A good shower curtain liner is akin to a superhero’s cape: almost indestructible and possessing special powers that enable you to save time, money, and avoid potential slips and falls while cleaning. With little care or installation required, the best shower curtain liners stay inside the tub or stall, preventing splashes, puddles, mold, and mildew in your bathing area.
Look for liners made of eco-friendly materials such as PEVA (polyethylene vinyl acetate) or polyester fabric. These materials are safe, easy to clean, and don’t emit strong odors. Look for liners that are also water- and mildew-resistant and feature quality detailing, like stainless steel grommets and weighted hems. The following picks for shower curtain liners are also affordable and can be used with or without a traditional shower curtain.
- BEST OVERALL: AmazerBath Plastic Shower Curtain
- RUNNER-UP: LiBa Cloth Fabric Bathroom Shower Curtain
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Downluxe Clear Shower Curtain Liner
- BEST FOR HEAVY USE: ARICHOMY Shower Curtain Liner
- BEST DEMI-SIZE: Mrs Awesome Narrow 8G Frost PEVA Shower Curtain Liner
- BEST DECORATIVE LINER: Biscaynebay Fabric Shower Curtain Liner
- BEST TWO-IN-ONE: River Dream Hotel Grade No Hooks Shower Curtain
- BEST MILDEW RESISTANT: LiBa PEVA 8G Bathroom Shower Curtain Liner
- BEST WITH STORAGE POCKETS: Mrs Awesome Fabric Shower Curtain with 9 Mesh Pockets
- ALSO CONSIDER: Barossa Design Soft Microfiber Fabric Shower Liner
Common Types of Shower Curtain Liners
There are a few choices to make when buying a shower curtain liner. First, the overall look and feel are important. You want a liner that’s easy to clean and will last a long while. Consider the following materials, each of which provides a slightly different showering experience.
- Fabric liners are commonly made of 100 percent polyester. This manufactured fabric dries quickly, resists mold, and can be cleaned easily—with a shower cleaner spray or in the washing machine. Beyond polyester, eco-conscious fabric liners may be made of linen or cotton. While these fibers may be grown and produced using sustainable methods, natural fibers absorb moisture easily and can also shrink after washing. The benefits of any fabric liners are softness and quietness. Compared to plastic-like materials, water drops hitting a fabric liner don’t make much noise, making for a more enjoyable shower experience.
- Vinyl/PVC liners were once the tried-and-true standard for shower liners, due to their affordability and effectiveness. This has changed with the arrival of more eco-friendly materials. Vinyl liners often give off strong odors, at least initially. Due to manufacturing processes that involve chlorine, PVC emits gases and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that leach into the environment—including your home—and can cause headaches and other health issues. For a similar plastic-like look and feel, but with fewer toxins, go for PEVA/EVA liners.
- PEVA/EVA shower liners are growing in popularity. Similar in look and feel to vinyl, these plastic-like materials (which stand for, respectively, polyethylene vinyl acetate and ethylene vinyl acetate) contain fewer VOCs and are chlorine-free. Thanks to this, PEVA and EVA liners are more eco-friendly and better for your health. They also have antimicrobial properties and are highly water- and mildew-resistant.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Shower Curtain Liner
Don’t skimp on a quality liner! From size to style, liners need to measure up in all ways. If they don’t, water may escape from your daily showers, causing unnecessary messes. In the long run, quality shower curtain liners also last many years, which means you won’t be wasting money and contributing to environmental waste. Here are the qualities to consider while you’re shopping for a high-quality liner.
If your shower curtain liner is a little wider than your shower stall, no worries. But it needs to be the correct length; otherwise, it will get soggy and develop mildew and mold easily. Before purchasing, measure your shower curtain rod’s length and its distance from the floor. Then, add 12 inches to the length, and subtract 2 inches from the height. This will give you the best liner size for your tub or stall.
Hanging Type and Style
Shower curtains and liners are typically hung from holes, via hooks, though snap-in liners are also available. In terms of style, there are a variety of colors, patterns, and textures to choose from, in addition to hook finishes that complement your bathroom. Let’s look at each aspect in turn.
- Hooks: When you think of hanging a shower liner, you probably think of metal or plastic hooks that fit over the rod. These hooks, either circular or oblong in shape, open in order to slide through corresponding holes in the liner and shower curtain. On the plus side, hooks are relatively inexpensive and fit any size curtain liner and any length curtain rod. On the downside, metal hooks can be noisy when pulled across a metal rod, while plastic hooks can look cheap. In addition, hooks need to be purchased separately.
- Grommet holes: When paired with hooks, reinforced grommet holes ensure tear-free hanging over time. Some liner holes are reinforced with stitching, while others feature metal grommets. The benefit of metal grommets is greater longevity, and they function well with both plastic and fabric liners.
