Which Bathroom Shower Curtain Material is The Best? Part 2
July 25, 2015
In Part I of our discussion, we took a look at the various fabric shower curtains and the pros and cons of the most popular selections. In Part II of this discussion we are going to look at some of the plastic shower curtains and their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s begin…
Vinyl Shower Curtains
I am sure that many of you are aware of the controversy that has come up regarding the use of vinyl shower curtains in the home. This is definitely not on any of the lists of Eco Friendly Products. The problem is centered on PVC, also known as “Polyvinyl chloride”. The awful smell that comes out when you first open the package containing the PVC Vinyl, is very strong. This is due to the compounds that are used in the manufacturing of this particular product, particularly phthalates.
Phthalates seem to be the worst culprits and are used in more products than you could probably realize. This chemical is responsible for making plastics softer, so that they become more flexible. This is the main chemical that is bringing concern about the vinyl shower curtains. It is believed that it is one of the strongest Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) found in Vinyl.
Some people think that it’s much ado about nothing, thinking that the excitement is over-exaggerated. Considering that phthalates are directly pumped into our bloodstream via the medical UV bags, and are found in so many products, having a vinyl shower curtain is not going to make a big difference. Considering the alternatives, with regards to shower curtains, they would rather purchase something they know works. Others, of course, feel differently. They feel that the less phthalates in the home, the better it is for us. Really, it is a decision that only you can make.
Because vinyl shower curtains are the best when it comes to repelling water and keeping it in the tub, many manufacturers are now offering vinyl alternatives such as PEVA and EVA.
PEVA Shower Curtains
PEVA stands for polyethylene vinyl acetate (PVA). PEVA shower curtains do not contain the chlorinated molecules like PVC’s, found in the older vinyl shower curtains, and therefore this makes it a much safer choice when it comes to choosing a plastic shower curtain. Because PEVA is non-chlorinated this is the perfect option and considered environmentally friendly.
EVA Shower Curtains
A lot of people want to know what the difference is between EVA Shower Curtains and PEVA Shower Curtains. EVA stands for Ethylene vinyl acetate. Neither of these plastics contain the toxic PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) found in the old vinyl shower curtains. Although these plastic shower curtains are made from petroleum they have a very low toxicity level. Both of these are considered vinyl shower curtains although some prefer to call them plastic, so as not to get confused with the old PVC shower curtains.
The Pros of Vinyl Shower Curtains
- Vinyl Shower Curtains are Generally Thick, and Durable
- The Material is Soft and Pleasant to Touch
- They are Long Lasting
- They Come in A Variety of Colors and Patterns Including Clear and Opaque
- Their Color Doesn’t Fade
- They are NOT Prone to Mold or Mildew
- They are Easy to Clean
- They are Very Low Maintenance
- They are Inexpensive Shower Curtains
- They Can Be Used As a Shower Curtain or a Shower Curtain Liner
- Their Strength Stops Water In The Shower From Leaking Out Onto the Floor
- Because They Repel Water, They Protect Your Outer Curtain if You Are Using One
- Because of Their Durability and Strong Colors and Patterns They Are Perfect For a Kid’s Shower Curtain (or for those who are young at heart)
- The Moisture From the Bath/Shower Will Not Affect the Vinyl
- Vinyl Shower Curtains Come in a Large Variety of Sizes. More Than Any Other Shower Curtain (You can also cut them with a good pair of scissors if you need them shorter or narrower…Think RV Stalls.)
- Purchase Vinyl Shower Curtains That Have Reinforced Rivets, or Grommets Along the Top. These Will Help Your Shower Curtain To Last Longer
- They Contain Less VOC’s Than PVC Shower Curtains And Therefore Have Less Harmful Off-Gassing
- Plastic Shower Curtains Make Great Shower Curtain Liners Because They Form a Great Barrier For the Water to Bounce Off of.
- They Have No Known Association With Any Health Problems
- Vinyl Shower Curtains Are Available in Different Thickness, Known as Gauges. The Thicker Gauges Will Not Blow in the Tub as readily as the Thinner Ones.
The Cons of Vinyl Shower Curtains
- If You Do Not Purchase Them With Reinforced Grommets They May Tear Easily
- Because They Are Made With Petrochemicals Some Consider Them Only Semi-Green
Shower Curtain Liners
Throughout our discussion of Shower Curtain Materials, we have often mentioned the need for a shower curtain liner. Now that we have come near the end of our discussion, I am sure you now understand our reasoning for suggesting shower curtain liners.
Many people still prefer to try and find fabric shower curtain liners rather than use vinyl, but as you have seen, they do not do the job properly and you may end up spending money you wish you hadn’t.
We realize that there are people on the Internet that say that they don’t have a problem not using a vinyl shower curtain liner, but if you look more closely, you will find many who have found out the hard way just how difficult it is to shower with a fabric shower curtain liner. It really depends upon which shower head you are using.
A Word About Shower Heads
Fabric Shower Curtain Liners will probably work well if you are only using a water saving shower head, or one of the newer rainfall shower heads that gently sprinkle the water. But most people we know, prefer to have a strong, pulsating stream coming out of their shower head, like you can find with high pressure shower heads. Many like to use hand held shower heads to get closer to their scalp for a good washing. In cases where the water is coming out strongly it will go through your fabric shower curtain liners or shower curtains.
Shower Curtain Effect
(Shower Curtain Blow Ins)
Another problem with fabric shower curtain liners is that they tend to blow into the tub much more readily than vinyl shower curtain liners. If you have ever experienced this blow in effect, you will know how frustrating it can be, especially if you have soap in your eyes when it happens. We realize this can happen with vinyl shower curtain liners also, but if you purchase the thicker gauge liners it will help. The weight will help to keep the liner down instead of blowing around.
Many Shower Curtain Liners can be purchased with magnets on the bottom, which will help the liner cling more readily to the tub rather than your body.
We have heard that if you leave a small opening at the back of the shower, this will allow more air to circulate which may lessen the effect of blow in. Just be careful that it is not open too much as to let water out onto the floor.
Other people have suggested using weights to anchor the shower curtain liner around the tub. They usually use things like shampoo or body soaps to hold things down. This might be something you could try.
Another trick is to open the window and turn on the fan to allow ventilation into the room while you shower. This should help immensely.
Should I Keep My Shower Curtain Open or Closed?
This is a question that is asked often, and the answer is simple. A Shower Curtain is usually purchased as a decorative accent to the bathroom. Although it serves as a necessary barrier for the water, it also has this decorative element to it.
Add to this, the fact that the shower curtain may get a little wet when using the shower and you will have the answer.
If you leave the shower curtain open when it is wet, the moisture will tend to stay longer within the folds that are made by closing it. This will cause more moisture in the bathroom as well as attract mildew to form. By leaving your shower curtain closed after the shower you allow the curtain to dry more quickly and have the added benefit of looking at your lovely bathroom the way you designed it to be.