a More Formal Look To Your Bathroom
- Come in Many Colors and Designs
- They are Easy To Match With Your Decor
- Many of the Fabric Shower Curtains are Washable in the Washing Machine (Especially polyester)
- Fabric is More Expensive Than Plastics, Vinyl etc.
- Many Fabric Shower Curtains are Heavier and May Need More Secure Hardware to Keep Them Up. Spring Loaded Curtain Rods, Probably Won’t Do The Trick.
- They Will Need Washing Much More Often (with the exception of synthetics such as polyester)
- They Attract Mold and Mildew
- Many of Them Absorb and Retain Moisture. (This makes them heavy and a breeding ground for fungi, mildew and mold)
- Unless You Have a Very Gentle Shower Head, Water Will Definitely Leak Onto the Bathroom Floor. (This can be solved with a shower curtain liner)
- Many Fabric Shower Curtains are Treated to Waterproof Them and Help Them Resist Mildew. (These treatments do include chemicals)
- Hard Water Will Leave Unsightly Brown Stains on Your Fabric Shower Curtain Unless You Use a Shower Curtain Liner.
Please remember, many problems with fabric shower curtains can be solved with simply installing a proper shower curtain liner. This will protect your shower curtain and make the maintenance of Fabric Shower Curtains much less work.
As you can see, fabric shower curtains are available in many different materials. You are certain to find the exact one that you want to make your bathroom decor theme come to life.
Continue to Part II of our discussion on Which Bathroom Shower Curtain is the Best