- Snaps: In an effort to reduce headaches even further, some shower curtains feature a two-in-one design. In these models, an opaque shower curtain is paired with a snap-in liner. To remove for cleaning, simply unsnap, wash, and re-snap once dry. Simple and easy to clean, snap-in liners eliminate the need to purchase a separate liner, though you have fewer style and color options.
When it comes to style and color, shower curtain liners should seamlessly blend into your bathroom and shower area. This is why the majority of liners are either clear or white. However, if you prefer another shade, you have a range of options, especially when purchasing a fabric (polyester) liner. In general, PEVA/EVA liners are clear; they can also be textured with pebbled or subtly opaque patterns to ensure privacy. In terms of hardware, shower hooks and grommets are typically stainless steel but can be found in a range of colors and finishes, including gold and rubbed bronze. Make sure your shower hardware matches your faucets, shower head, and curtain rod for the best overall appearance.
Shower curtain liners need to do two things well: keep water inside your shower and resist mold and mildew growth associated with damp, humid conditions. For the greatest water resistance and easiest cleanup, PEVA/EVA materials are built for the job. Plastic-like in look and feel, water rolls right off the surface. If you towel-dry these liners after a shower, they will resist mold even longer.
That said, polyester liners are also water resistant and dry quickly (especially when compared to natural fibers). One of the benefits of polyester is you can throw it in the washing machine regularly. It won’t shrink, but it will rid your liner of the beginnings of mold and mildew, especially if you catch it early.
One key feature to look for is magnetic hems. Many liners have magnets or weights sewn into the corners of the bottom hem. These weights stop the liner from billowing (if it’s fabric) and from leaking water (whatever it’s made of). Unweighted liners can be a pain to keep in place, so make sure the brand touts a weighted hem in the product description.
Our Top Picks
Consider this list of top products to choose the best shower curtain liner for you.
AmazerBath’s plastic shower curtain liner is made from 100 percent waterproof, thick-gauge EVA material. It is frosted for privacy and thick enough to prevent deterioration. Three clear stones are sewn into the hem to keep the curtain leak-proof and hanging straight. Plus, the rod holes are reinforced with rust-resistant grommets (metal rings), making it easy to hang as well as durable.
Perhaps one of the best reasons to choose the AmazerBath curtain is that it comes in 12 different sizes―from an RV bathroom size of 36 inches by 72 inches all the way up to an oversized 72 inches by 96 inches for those with high ceilings. The 14 colors include neutrals, blues, greens, and pinks so you can match almost any decor. With its bargain price, you can afford to buy a few to change the look of your bathroom whenever you want.
This is your go-to liner: simple, efficient, elegant. The LiBa shower curtain liner is made of a specially designed, smooth polyester fabric, which resists mildew, shrinking, and creasing. Water droplets simply roll off the textured surface. The bottom hem is weighted so it won’t budge until you decide to move it. At the top, reinforced hole hooks won’t tear or fray with use.
The LiBa shower curtain liner comes in white fabric and three different sizes. To clean, simply rinse with water and wipe down after each use. This will ensure that no mildew builds up over time (yes, even “mildew-resistant” materials can grow mold and mildew over time if not properly cared for).
A shower curtain liner shouldn’t break the bank, but it should work to keep water in and mildew out. Look no further than Downluxe’s easy, breezy clear PEVA liner. The design is more eco-friendly than plastic or PVC, and you won’t be disappointed with the heavy-duty material. The mesh-reinforced header contains rust-proof grommets to prevent tears, and the bottom hem is also reinforced with magnets.
This liner is great for all purposes, including homes, dorm rooms, kids’ bathrooms, and more, and its upkeep is a cinch. Just wipe clean or spray with a 50 percent solution of white vinegar and water to combat water stains. This 72-inch-by-72-inch curtain comes in one-, two-, and three-packs for every bathroom in the house.
Daily showers are tough on shower curtain liners. If you use your shower daily or more frequently, Arichomy’s shower curtain liner may be a solid choice for you. This liner is made of 100 percent PVC-free EVA material, so it’s more heavy duty than standard PEVA liners. It’s also water repellent and stabilized with magnets at the bottom, so it prevents splashes and won’t get in your way in the tub or shower. It’s also attractive enough to be used alone without a traditional shower curtain. The thick EVA material is designed to last and is engineered to repel mold and mildew. Of course, you’ll want to open it each day to allow it to dry and frequently wipe down the liner with a clean cloth or towel. This curtain liner is not washing machine safe.
The availability of nonstandard-size curtain liners is what makes Mrs Awesome’s shower curtains shine. These shower curtain liners are available in sizes ranging from 32 inches by 72 inches―a size needed for RV bathrooms and small shower stalls―up to an oversized 180 inches by 70 inches. As anyone with an unconventional-sized shower, stall, or tub knows, these sizes are often difficult to find. Mrs Awesome shower curtain liners are made from waterproof and mildew-resistant PVC-free PEVA material. Encased magnets at the bottom hem (especially useful in cast iron tubs) keep your curtain in place to prevent splashes, trips, and slips. The header is reinforced with rust-resistant metal grommets to help lengthen the curtain liner’s life. It’s recommended to wipe the curtain with a clean cloth to keep it pristine.
Forget solid white shower curtain liners. Biscaynebay’s shower curtain liner is made from 100 percent premium grade polyester and available in 14 solid colors―from teal to purple to burgundy and more―to enhance your bath decor. The polyester fabric not only repels water but is also soft to the touch and dampens the sound of water spraying against it. These liners have weighted hems to reduce the chance of puddles or splashes on the floor so you don’t slip. These curtain liners are available in a standard 72-inch-by-72-inch size or the ultra-long 72-inch-by-84-inch size for those with high ceilings. Rust-proof metal grommets at the top help extend the life of these shower curtain liners. You can machine wash and tumble dry this wrinkle-free, fade-resistant liner.
You can slip River Dream’s shower curtain with its snap-in liner over your shower curtain rod and forget it. The built-in rings that fit over the rod are rust-proof plastic, designed to look like metal for a high-quality look. The curtain and liner are leak-proof, and the polyester fabric liner wicks away moisture after each use and even repels water inside the tub. The River Dream is made of heavyweight material so it stays firmly in place. It is available in 71 inches by 74 inches or 71 inches by 86 inches and comes in your choice of six colors, including whites, greens, blues, lavender, and neutral. This liner works well in a traditional shower or bathtub, but since the liner is an inch shorter than the curtain, the curtain’s bottom edge will get wet in a shower stall.
With proprietary mildew treatment embedded in the material, LiBa’s liner inhibits growth four times longer than other liners. The active ingredient also cuts down on odor, so your shower will look and smell clean after every use. The liner itself has an ultra-smooth surface, which repels water and allows beads to slip easily to the shower floor. At the top, 12 rust-proof metal grommets and a reinforced header prevent tearing and keep your liner functioning well over time. The LiBa 8G PEVA liner comes in three sizes, including a standard 72-inch-by-72-inch size. You also have a choice between clear, frosted, white PEVA, or white polyester fabric with the same anti-mildew properties.
If your shower stall is lacking in storage space, Mrs Awesome has a solution for you. This 100 percent polyester liner is soft to the touch, machine washable, and features nine mesh pockets for shower supplies large and small. The water-repellent fabric will dry quickly, but make sure you measure correctly so the liner doesn’t bunch up on the floor of your shower (leading to mildew growth). Every detail of this shower curtain is designed with quality in mind, from the 12 rust-resistant metal grommets at the top to the reinforced pockets that allow for drainage and airflow. While you can place bottles of shampoo and conditioner in these pockets, just be sure not to overload, as tearing and stretching are still possible. This Mrs Awesome liner comes in a range of sizes for short and extra-long stalls, too.
Barossa Design takes microfiber’s strength and transforms it into a lightweight, ultra-durable, and what some call “breathable” shower curtain liner that comes in nine different colors―among them white, brown, gray, silver, aqua, navy, cream, and turquoise―and is embossed with dots. Each affordable curtain is attractive enough to be used alone. Plus, this eco-friendly, PVC-free curtain liner is made from 100 percent premium microfiber that feels soft and natural, repels water, and dries quickly. The Barossa Design liner is available as a 70-inch-by-72-inch curtain liner that fits standard showers or tubs and is machine washable. All the curtains, with the exception of white, have two magnets on the bottom corners to keep them in place and away from your feet. The white liner has weights sewn into the bottom hem.
FAQs About Shower Curtain Liners
With the right care and cleaning, you can keep your liner looking as good as the day you bought it. Both fabric and plastic liners have their pros and cons, so read up on the following helpful tips to choose the best shower curtain liner for you.
Q. What is the difference between a shower curtain and a shower liner?
A shower curtain provides privacy and stays on the outside of your tub or shower stall. A liner, in contrast, slips inside the tub/stall area to keep water from splashing onto the floor.
Q. Are fabric shower curtain liners better than plastic liners?
Fabric liners are quieter and typically more pleasant to use than plastic liners. Plastic liners are easy to clean and don’t require machine washing. In general, fabric liners are better for the environment and don’t leach chemicals.
Q. Why is the bottom of my shower curtain yellow?
Yellow hems are typically a by-product of mildew growth, while pinkish hems are caused by mold.
Q. Should you leave your shower curtain open or closed?
Keep it closed most of the time. This ensures greater air circulation and evaporation over the whole surface.
Q. Can you put a shower curtain liner in the washing machine?
Most fabric liners can be washed in a washing machine. Make sure to wash on cold to reduce any shrinkage, especially with natural fibers like cotton. Plastic-like shower curtain liners, including PVC, PEVA, and EVA, shouldn’t be machine washed unless it is explicitly stated on care instructions.